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Year 4 of Renaissance involves 6 Promise Academies, 3 charters

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Nine schools will be remade as Renaissance Schools next fall, with three of them facing conversion to charters.

This is Year Four of the initiative to transform the lowest-performing schools in the District. Now there are 17 Renaissance charters, along with nine District-run Promise Academies – but three of those are closing.

Slated to become Promise Academies next fall are Barry, Bryant, Cayuga, and McMichael elementaries, as well as two high schools, Edison and Strawberry Mansion.

Alcorn, Kenderton, and Pastorius elementary schools will become Renaissance charter schools, run by outside managers as neighborhood charters.

“It was clear that these nine schools needed interventions and additional support,” said Superintendent William Hite in a statement.

Three finalists – Mastery Charter Schools, Scholar Academies, and Universal Companies – are vying to serve as a turnaround team for the Renaissance charters. The School Reform Commission is scheduled to vote on which operators will be matched with which schools in late April or early May.

School Advisory Councils are formed at each turnaround school, traditionally led by the parents and guardians of children at the school. Each SAC evaluates the turnaround team finalists and recommends an operator.

The new Renaissance charter schools must guarantee admission to current students, along with students who live in the school’s neighborhood catchment zone – up to a designated enrollment limit. Five-year charter agreements specify performance targets.

Promise Academies face an overhaul of the entire staff and receive extra funding to provide a longer school day and year.

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