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Renaissance Schools to be named in January




January 2010 is the new target date for the announcement of the first cohort of Renaissance Schools - low-performing District schools that will be reorganized under new management by next fall.

District spokesperson Fernando Gallard said that the two-step request for proposal (RFP) process for potential Renaissance School managers would also be delayed until January.

Prospective managers will be matched with schools through a process that includes input from new community advisory boards, and then managers will draw up plans for a September reopening.

"It's a tight schedule, but we're going to make it work," Gallard said. "You'll see a tremendous amount of work being done on this in January and February."

One factor in pushing back the timetable was the recent transit strike. The District added  community feedback sessions on the plan after the strike ended, which according to Gallard, "has shifted everything."

Originally the schools were to be announced and RFP issued in late November.

The first cohort of schools is expected to consist of possibly as few as 3 or 5 and will be chosen from the District's empowerment schools, which are the 95 or so lowest-performing. District staff, with support from SchoolWorks, an educational consulting firm, are conducting individual school audits to help identify those that should be targeted. Additional cohorts of Renaissance Schools will be launched in 2011 and 2012.

Turnaround is one favored strategy for school reform of the Obama administration and additional federal money is likely to be available for such efforts.

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