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Renaissance Schools get thorough airing at SRC

The School Reform Commission held one of its in-the-round monthly strategy meetings Monday evening, looking at District academic performance and Renaissance Schools. It was the first such meeting for new Superintendent William Hite, who praised the format.

The Accountability Review Council (ARC), which has tracked student performance in District and charter schools since the state takeover and creation of the SRC in 2002, reported on its findings for the year.

Research for Action made a presentation on its February report evaluating the first 18 months of the initiative, which assigns low-performing District schools to charter operators in an effort to turn them around.

A wide-ranging discussion followed, addressing what progress has been made in the District as a whole and in the Renaissance Schools – and what can be done to sustain and build on successes. Some recurring themes:

-Calls to maintain programs that are showing signs of success. After hearing the reports of improvement in achievement and school climate at both Renaissance charters and District-run Promise Academies, SRC member Wendell Pritchett said, “We’ve seen some positive evidence here of what works and we need to stick with it.” But the Research for Action presentation highlighted that last school year, the second year of the Renaissance initiative, the six Promise Academies were hard-hit by budget cuts: They lost their summer academy and teacher orientation, one day of their afterschool program, and support staff.

- Success stories from Renaissance Schools. Parent Lisa Perry, whose daughter Robbin is a 6th grader at Mastery Charter School - Cleveland was one of several speakers who said the turnaround effort at their schools had brought dramatic progress. “You should see the difference in the children in that school,” Perry said. “They’re excited about what they’re learning.” Later she said that bullying had been a big issue at the school last year but the climate had improved since the school reopened under Mastery’s management Aug. 22.

-Concerns about the evidence of cheating on standardized tests. Asked whether the positive outcomes reported at Renaissance Schools could have been tainted by cheating, researcher Michael Norton from Research for Action responded, “It’s difficult for us to say.” He noted that one Renaissance School is among the schools under investigation in the ongoing probe. ARC members stressed that accountability shouldn’t just be based on test scores.

-Challenges of a working in a portfolio system. ARC chair James E. Lyons noted the difficulties in implementing consistent accountability measures across both District and charter schools. “The accountability system for charters seems inadequate,” he said. “Data from charter schools is not readily available for researchers to review.”

-An emphasis on community engagement. At the Renaissance Schools, part of the success was that “parents and community bought into the process,” said education advocate Venard Johnson. Eva Gold from Research for Action said she had interviewed many community members who had devoted countless hours to participating in a School Advisory Councils at Renaissance Schools out of commitment to the school, even though they did not have children there.

In brief closing remarks, Hite was upbeat about the engagement at the meeting itself: “This type of dialogue is exactly how we want to create conversation.”

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Comments (8)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 25, 2012 3:41 pm

Vernard Johnson also asks Research for Action for a subcontract in the middle of his comments. He was joking (kind of) but it was gross. No one like that should be near our children.

Submitted by viagra online (not verified) on November 22, 2013 6:05 am
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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 25, 2012 7:05 pm

Vernard Johnson works with Universal

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 25, 2012 9:50 pm

I have two children in Mastery Renaissance Schools, the turnaround of my children's attitude has brought me to tears. They can not wait to return to school every day, my daughter was feeling ill one day and still fought to go to school. I feel that Mastery could take over every public school and turn them into successful charter schools. There are many parents who would back them.

Submitted by Kick ya in the throat (not verified) on March 10, 2013 9:07 am
He did not ask for a contract. Himself and a few others are the only ones who is truly pushing the district to do what they are suppose to do. Do you have children in any of the schools that are on the closing list? Do you live in neighborhoods that are being affected? Do you speak at SRC meeting on a regulars bases to make sure children are getting what they did? Ummm, I can't wait for a response. You need to get your information together before you out your mouth. Our children our suffering and all you can do it focus on one person; hilarious!
Submitted by Kick ya in the throat (not verified) on March 10, 2013 9:02 am
So what's the deal with Universal? You guys don't like them due to what? Because they are black and Islamic? Which one? They have six schools from the district, that the district couldn't educate. You wonder why they gave them the schools? Cause the district can't do their job!!! Oh, to give you some correct information, since its clear that you have none. The district also approved Universal to provide services in some of their schools cause they can't. So focus on the reason why the district allowed this to take place? Focus on the why the district has to go outside and have a emo educate their students? Come back with a answer. Hilarious you people are truly funny
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 10, 2013 8:51 pm
It makes no sense that black parents are allowing companies to take over the public schools and make money off their children. When do urban parents admit if their child failed it isn't the teachers fault it is yours. How do you know if your child's school is failing? Someone told you, the same folks who are selling only urban public schools to white organizations who know they can not do this mess in the suburbs. Urban parents need to stop depending on other people to discipline and raise your child. Foreigners who can barely speak english can come to a urban public school , learn and graduate and be taught by the same teachers an urban student had. Why can they pass and you can't ? Because they want to learn and their parents push them to learn. They don't need charter schools or alternative schools. As an African American, I am ashamed how black students come to school to play and how their parents see school as a baby sitting service. Now teachers in urban public schools are being blamed because urban parents should have taken an active interest in their children's education. Plus most teachers also know that the government is using urban parents nakedness to abolish unions and urban public schools. Most cities are suffering financially, so the tax base isn't sound like the suburbs. So the government knows it is easy to convince urban parent's to sell their public schools to the highest bidder , in this way they can lay off teachers and higher less experienced teachers at lower salaries. The real plan is to get rid of the union, teachers making money and older and black/hispanic teachers. The real problem in all public schools is the fact that God isn't allowed to be the main focus. Eventually these charter schools will fail or close and the public schools will be closed. Then you will be praying to God to help you find a school for your child. You should have realized you should have not listened to man about the public schools you should have demanded that the same government that is closing urban schools should have returned prayer back to all public schools. Once again they got you fooled, you should have prayed first.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 11, 2013 1:54 pm
To the parents who feel that mastery charter schools need to take over public schools, this is exactly how the devil works. He replaces something that you could have controlled if you put God there first with something that you see as good but God still isn't there. When it falls apart then the devil replaces that Replacing public schools with charter schools is not the aswer. First thing urban parent's should never have allowed their neighborhoods or public schools to fall apart in the first place. Now companies making money off of urban children are convincing urban parents they have the solution to the urban public school problem. Since they are charter schools ask them if your children can pray and praise God out loud in their classroom. Ask them if your child can read the bible in his/her classroom, if they say no , then charter schools are not the answer. Only God and our children being allowed to pray and read the bible in school is the only answer.

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