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Summary of Renaissance School info

By the Notebook on Jan 29, 2010 01:52 PM

Here's a quick rundown of our Renaissance Schools coverage from late January/early February:

You can bookmark this page for a running list of all articles and blog posts with info about Renaissance Schools. This post will also be updated with an annotated list of coverage, including articles from our edition on school turnaround, which comes out next week.

Chess Club: No pads, no helmets, just pawns

By Samuel Reed III on Jan 29, 2010 11:42 AM

Chess is not just a game for nerds!

Blankenburg is the leading chess team in the west region of the Philadelphia Scholastic Chess League, sponsored by the After School Activities Partnership (ASAP). Players who sit across the board each week may even be considered cool. Many excel in sports such as basketball and football, and have seen academic growth that they attribute to playing chess.

Notes from the news, Jan. 29

By Anonymous on Jan 29, 2010 10:17 AM

Commission hears of violence in many city schools The Inquirer
The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations held the first in a series of public forums on school violence, and heard accounts that the PCHR chairwoman called "frankly shocking."

See also: Violence has students attending in fear Daily News
Frustration with District failures marks public hearing on school violence The Notebook blog
Hearing on school violence held in Philadelphia AP via Lebanon Daily News

Editorial: Good deal for students? The Inquirer (opinion)
With this new contract there should now be "no excuses for not boosting the quality of education for students."

District FAQs for Ren. Schools' staff The Notebook blog
The FAQs answer some pressing concerns of instructional, instructional support, and administrative staff in the turnaround schools and include timelines.

Free Dance: Philadelphia Youth Create the "Hidden City Festival" What Kids Can Do
Students in Joshua Block's class at SLA organized the dance festival. Links to the students' work are at the bottom of the piece.

Letters: Yes, there's hope for schools Daily News
State senate education chair Piccola wrote in response to Elmer Smith's column.

No Longer Employees of the District...? Philly Teacher Talks
This post reiterated the concern about losing union members to Renaissance Schools that has been much discussed on the Notebook blog.

BRT patronage workers sue to stop takeover The Inquirer

Also: Two events this weekend, EduCon 2.2 and Education Not Incarceration's gathering to discuss school climate.

Please email us if we missed anything today or if you have any suggestions of publications, email lists, or other places for us to check for news.

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Notes from the news

'Renaissance' info from the District

By Anonymous on Jan 29, 2010 05:36 AM

The District has information about the Renaissance Schools Initiative on its site. The site continues to be updated with additional information.

You can find on the site:

Frustration with District failures marks public hearing on school violence

By Helen Gym on Jan 29, 2010 12:55 AM

A series of speakers at a packed public hearing on school violence – some in tears – shared their experiences last night in what can only be described as a damning indictment of the District. Speaker after speaker – parents, teachers, and a number of students – spoke about their frustration, desperation, and anger in the face of repeated failures by the District to address safety and climate in city schools.

Education Not Incarceration gathering Sat.

By Anonymous on Jan 28, 2010 06:44 PM

Education Not Incarceration-Delaware Valley is holding a public gathering on school climate and discipline this Saturday.

The event is from 12:30-4:30 p.m. at El Centro de Estudiantes, 2010 N. Mascher St.

The Notebook's Winter edition focused on school climate, and the panel discussion will include some topics covered in that edition.

Here's some information about the event from its organizers:

EduCon 2.2 This Weekend

By Molly Thacker on Jan 28, 2010 02:44 PM

I can't think of a better - or more necessary - time than late January to generate discussion, ideas, creativity, collaboration, and energy around issues of education.  Which is I am so looking forward to attending the EduCon 2.2 conference this weekend hosted by Science Leadership Academy.

Check back after the weekend for a recap of events and to continue the conversation!

Note: The event is sold out, but there is a wait list and an option to "attend digitally."

District FAQs for Ren. Schools' staff

By Anonymous on Jan 28, 2010 11:36 AM

The District has Frequently Asked Question sheets with timelines for instructional staff, instructional support staff, and CASA employees (school administrators) at Renaissance Schools.

You can also contact the Hotline for Renaissance School Staff with questions not covered in the FAQ. Someone will respond within 24 hours to a call at 215-400-5999 or email at

Some highlights from the FAQs:

Notes from the news, Jan. 28

By Anonymous on Jan 28, 2010 10:25 AM

Under new management: Struggling schools? Daily News
The District announced the pool of potential Renaissance Schools turnarounds.

See also: The list of schools, the basics, profiles of the pool, call for your reaction, and union fallout The Notebook blog
14 Phila. schools eligible for improvement program The Inquirer
District ready for its school ‘Renaissance’ Metro Philadelphia
Overhauls Ahead for Phila. School District's Worst Schools KYW
Phila. Schools targeted for turnaround announced WHYY

SRC OKs teacher contract Daily News
Other business from yesterday's SRC meeting.

Penn Hosting 9th Graders From West Philadelphia, FitzSimons High Schools on Shadowing Day Feb. 2 Media-News wire

Please email us if we missed anything today or if you have any suggestions of publications, email lists, or other places for us to check for news.

Click here to get Notes from the news in your inbox every day.

Notes from the news

Call for Renaissance reaction

By the Notebook on Jan 27, 2010 03:56 PM

Here at the Notebook, we’ve anxious to hear from parents, teachers, and school staff who may be affected by the District’s Renaissance plan.

Renaissance Schools list announced

By the Notebook on Jan 27, 2010 03:52 PM

The District just released the 14 "Renaissance Eligible Schools" and the 12 "Alert Schools" for 2010-11. The Notebook has published a FAQ about the Renaissance Schools, as has the District.

UPDATE: Each school name now links to a fact sheet with its School Performance Index data.

The Renaissance Eligible Schools are:

Renaissance Schools: The basics

By Paul Socolar on Jan 27, 2010 03:51 PM

What is the purpose of Renaissance Schools?
This is a new District program to transform some of its chronically underachieving schools into high-quality schools. The District has committed to accomplishing these “school turnarounds” while serving the same students at these schools.

Union likely to lose some schools

By Paul Socolar on Jan 27, 2010 03:51 PM

One component of the new teachers' contract that has stirred the most passions is the provision that teachers at Renaissance Schools are "forced transfers" who must reapply to stay at the same school. As details of the Renaissance Schools initiative were released on Wednesday, another blow to the union status of Philadelphia teachers came to light.

Renaissance Schools timeline

By the Notebook on Jan 27, 2010 03:49 PM

The District has released the Renaissance Schools Timeline, also outlined below.

Jan. 27: Announce Renaissance Alert and Renaissance Eligible Schools and release RFQ (Request for Qualification from Lead Applicant turnaround teams) and RFI (Request for Information from Support Applicant turnaround teams)

Profiles of the Renaissance pool

By Paul Socolar on Jan 27, 2010 03:49 PM

Even a quick look at the school profiles for the 14 Renaissance Eligible Schools makes clear that one of the central issues the School District and its turnaround teams will have to tackle in its Renaissance Schools plan is the effects of concentrated poverty.

Here's what the typical Renaissance Eligible School looks like (using median figures and the data provided for 12 of the 14 schools):

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