February 29 — 5:05 pm, 2012

Year III Renaissance provider finalists

The District just released the names of finalists to become Renaissance Schools charter providers. New to the list are two providers that currently operate successful charter schools in Philadelphia. Finalists include:

All but one of the finalists are based in Philadelphia. American Paradigm and String Theory are both new applicants. Mosaica, Mastery Charter Schools, Scholar Academies, and Universal Companies currently manage Renaissance Schools.

The companies replied to a Request for Proposals issued in January. School Advisory Councils at the schools selected for turnaround were originally scheduled to recommend a provider by March 23, with the School Reform Commission voting on matches March 29. Now, that timeline has been changed. SACs will submit recommendations in mid-April and the SRC will vote on matches on April 19.

From the District’s fact sheet, the full timeline for the process is:

February 29, 2012
Announce 4 Year III Renaissance Match Schools
February 29, 2012
Announce qualified Turnaround Teams for the Year III Renaissance Match Model
March 5-8, 2012
Conduct school-based community meetings at Year III Renaissance Schools
March 17, 2012
School Advisory Council (SAC) orientation and training
March-April 2012
Matching process between RFP finalists and Renaissance Match Schools; SACs evaluate Turnaround Teams
Mid-April 2012
SACs’ final recommendations submitted to the Superintendent
April 2012
Superintendent finalizes provider-school matches, makes recommendations to SRC
April 19, 2012
SRC reviews and votes on Renaissance Match agreements
April-August 2012
Renaissance Schools transition phase
September 2012
New Renaissance Match Schools open


American Paradigm
American Paradigm, based in Philadelphia, was formed last year to help share the "positive blueprint" of First Philadelphia and Tacony Academy Charter Schools.

Mosaica Turnaround Partners
Mosaica Education is a for-profit company that operates nonprofit charter schools in nine states and Washington, D.C. Mosaica currently operates Birney Elementary in Philadelphia. Last year, the School Advisory Council at King High School recommended that Mosaica be named its provider. Mosaica later withdrew its bid amidst controversy over back-room dealings regarding King High’s charter contract.

Mastery Charter Schools
Mastery Charter Schools is the largest charter school manager in Philadelphia. Mastery first opened with a regular charter school, the Lenfest campus; then expanded with three pre-Renaissance turnaround charters: Pickett, Shoemaker, Thomas. It also operates five Renaissance charters: Clymer, Harrity, Mann, and Smedley elementaries and Simon Gratz High. Last year, Mastery took over operations of Hardy Williams Academy Charter School. Mastery is one of two operators to have been matched with schools both prior years of the Renaissance Schools Initiative.

Scholar Academies
Scholar Academies is based in Philadelphia and operates charters here and in Washington, D.C. Scholar Academies currently manages Young Scholars-Douglass, which became a Renaissance charter in the first year of the initiative. Last year, Scholar Academies was not selected as a provider finalist made the first cut of potential providers, but opted not to submit a full proposal.

String Theory
String Theory is also based in Philadelphia. Their "flagship" school is the Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School, which links academics and arts education.

Universal Companies
Universal Companies, also based in Philadelphia, manages several types of schools. In 2010, Universal took over Daroff and Bluford Elementary Schools. In 2011, Universal took over Audenried High School and Vare Middle School as a Promise Neighborhood Partnership. Universal has offered consulting services to several District schools and continues to operate Universal Institute Charter School.

the notebook

Our news is free to read, but not to report.

support local journalism