September 11 — 10:01 am, 2013

3 Renaissance schools open, 6 more Promise Academies

Three more elementary schools are operating as Renaissance charter schools during the 2013-14 school year: Alcorn, Kenderton, and Pastorius. 

The School Reform Commission voted in May on outside providers for two schools: Mastery Charter Schools was paired with Pastorius in East Germantown and Scholar Academies was matched with Kenderton in North Philadelphia.  The vote on Alcorn in Grays Ferry was delayed, but in June it was paired with Universal Companies. That match was finalized in August when the District settled on payment terms with Universal after a long negotiation over the nonprofit’s use of the Audenried High School and Vare Middle School buildings.

According to the District, the net cost of operating the three new Renaissance charter schools this year is $3.9 million. The District’s total budget for charters in 2013-14 is $748 million, an increase of $107 million. 

In all, there are now 20 Renaissance charters.

The Renaissance Schools initiative, in its fourth year, aims to match low-performing schools to outside turnaround providers with a record of producing high-achieving schools. Students who are currently enrolled in the schools and who fall into the school’s neighborhood catchment area are guaranteed admission up to the enrollment limits. 

Despite budget constraints, as a part of its school turnaround efforts, the District also is launching six new Promise Academies. These are District-run schools that receive added supports, have an extended school day, and this year an “incubation period” for the high schools, giving them a year to build support for the approach and to hire their own staff. 

The newest Promise Academies are Barry, Bryant, Cayuga, and McMichael elementaries, and Edison and Strawberry Mansion high schools.


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