District to give more schools to charters

Philadelphia School District officials announced Tuesday that they will, for the fifth year in a row, give failing district schools to charter organizations for turnarounds.

Officials have said they aim to designate one or two "Renaissance schools" this year.

The district release a request for qualification for Renaissance providers, saying that instead of school communities selecting providers, as they have in the past, the district will match finalists with schools. In April, the school communities will vote on whether to become charters or remain a district-run school.

“Over the years, the District’s Renaissance Charter Schools Initiative has provided good
neighborhood options to students and families in some of our lowest-performing neighborhood schools, working in partnership with high-performing charter operators,” Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said in a statement. “The District is committed to investing in strategies that work, such as the Renaissance Initiative. We look forward to engaging and empowering more families in deciding what is best for their school communities.”

Since the Renaissance initiative was launched in 2010, 20 schools have been turned into charters educating about 15,000 students. There are 12 district-run turnaround schools, known as Promise Academies.

Renaissance charters, the district says, have posted gains in student achievement and school climate.