Schools: Why the runaround on turnarounds?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Amid extensive coverage of the very real challenges facing our public schools, we shouldn't lose sight of what's actually working. Right now, outstanding educators are working closely with families of all backgrounds to transform Philadelphia's lowest performing schools into some of the best schools in the city. Yet, not enough people are talking about Renaissance schools.

Philadelphia's turnaround efforts began nearly a decade ago when Mastery Charter Schools assumed management of three chronically failing schools: Thomas, in South Philadelphia; Shoemaker, in West Philadelphia; and Pickett, in Germantown.

Nearly nine years later, how are they shaping up? Math proficiency has increased by at least 50 percentage points, and reading proficiency has increased at least 30 percentage points. These extraordinary academic gains - far outpacing the rest of the city - were accomplished in the same buildings, serving the same families as before the turnaround.

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