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Mastery Charter Schools

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NEWS
March 11, 2011 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
In a move that's a first for Philadelphia, one troubled charter school has handed over its operations to a successful charter organization. The board of the Hardy Williams Academy Charter School in Southwest Philadelphia voted Thursday night to join the network of Mastery Charter Schools. The Hardy Williams Academy, which was founded in 1999 by State Sen. Anthony Williams (D., Phila.) and originally called Renaissance Advantage Charter School, has a history of low test scores and has not met the academic benchmarks of the federal No Child Left Behind law in five years.
NEWS
June 5, 2014 | BY REGINA MEDINA, Daily News Staff Writer medinar@phillynews.com, 215-854-5985
KEANU DAVIS didn't like going to school during his freshman year at Simon Gratz High School, and the numbers prove it: He was absent 30 times and arrived late 80 more times, he said yesterday. Davis, now a college-bound senior, decided to stay enrolled at the Nicetown school the following year after Mastery Charter Schools took control of the district school. It took a few months, but Davis noticed a change. Other students started attending Gratz with regularity - as did he. "My whole viewpoint of school and of life has been changed because of Mastery," said Davis, 19, who plans to attend Susquehanna University this fall.
NEWS
January 15, 2014
A story in some editions Monday incorrectly reported the number of schools Mastery Charter Schools operates in Philadelphia. The firm runs 15 schools. A "News in Brief" item in some editions Monday about a burglary at the home of Eagles player DeShawn Jackson did not fully identify Denise White, founder and CEO of the public relations firm Entertainers & Athletes Group.
NEWS
November 8, 2013
THE PHILLY High School Fair, a chance for middle-schoolers and their families to check out prospective high schools for 2014-15 enrollment, will be held in West Philadelphia. Representatives from about 80 city schools - district, parochial and charter - will be at the Armory at Drexel University, 33rd Street near Market, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 16. The annual event, which is usually organized by the district, had been canceled because of the district's fiscal issues; last year, it cost $137,000 to put on. This year, the Philadelphia Schools Partnership and other nonprofits are sponsoring the fair.
NEWS
October 2, 2013 | BY REGINA MEDINA, Daily News Staff Writer medinar@phillynews.com, 215-854-5985
ABOUT 20 PROTESTERS chanted outside a North Philadelphia charter school yesterday afternoon, claiming a group of visiting philanthropists were "deciding what education looks like in America, not the parents, not the students. " The activists from Fight for Philly and the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools protested outside Grover Cleveland Mastery Charter School on 19th Street near Erie Avenue, where attendees of a conference, "All of the Above: How Donors Can Expand a City's Great Schools," were taking a tour.
NEWS
May 2, 2014 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
NEARLY 200 parents turned out yesterday at a Nicetown elementary school for a vote that should determine whether it will remain a traditional public school or be run by a charter operator. Parents and guardians at Steel Elementary cast secret ballots in the school's foyer from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., as the School Advisory Council cast a separate vote. The League of Women Voters of Philadelphia served as an independent monitor and tallied the results, which are expected to be announced today by the school district.
NEWS
December 7, 2012 | BY REGINA MEDINA, Daily News Staff Writer medinar@phillynews.com, 215-854-5985
THE BILL & Melinda Gates Foundation is giving $2.5 million to pay for new educational initiatives that will benefit Philadelphia's district, charter, parochial and private schools. Philly was one of seven district-charter compact cities that received multimillion-dollar grants Wednesday from the Gates Foundation, which handed out a total of $25 million. Each city has signed agreements with various educational sectors pledging to work together to improve schools. The Philadelphia Great Schools Compact has commitments from Mayor Nutter, the school district, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Coalition of Charter Schools, the state Department of Education and others to collaborate on expanding the number of high-performing schools.
NEWS
November 19, 2015 | By Allison Steele, Inquirer Staff Writer
Camden school officials announced plans Tuesday for Mastery Charter Schools to open a new high school in North Camden. Mastery intends to operate a charter-public hybrid "Renaissance" school out of the former Pyne Poynt Middle School building, which currently houses students attending Mastery's North Camden Elementary School. Those students will eventually move into a new facility that Mastery is constructing in Cramer Hill. North Camden has never had a high school, and public school students in the area traditionally attend Woodrow Wilson in East Camden, about two miles away.
NEWS
April 30, 2016 | By Mensah M. Dean, Staff Writer
The School Reform Commission moved forward Thursday night with plans to turn over three struggling elementary schools to charter operators as part of the Renaissance reform program, but postponed taking action on seven existing charter schools that were seeking renewal agreements. The decisions came at the end of a five-hour meeting during which audience members at times shouted out their frustrations and suffered having their microphone cutoff when they spoke too long. The district's five-year-old Renaissance Schools initiative, which aims to transform academically struggling schools by turning them over to charter operators, was front and center at the meeting.
NEWS
September 20, 2012 | By Allison Steele and Sean Carlin, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
A fight among students from rival schools exploded Wednesday afternoon as someone fired gunshots into a crowded subway car on the Broad Street Line in North Philadelphia, police said, injuring two teenagers and causing panic among passengers. A 17-year-old who was hit in an arm and a 14-year-old who was shot in a leg were taken to Temple University Hospital, where they were in stable condition within hours of the shooting, police said. It was unclear whether they were the intended targets, police said.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
April 30, 2016 | By Mensah M. Dean, Staff Writer
The School Reform Commission moved forward Thursday night with plans to turn over three struggling elementary schools to charter operators as part of the Renaissance reform program, but postponed taking action on seven existing charter schools that were seeking renewal agreements. The decisions came at the end of a five-hour meeting during which audience members at times shouted out their frustrations and suffered having their microphone cutoff when they spoke too long. The district's five-year-old Renaissance Schools initiative, which aims to transform academically struggling schools by turning them over to charter operators, was front and center at the meeting.
NEWS
March 19, 2016 | By Mensah M. Dean, Staff Writer
Before the School Reform Commission could start its scheduled meeting Thursday, the School District's plan to hand over several struggling schools to charter operators drew demonstrators and counter-demonstrators to the steps of district headquarters on North Broad Street. On one side, about 150 parents, teachers, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan, State Rep. Curtis Thomas, and Philadelphia NAACP president Minister Rodney Muhammad were cheered as they spoke passionately in opposition to turning public schools into charters.
NEWS
February 12, 2016 | By Kristen A. Graham and Tricia L. Nadolny, STAFF WRITERS
A coalition of officials, parents, and activists asked Mayor Kenney on Wednesday to direct an investigation into an eleventh-hour School Reform Commission vote to hand Wister Elementary School over to a charter organization. Councilwoman Helen Gym, chiefs of the unions representing Philadelphia School District principals and teachers, the head of the local NAACP chapter, and others asked Kenney to order the city's chief integrity officer to conduct "a full ethics review" of the school system and SRC. A spokesman for Kenney said the city's integrity officer lacks investigatory powers, but separately will conduct an ethics review of the district and the SRC. "Though not in response to today's request, [Chief Integrity Officer]
NEWS
February 2, 2016 | BY ANTHONY HARDY WILLIAMS
WHEN IT COMES to fighting for parents and families of the children in our public schools, School Reform Commission member Sylvia Simms pulls no punches. That makes her a hero to me and to the thousands of Philadelphia families who can't wait any longer for quality public education. Simms made headlines last week following her decision to support the turnaround of the Wister Elementary School in Germantown. Like it or not, let's at least acknowledge that it took guts for her to advocate that Mastery Charter Schools should be allowed once again to lead the Wister turnaround effort.
NEWS
February 2, 2016 | BY LISA HAVER
WHEN Superintendent William Hite announced that he had changed his mind about placing John Wister Elementary School into the "Renaissance" program and turning it over to Mastery Charter Schools, the school community rejoiced. He cited new data that showed the school had made significant growth. But at last week's meeting, School Reform Commissioner Sylvia Simms introduced an eleventh-hour resolution, approved by the SRC, to override Hite's decision. The resolution had not been posted before the meeting, and Chairwoman Marjorie Neff denied requests from members of the public to comment before the vote.
NEWS
January 29, 2016
THE PHILADELPHIA School Partnership shares the frustration of Will Bunch and Solomon Jones over continuing unequal access to a great education in our city ("SRC Is Rigged Against City's Pupils," Jan. 26). But the facts do not support their assertion that the situation has worsened under the SRC for poor and minority students. Since the School Reform Commission was formed in 2001, Philadelphia has dramatically narrowed achievement gaps for poor and minority students. Pre-SRC, fewer than 15 percent of economically disadvantaged fifth-graders in Philadelphia were reading at grade level, far below the state's all-student average of 57 percent.
NEWS
January 24, 2016 | By Kristen A. Graham, Staff Writer
Sylvia Simms rarely speaks publicly at School Reform Commission meetings. But nearly five hours into a contentious session on Thursday night, the former Philadelphia School District bus aide dropped a bombshell, offering a walk-on resolution that altered the fate of a struggling Germantown public school. "I have pent-up emotions about the way the district has allowed many of our schools in low-income neighborhoods to fail our students and their families," Simms said. "Families are literally crying for alternatives, and they have shown us by their choices that they are not pleased by the way we are educating their children.
NEWS
January 15, 2016 | By Kristen A. Graham, Staff Writer
No one disputes that John Wister Elementary, where few students learn to read or do math on grade level, must improve. The thorny question is: How best to elevate performance at the Germantown K-5, part of the Philadelphia School District? Earlier this school year, Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. recommended that Wister, along with two other district schools, be given to charter companies in September. But this week, Hite reversed course, saying that on the basis of progress evidenced in new district data, Wister was eligible for an in-house turnaround instead of the more radical overhaul.
NEWS
January 12, 2016 | BY JEROME KING & TERRELL PRICE
ONLY ONE out of 10 ninth-graders in the School District of Philadelphia graduates college. That's right, only 10 percent. Those were the odds we faced as freshmen at Simon Gratz High School, a neighborhood school in North Philadelphia. But when we were rising seniors, we got lucky: The school was selected to undergo a charter turnaround as part of the Renaissance initiative. Today, we're both enrolled in college and on track to graduate. Let us be clear: We would not be where we are today without Renaissance.
NEWS
December 3, 2015 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
Who wants to run three struggling schools that the Philadelphia School District plans to give away to outside companies? Four firms - a local charter organization, a West Philadelphia charter school, and two outside companies that run charters elsewhere - raised their hands, submitting proposals to manage city schools, officials announced Tuesday. Mastery Charter Schools, which runs 13 schools in Philadelphia and five in Camden, wants to manage Wister Elementary in Germantown.
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