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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
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
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
May 22, 2015 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
Mastery Charter Schools is poised to take over another former Philadelphia district school. The School Reform Commission is scheduled to vote Thursday on whether Scholar Academies can hand over management of the Frederick Douglass School in North Philadelphia to Mastery. The district's charter school office will recommend the change beginning with the 2015-16 academic year. Scholar Academies asked Mastery to consider managing the school a little more than two weeks ago after the district's charter office said it would not recommend renewing the school's operating agreement because Scholar Academies had not delivered the academic improvement it had promised five years ago. Douglass, a former district elementary school at 2118 W. Norris St., was among the first low-performing district schools converted to Renaissance charters under the academic-turnaround program developed by then-Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman.
NEWS
April 11, 2011
The Philadelphia School District has 70,000 empty seats, and that number will only increase as charter schools expand in the city and the district itself votes to cede management of some schools to outside organizations. We know the district is counting on $25 million in savings over the next two years through closing and consolidating schools. But which schools? No schools will close in September, however, and we don't know which ones will close by 2014, the target date for the district's "rightsizing" efforts.
NEWS
May 23, 2015 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
The School Reform Commission approved a new charter school Thursday, bringing to six the number it has signed off on this year. The SRC had denied KIPP West Philadelphia Charter's application in February, but the organization tweaked the proposal, making changes to proposed school governance, academic certification, location, and opening date. On second pass, the SRC approved the school's charter, 3-1. But it was not a ringing endorsement. Chairwoman Marjorie Neff voted against the charter, and Commissioner Feather Houstoun said she felt it did not rise to the level of other applications, but was approving it because leaving the board deadlocked put the SRC on shaky ground legally.
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NEWS
May 23, 2015 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
The School Reform Commission approved a new charter school Thursday, bringing to six the number it has signed off on this year. The SRC had denied KIPP West Philadelphia Charter's application in February, but the organization tweaked the proposal, making changes to proposed school governance, academic certification, location, and opening date. On second pass, the SRC approved the school's charter, 3-1. But it was not a ringing endorsement. Chairwoman Marjorie Neff voted against the charter, and Commissioner Feather Houstoun said she felt it did not rise to the level of other applications, but was approving it because leaving the board deadlocked put the SRC on shaky ground legally.
NEWS
May 22, 2015 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
Mastery Charter Schools is poised to take over another former Philadelphia district school. The School Reform Commission is scheduled to vote Thursday on whether Scholar Academies can hand over management of the Frederick Douglass School in North Philadelphia to Mastery. The district's charter school office will recommend the change beginning with the 2015-16 academic year. Scholar Academies asked Mastery to consider managing the school a little more than two weeks ago after the district's charter office said it would not recommend renewing the school's operating agreement because Scholar Academies had not delivered the academic improvement it had promised five years ago. Douglass, a former district elementary school at 2118 W. Norris St., was among the first low-performing district schools converted to Renaissance charters under the academic-turnaround program developed by then-Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman.
NEWS
February 11, 2015 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
Applicants who want to open 39 new charter schools in Philadelphia will find out next week whether the School Reform Commission will give them the green light. The five-member commission has scheduled a special meeting for Feb. 18 to vote on the proposals. The SRC asked applicants to sign waivers 10 days ago saying they would allow the commission to disregard a Feb. 21 state deadline and postpone the charter vote until June 1 because of the large number of proposals. By late last week, only eight applicants were willing to consider a delay.
NEWS
September 14, 2014 | By Julia Terruso, Inquirer Staff Writer
The newly elected head of the National Education Association - the largest professional employee union in the country - visited Camden on Friday, and criticized standardized testing and the financial drain charter schools can put on traditional public schools. Lily Eskelsen Garcia was elected Sept. 1 to head the union, which represents 3.2 million members nationally. She is a former Utah teacher of the year, the first Latina to hold the post, and the first woman elected in 25 years. Garcia came to Camden's Pyne Poynt Middle School at the suggestion of New Jersey Education Association president Wendell Steinhauer.
NEWS
September 13, 2014 | By Julia Terruso, Inquirer Staff Writer
When Luis Soto drops his son and daughter off at Pyne Poynt Middle School, 13-year-old Christopher goes through the front door dressed in a red polo shirt and Alianna, 10, walks through the side door to greet other students in Mastery blue. "They both seem to come home happy," Soto said two weeks into classes while waiting for them outside before dismissal. Mastery Charter Schools' newly opened North Camden Elementary School, a district-charter hybrid known as a "Renaissance" school, is renting space inside Pyne Poynt Middle this year.
NEWS
July 11, 2014 | By Clark Mindock, Inquirer Staff Writer
The New Jersey Department of Education approved applications Wednesday for two new "Renaissance" schools in Camden, a move expected to lead to new school buildings in the Cramer Hill and Whitman Park neighborhoods. Mastery Charter Schools and Uncommon Schools will join the already approved KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy project. "We appreciate the opportunity to work with the Camden School District to offer a high-quality education to Camden students," Barbara Martinez, a spokeswoman for Uncommon Schools, said in an e-mail.
NEWS
June 24, 2014 | By Casey Fabris, Inquirer Staff Writer
When Delina Adams found out she'd been named an Affinity Scholar, she started screaming. Her mother ran down the stairs of their Northeast Philadelphia home. "She thought I was dying," Delina said. A few days after the phone call from her college adviser, Delina held an official letter from Mastery Charter Schools, dated April 2, confirming she was one of its 35 Affinity Scholars. The letter suggested to the family a great cloud had been lifted. "You will receive over $150,000 in financial aid (inclusive of scholarships and grants)
NEWS
June 20, 2014 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia School Partnership announced Wednesday nearly $3 million in grants to help three high-performing city charter schools expand. The nonprofit's Great Schools Fund awarded First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School $2.1 million to help support the addition of a second elementary school campus and a new high school in the Frankford area. The grant will support adding 905 seats at First Philadelphia over the next three years. The expansion, which began last September, was approved by the Philadelphia School Reform Commission in 2013.
NEWS
June 7, 2014 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
After a bitterly fought battle, parents at Luis Muñoz Marín Elementary have voted to keep their school a part of the Philadelphia public school system, rejecting a charter organization's takeover proposal. According to results announced Thursday night by Philadelphia School District officials, 223 parents wanted Muñoz Marín to remain a traditional public school and 70 voted for ASPIRA of Pennsylvania to take control. In a separate vote, 11 members of the school's advisory council wanted to remain with the district.
NEWS
June 6, 2014 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
IN YOUR FACE! That was the emphatic sentiment from parents at Luis Munoz-Marin Elementary School last night as they eschewed charter control in favor of remaining a district-run public school. Munoz-Marin, on 3rd Street near Ontario in North Philadelphia, was matched with Aspira Inc. of Pennsylvania as part of the district's Renaissance Schools Initiative. Given the choice between charter or district control in a two-part vote, parents and guardians favored district control 223-70 in the popular vote, and 11-0 among the School Advisory Council.
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