News from Camden: Traditional Schools are Improving

Traditional Camden schools, reports Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard, are showing signs of improvement, and therefore this year the district will not convert any schools into hybrid district/charter renaissance schools.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer;
Last year, Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard changed five city schools into charter-public "Renaissance" schools, an announcement that sparked concern among some teachers and residents that he planned to quickly eradicate the remainder of Camden's traditional public schools. This year, no additional conversions will be made [district spokesman Brendan], Lowe said, in part to allow the newly formed schools time to settle, but also largely because Rouhanifard believes that schools across the district are improving. 
"It's going to take a long time, but we see incremental progress," Lowe said. "It's encouraging, and we want to support that."
There will be some school assignment changes all within the Parkside neighborhood. One hundred fifty students currently attending MetEast High School, one of Camden's two magnet schools, will move into the building that houses Cooper B. Hatch Family School. This school will now be known as Hatch-MetEast and serve students in grades 6-12.  This move will give older students access to an auditorium and gym, as well as a program that encourages students to sign up for internships and senior projects. It will also solve ongoing facilities problems at the old MetEast school, which include erratic access to wifi and recurrent flooding problems.

These changes were driven by parent input -- families were concerned, for example, about housing kindergarteners and 8th graders within the same program -- as well as declining enrollment at Hatch Family School.