What is the Renaissance School Initiative?

The Renaissance School Initiative is a key part of the School District’s ongoing work to ensure that all students have a great school close to where they live. Through the initiative, there are several options to transform neighborhood schools with long-term academic and climate challenges, including turnaround by the School District or charter school operators. Renaissance Charter Schools are those that are transformed under the leadership of an experienced charter school operator while operating under the Charter School Law.

What is a Renaissance Charter School?

A Renaissance Charter School is a neighborhood school that is operated as a public charter school and can only enroll students from the neighborhood, also known as a catchment zone.

How many Renaissance Charter Schools exist in Philadelphia?

For 2018–19, there are 21 Renaissance Charter Schools (five elementary schools, 10 K–8 schools, three middle schools, and three high schools).

How can I find out if I am eligible to enroll at a Renaissance Charter School?

The School District has a School Finder tool (embed link) [GD1] where families can look up their neighborhood schools. If your address falls within the catchment zone of a Renaissance Charter School, the School Finder tool will indicate this and provide the address of the school.

Can a Renaissance Charter School enroll my child even if we do not live in the neighborhood (catchment zone)?

Generally speaking, no. Renaissance Charter Schools may only enroll students who live in the catchment zone assigned to the school. They primarily serve students who live in the neighborhood where the charter school is located.

What if the Renaissance Charter School in my neighborhood is full?

Renaissance Charter Schools have enrollment limits and, sometimes, schools reach this limit before all interested families can enroll their children. If this is the case, families are encouraged to: 1) apply and be placed on the school’s waiting list, and 2) visit the Office of Student Enrollment and Placement or call 215-400-4290 to discuss a nearby district school option for immediate enrollment.

What if I don’t want my child to attend a charter school?

You may opt out of a Renaissance Charter School. The Office of Student Enrollment and Placement works with families to find a nearby district school with available space in the student’s grade level and with the student’s academic support program (special education, ESOL, behavioral health, etc.), if applicable. Visit or call 215-400-4290.

Where can I learn more about the performance of Renaissance Charter Schools?

The resources linked below provide more information about Renaissance Charter Schools and all charter schools in Philadelphia:

  1. Annual Charter Evaluation
  2. School Progress Reports
  3. School Performance Profile

How are Renaissance Charter Schools different from other public schools?

Parents and school community members have opportunities to inform what changes are implemented at the school, including:

  • a longer school day and school year
  • changes to the curriculum including the courses offered
  • improvements to school climate including changes in the dress code and student discipline
  • new student enrichment programs during and after school
  • staffing changes

Can a Renaissance Charter School have different policies for students than a district school?

Yes. Although a charter school can have its own policies, these policies must comply with state and federal law. Also, although a charter school may not have the same code of conduct as the district, the charter school’s student discipline policy is expected to align with district policy.

Who can I contact if I have more questions about Renaissance Charter Schools?

The Charter Schools Office is available to answer your questions about any Philadelphia charter school. Contact us at 215-400-4090 or charters@philasd.org.