The term "turnaround school" is often used synonymously with the term "renew schools." But are they, in fact, interchangeable?
The ReNew schools initiative was launched in Spring 2012 as an effort to improve academic achievement in the most challenging Newark Public Schools. According to the Newark Public Schools, ReNew Schools focus on: 1. Establishing a clear vision and mission; 2. Ensuring that a transformational leader is in place; 3. Selecting teachers based upon quality and fit for the school; 4. Expanding the school day, providing additional resources, increasing technology; and 5. Engaging families.
“Turnaround” is a federal designation identified in the No Child Left Behind (NLCB) legislation. “Turnaround” is also a term used in a specific manner in the current Newark Teachers Union contract. In the agreement between the Newark Public School District and the Newark Teachers’ Union, designation as a Turnaround School allows the superintendent to extend the school day by an hour through what the contract identifies as an Extended Work Agreement or EWA.
The Extended Work Agreement provides each teacher a $3,000 stipend in addition to his or her negotiated salary and benefits, to stay the extra hour. Turnaround schools are not necessarily the lowest performing schools. However, they may have been identified as schools whose students would benefit from extended learning time. To date a total of nine Newark Public Schools have been designated as Turnaround Schools.