Philly's worst schools to get extreme makeovers

PHILADELPHIA - August 19, 2009 The "Renaissance Schools" initiative seeks to transform the district's most troubled schools by replacing entire staffs, turning them into charter schools or giving them new academic focus.

It's an approach supported by President Barack Obama. He has set a nationwide goal of turning around 5,000 failing schools in the next five years by closing them down and reopening them with new teachers and principals.

In Philadelphia, the newly chosen 35-member Renaissance Schools Advisory Board will meet for the first time Thursday. It will decide which of the district's approximately 270 schools will be made over.

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