Promise Academies open doors amid controversy

September 7, 2010 "We want to treat them in these Promise academies as if they were in a private school setting in a public school environment."

2700 students at 6 schools will now have a longer day, and a longer year, including trips on Saturdays with their parents. It's a new model Principal of Vaux High School, William Wade is hopeful will bring change.

"We're going to talk about the individual learner every child we'll chart their success and that's our plan."

Helping the curriculum along are several enrichment programs like boxing, culinary arts and photography. All of these are opportunities they hope will keep students in class, and focused.

"We're going to give them things inside school to make it exciting for them to be here everyday."

And they've got a tough road ahead of them especially considering each Promise school was chosen from a pool of 14 of the most underperforming schools in the city.

Dunbar Elementary School in North Philadelphia is another one. Reading scores there are the lowest in the entire city.

Teacher's Union President Jerry Jordan says he's hopeful for a turn-around, but is concerned about the teachers that were chosen and the way they were chosen.

"When you bring in a number of new people don't know the culture...needed to hit the ground running today."

Jordan has filed a grievance with the school district over the selection process.

Meanwhile Dr. Ackerman is hoping they can still work together as a team.

"I think everyone has their fingers crossed and are going to pitch in to make these schools successful."

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