Lots of good coverage in the Notebook and elsewhere about Audenried, Hope Moffet, and resistance to the Renaissance Schools plan in general. But I was thinking this weekend about how becoming a Renaissance school could really end up benefiting Audenried…
…if Universal Companies plays its cards right.
Universal is slated to take over the school as an outside manager. As outside partners go this makes sense, since the school falls within the federally funded “Promise Neighborhood” that it will manage. (Promise Nieghborhoods are basically attempts to replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone in cities across the country.) The question is, how will Universal approach Audenried? Will it want to come in and clean house, assuming that such measures are needed or intent on implementing a predetermined instructional program? Or will it try and build on what’s already happening?
As I said before, I don’t know Audenried well at all, so I can’t say much about what’s going on down there, positive or negative. But I do know that if I was from Universal, the message I would be sending to the school is this: we will not throw out babies with bathwater. We want to know what you’ve been doing. We want to know what seems to be working. We want to know what the challenges have been. We want to know how we can help.
Does that mean nothing changes and everyone keeps their job? Probably not, and maybe that’s OK. But what seems clear is that there’s a contingent down there (teachers and students) who are really committed to the school, and that’s a tremendous asset to build on. If Universal recognizes it as such, Audenried will ultimately be in a much better situation than it is now. It will be managed by a smaller, more community based entity that should be both more accessible and more accountable, and has every resource to be more supportive. If the school does in fact remain on the Renaissance list, I sure hope it works out that way.