Universal Companies Continues to Make Progress with Renaissance Schools

In Two Years Universal Bluford & Universal Daroff Achieve Adequately Yearly Progress (AYP)
By: Universal Companies
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Sept. 10, 2012 - PRLog -- Philadelphia, PA, September 09, 2012 - Universal Companies, one of the nation’s largest, community and housing development organizations which also manages a number of public schools, recently achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) with two of its Renaissance Schools: Universal Bluford and Universal Daroff. Both of these schools were a part of the School District of Philadelphia’s (District) Renaissance Initiative, a program to transform chronically poor performing schools.  The District converted these schools to charters under private management with the goal of eliminating the opportunity and achievement gaps that these schools have created for their communities and thousands of young people.

Working with the District, the community, and the parents, Universal began the transformation of Universal Bluford and Daroff only two years ago and have consistently increased academic performance; student attendance; and has significantly reduced disruptive behavioral incidents. Universal Bluford saw a significant increase in grades 3 – 5 and 6 – 8 in proficiency levels in math and reading and a record student attendance of 91.4%.  Universal Daroff saw the same increases in grade level with a record student attendance of 93.4%.

In addition to Universal Bluford and Daroff, many of Universal's goals were also achieved for its other renaissance schools, both under Universal management for the past school year: Universal Audenried High School and Universal Vare Middle School. Universal has begun the transformation process at these schools by improving academic performance and standardized test scores; increasing student attendance; significantly reducing disruptive behavior; and attaining an 84% graduation rate for nearly 140 seniors.  Moreover, Universal Audenried was removed from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s "Persistently Dangerous Schools" list in accordance with the Federal "Unsafe School Choice Option".  In addition to Universal’s Renaissance schools, Universal Institute Charter School continues to make annual academic progress with its seventh straight AYP designation with another graduating class of students going to the elite high schools in the City.

“While we celebrate these reports, we have so much work to do to change and ultimately eradicate the "opportunity and academic" gaps that these children, families, and communities have endured for way too long. Universal remains optimistic about the progress of these schools and remain committed to the holistic approach in rebuilding our schools, students and communities,” stated Rahim Islam, President/CEO.

Universal’s education vision is to prepare each child for meaningful participation in a 21st century society as productive global citizens.  There are many factors that Universal incorporates into its Education Model, which include: highly qualified administrators and teachers who implement research based curriculum and best practices in instruction; a high attention and respect for the school culture and climate; a true partnership with the School Advisory Council (SAC), parents, and community; and the full implementation of the Universal Family and Student Resource Center (FSRC) at each school, which focuses on addressing all students at- risk and families in crisis. The FSRC also provides enrichment services to families and neighboring community residents. The FSRC empowers parents and neighbors with the tools to support their family as well as their children’s pursuit of education.

To learn more about Universal Companies, feel free to visit the official website at www.universalcompanies.org or call (215) 732-6518.

About Universal:
Universal Companies is a not-for-profit community and housing development and education management corporation formed under the direction of one of Philadelphia’s greatest talents, world-renowned lyricist, composer, producer, and philanthropist, Mr. Kenneth Gamble – who continues to serve as its Chairman.  Since 1993, under the leadership of its President and CEO Rahim Islam, Universal has been building the organizational capacity to challenge and reverse the effects of urban decline and has become one of the largest and most successful community revitalization movements in the history of the city of Philadelphia.

Working in several Philadelphia neighborhoods and neighborhood in other cities, Universal has built more than 1,500 units of affordable and market rate housing and currently manages six K-12 charter schools, with nearly 4,000 students enrolled. Universal operates five school based Family and Student Resource Centers and has begun its launch of a "comprehensive" wellness initiative that will not only deliver quality health services, but also addresses the inferior health infrastructure (i.e. proper health education, access to healthy foods, etc.) that exists in our community. Since its inception, Universal has been a conduit for over $1.3 billion of urban investment and employs nearly 500 professionals with expertise in education, real estate, urban planning, finance, social services and preventative health.

Devon M Allen
Universal Companies
800 South 15th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19146
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