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September 6, 2000

Institute for K-12 Leadership Receives $5.76 Million Grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to Create Small Model Secondary Schools

News and Information

The Institute for K-12 Leadership at the University of Washington announced today that it has received $5,760,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to create small model secondary schools in eight urban school districts across the nation.

The Institute, headed by Rudy Crew, operates in concert with the University of Washington College of Education. It is a joint undertaking of the University of Washington at Seattle, one of this nation’s leading teaching and research institutions, and WestEd, a federally-funded research, development and service agency based in San Francisco which works with education and other communities to promote excellence, achieve equity, and improve learning for children, youth and adults. The UW-WestEd strategic alliance was formed to enrich the K-12 research, training, and programmatic work of each institution.

“The biggest challenge we face as a nation is closing the student achievement gap that separates our minority and underserved students from their high-achieving counterparts,” Institute Executive Director Rudy Crew said. “This network of small secondary schools will serve as a model for schools across the country by bringing to the forefront successful gap-closing strategies and practices that can be replicated in districts across the nation.”

“The Gates Foundation grant will fund the Institute’s work with eight urban school districts on the creation of small schools which are designed to teach with a more personalized approach to a smaller student-teacher ratio,” Crew said. “Such small schools have a proven track record in closing the achievement gap in districts where they are currently in place.”

The Model Secondary Schools Project will also work with participating districts to develop mentoring relationships between students and their teachers, parents, and community members. It will support the creation of business and community partnerships that will afford students internship opportunities that further school-to-work learning. Technology will be an integral tool for extending learning opportunities beyond school walls to anytime and any place. The Project will also draw on leading technology in the design and dissemination of successful gap-closing models that can be replicated across the nation.

The eight districts which will participate in the Institute’s Model Secondary Schools Project are: Detroit, Mich.; Cleveland, Ohio; Cincinnati, Ohio; East St. Louis, Ill.; Kansas City, Mo.; Boston, Mass.; Compton, Calif.; and San Francisco, Calif. Each of these eight districts is facing the challenge of closing the achievement gap that separates minority and underserved students from their high-achieving counterparts. During the four-year term of the project, district teams will work together at Institute programs. In addition, Institute staff will provide on-site technical assistance, and on-site and online mentors to support the work of the districts.

“Each of these eight districts brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the work of building new models of educational success which will ensure that every child in every school across America has an equal chance at success,” Dr. Crew said.

Crew served as Chancellor of New York Public Schools from 1995 to 1999. Prior to that, he was Superintendent of Tacoma School District #10 in Tacoma, Wash.
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For more information, contact Linda McInturff, 206-890-4812 or lmc4950@yahoo.com.