College Readiness Is Aim Of $10 Million Carnegie Corporation Grant to New York City for Sustaining and Accelerating High School Reform

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NEW CENTURY HIGH SCHOOLS PUSH TO REDEFINE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION TO MEAN FULLY PREPARED FOR SUCCESS IN COLLEGE AND CAREER. SCHOOLS TO INCREASE ACADEMIC RIGOR AND STRENGTHEN INSTRUCTION TO BETTER PREPARE MORE THAN 30,000 STUDENTS AT 70 SMALL HIGH SCHOOLS FOR COLLEGE, WORK.

Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, announced today that the Corporation will provide $10 million in a second phase of the New Century High Schools initiative, to better prepare more than 30,000 students at 70 small high schools and 3 redesigned larger high schools for college and for meaningful employment in a knowledge-based economy. Carnegie Corporation's grant will be awarded to New Visions for Public Schools, a not-for-profit organization, that works in partnership with the New York City Department of Education to support increasing academic achievement in public secondary schools. 

The new initiative, New Century II: High Schools for College and Career Success, will build on the success of the New Century High Schools initiative, launched in 2001 as a public-private partnership with the New York City Department of Education with $30 million in grants from Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Open Society Institute. New Century students have graduated at rates that far surpass the citywide average: in 2006, students from the first 14 New Century Schools had an average on-time graduation rate of 78 percent, compared with a citywide rate in 2006 of 60 percent. Graduation rates at schools closed and replaced by New Century Schools ranged between 26 percent and 54 percent. Based on the numbers of students who are on target to complete their graduation requirements, this higher graduation rate is expected to be maintained in June 2007. 

"The impressive academic and graduation results of the New Century high schools, along with those developed in the larger new school commitment of Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein, are tangible evidence that ambitious, pragmatic reform of urban high school education is possible," said Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York. "Sustaining these gains is essential, but the bar must be set higher, and these schools must not only work to maintain high graduation rates but push for even higher achievement."

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein called the New Century II initiative "important not only for sustaining the progress made to date but for raising the bar for high school graduation in New York City so that our children graduate with the skills they will need to succeed in college and the 21st century global economy."

With the new Corporation funding, New Visions and the schools will focus on deepening and expanding their data-driven model of instructional and operational improvement and school leadership development. Called "Scaffolded Apprenticeship Model" (SAM), the program creates teams comprised of a principal, teachers and school counselors who are trained to analyze data and develop tailored strategies to improve instruction, especially for low-achieving students. 

With the new funding the SAM components will be expanded to increase the academic rigor of the high school curriculum in order to prepare students for the content and skill demands of college courses. Curricular and instructional changes will strengthen students' academic skills and increase enrollment in and successful completion of advanced classes by many more students. Participating schools will also develop extensive college counseling and connections programs. 

The SAM program also includes a partnership with Baruch College of the City University of New York through which more than 100 participating teachers and administrators will earn credentials to become school leaders over the four years of the initiative. 

Chancellor Klein added that "by extending and deepening the work of SAM, New Visions and the principals and teachers in these schools will demonstrate the effective marriage of leadership development and school improvement strategies. This will result in stronger schools, better leaders, increased academic rigor and important lessons that can be shared across all of our schools." 

"Our nation can no longer view a high school diploma as a satisfactory terminal degree for a majority of citizens," said Michele Cahill, Vice-President, National Program Coordination and Director of Urban Education at Carnegie Corporation. "An excellent high school education should, therefore, prepare all students to succeed in postsecondary education. Every high school graduate should be prepared for upwardly mobile employment and to participate effectively in our diverse democracy." 

Grant funds will support all aspects of the initiative--professional development for teachers, data quality improvements, curriculum enhancements for college readiness, new college connections programs, university courses for certifying new school leaders, consultants and coaches for school teams, and documentation of successful practices and extensive networking among schools to replicate success.

The initiative aims to double the number of students graduating and being accepted to the City University of New York without requiring remedial education. The City University of New York is the destination of the majority of New Century students accepted to college. The initiative will track the college progress of all New Century graduates and use this information for ongoing assessment and improvement of the schools. 

"We look to Carnegie Corporation as a valued thought partner and leader," said Robert Hughes, President of New Visions for Public Schools, "both in setting a new and higher bar for high school graduation and in helping to create sustainable models of leadership and school improvement that will ensure our students and schools beat the odds."

Carnegie Corporation of New York was created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to promote "the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding." For over 95 years the Corporation has carried out Carnegie's vision of philanthropy by building on his two major concerns: international peace and advancing education and knowledge. As a grantmaking foundation, the Corporation will invest more than $85 million this year in nonprofits to fulfill Mr. Carnegie's mission, "to do real and permanent good in this world." The Corporation's capital fund, originally donated at a value of about $135 million, had a market value of $2.5 billion on September 30, 2006.