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14 Teams Get Grants To Develop New N.Y.C. Schools

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Fourteen teams representing a wide variety of agencies and professions have been awarded grants to plan innovative New York City public schools.

Schools Chancellor Joseph A. Fernandez and the Fund for New York City Public Education, a private, nonprofit organization that raises funds for school restructuring from the private sector, last week announced the 14 winning entries from among 282 proposals solicited from the public.

Each team will receive a $25,000 planning grant to develop smaller, theme-driven, community-supported "New Visions'' schools focusing on adolescents. (See Education Week, April 1, 1992.)

The New Visions schools are to include grades 9 through 12, as well as some earlier grades, and to enroll 500 to 700 students in intimate and personalized educational settings, district officials said.

"Planned from the ground up by the community, parents, and teachers, the schools will foster student choice and innovative instruction responsive to the diversity of our student population,'' Mr. Fernandez said at a news conference.

All of the winning proposals seek to provide rigorous academic programs to serve diverse populations of students, district officials added.

The planning teams have been asked to submit refined, comprehensive proposals to the city board of education, with the goal of opening the new schools next fall in existing, loaned, leased, or shared space.

The 14 winning teams, selected by a 20-member advisory board as well as a panel of judges, come from all five boroughs of the city.

The teams consist of such varied organizations as historical societies, hospitals, labor-union locals, cultural institutions, libraries, colleges, schools of education, and museums.

The schools that the winning teams propose include two that would draw heavily on community resources in the borough of Queens, another that draws on such resources in Brooklyn, and another that would engage students in studies related to the rebuilding and rehabilitation of the city's infrastructure.

Four of the winning entries stress teaching how to bring about positive social change, and include one bilingual school and another that uses the United Nations as a campus.

The winning entries also include schools that would hold classes at museums, introduce students to careers in health care, and promote community service or critical thinking.

Other winning entries focus on science, math, and technology, or on new technology and the arts.

The Aaron Diamond Foundation has committed $750,000 over three years to the program.

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