Education News in Brief

Awards Hail College Access

By Scott J. Cech — September 30, 2008 1 min read

Three educators who have worked to increase access to college were awarded the 2008 Harold W. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education last week.

Richard Blais, one of the winners, is the vice president of state and corporate relations for Project Lead The Way, a national high school program of rigorous honors-level mathematics and science courses, plus an intensive, hands-on collaborative engineering project—all meant to help prepare students for higher education and the high-tech workplace. (“Engineering a Blueprint for Success,” Sept. 26, 2007)

Mr. Blais conceived the idea for what would become Project Lead The Way in 1986, when he was director of occupational education for the Shenendehowa Central School District in Clifton Park, N.Y. Since then, the program has expanded to almost 3,000 schools nationwide, serving nearly 300,000 students.

Judith Berry Griffin, an educational administrator and leader, as well as consultant, author, and lecturer, is the founding president of the Ophelia J. Berry Fund’s first program, Pathways to College. The 16-year-old national after-school initiative has helped more than 2,100 high-potential students of color strengthen the critical-thinking skills and habits needed for success in college.

Charles B. Reed has been the chancellor of the 23-campus, 450,000-student California State University System since 1998. Mr. Reed has spearheaded collaborative efforts with high schools to ensure that all students have access to a college-preparatory curriculum, and has substantially raised the enrollment levels of African-American, Hispanic, and Native American students in the CSU system.

The annual McGraw prize, established in 1988 to recognize people who have improved education, is awarded by the New York City-based McGraw-Hill Cos. Each honoree receives $25,000.

A version of this article appeared in the October 01, 2008 edition of Education Week