19 High Schools Receive School-Improvement Grants

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Washington--The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has selected 19 high schools in 15 states to receive grants of up to $50,000 to improve their academic quality and advance school reform, Ernest L. Boyer, president of the foundation, announced this week.

The awards, which are the second phase of the Carnegie Grants Program for High School Improvement, are designed to enable principals to develop programs that further excellence in their schools.

"The search for improvement and renewal in our education system must begin in the schools at the local level," Mr. Boyer said in a statement. "The principal, joined by teachers, and backed by parents and concerned citizens, is the key to progress."

The one-year grants, most of which are for more than $40,000 and which total $800,000, are funded by the Atlantic Richfield Foundation and administered by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Recipients were chosen from 785 applicants by a panel of principals, professors, and other educators.

Last year, in the first phase of the Carnegie grants program, awards totaling more than $500,000 were given to 200 of the nation's high schools. Six of those recipients have been selected this year as well (and are noted with an asterisk in the list below).

A list of this year's grant recipients--including a brief description provided by the foundation of how each school will use the award--follows:

Arcata High School, Arcata, Calif., $50,000:

Aracata High School has been working on the improvement of teaching through staff development for a number of years. The Carnegie grant will enable the school to establish a staff-development academy to serve nearly all of its teachers. They will be trained in the most current teaching techniques designed to improve classroom instruction. Training will focus on such areas as critical and creative thinking, student achievement, and teacher expectations. The new academy will function in the school in a four-week summer program and throughout the school year.

James A. Garfield High School, Los Angeles, $50,000:

Garfield High School intends to involve students who have college potential in an intensive summer program to increase their skills in reading and writing. At present, a large number of students in this high school are scoring two years or more below grade level in reading. The summer program will focus on 10th-grade students and will attempt to strengthen their critical thinking and study skills, as well as their vocabulary and writing ability. There will be continuing and careful evaluation of the progress students are achieving.

Bristol Central High School

  • , Bristol, Conn., $48,775:

The funds will be used to build a project on development of critical thinking and writing skills made possible by Phase I of the Carnegie Grants Program. The new project will involve all 1,340 students in this comprehensive high school and, based on the experience under the Phase I grant, will focus on signifi-cant staff-development work with the teachers and others involved in the program. There will be a week-long summer institute on critical thinking and writing for the project's staff. Writing, which the school views as the essential tool for critical thinking, will be emphasized throughout the entire curriculum, not just in English.

St. Petersburg High School, St. Petersburg, Fla., $44,125:

St. Petersburg High School, an inner-city and nationally recognized school (U.S. Department of Education's Secondary School Recognition Program Award, 1984) has developed strong community support. The grant will enable the school to further institutionalize this strong public commitment in a way that would improve student performance. Traditional public support has resulted in renovation of the physical plant. Under the project, the high school will try to involve the community in the educational process through consultations with parents and private- and public-sector representatives. It will, for instance, seek the help of business, other educational institutions, and local government in upgrading the curriculum. The school feels that this program could eventually be a model for other schools throughout the country.

Hubbard High School, Chicago, $50,000:

The school will use the Carnegie grant in an overall effort to strengthen its academic offerings--English, foreign languages, mathematics, science, and social studies. Present efforts in these areas will be carefully evaluated in light of the needs of the student body. Hubbard, which until recently was forced to focus on such issues as discipline, the condition of the school plant, and attendance, now feels it can move ahead to concentrate on upgrading quality by better programs, standards, and evaluation. A strong staff coordinator will be hired to administer the new effort under the direction of the school's principal.

Forest City Community High School

  • , Forest City, Iowa, $50,000:

The school plans to expand the role television plays in advancing education both in the classroom and in the community. It intends to provide more videotapes for instruction and to use television for inservice staff development. The high school will also reach out to play a role in community education by using city cable television to deliver instruction, which it believes will broaden the base of community support for the school. Students will have the opportunity to learn about television production through participation in extra curricular experiences in connection with the expanded television efforts.

West Hardin High School

  • , Stephensburg, Ky., $32,693:

Last year, through a Phase I grant from Carnegie, West Hardin School began a program to improve and promote its library as a community and school resource center. With the new Carnegie award, West Hardin plans to expand its library services by establishing a writing laboratory for its 650 students. The staff will develop a much needed manual that will help guide students through such subjects as library information and retrieval procedures, critical reading skills, research methodolo-gy, composition-writing strategies, and personal and business correspondence. Part of their plan includes adding a room near the library that will house new computers, video-cassette recorders, and listening stations. Volunteers for the community will be encouraged to help as tutors for students in the laboratory, along with a new full-time teaching assistant.

Jamaica Plain High School

  • , Jamaica Plain, Mass., $37,488:

Jamaica Plain High School will use its award for a project to improve instruction for all its students by helping teachers develop alternative methods, materials, and strategies based on learning theory research. A key goal of the new approach is to create connections for students between their academic classroom work and the community. A team of teachers in this inner-city high school will be trained to develop and teach special units on urban studies which will become part of the required curriculum. It is hoped that by using the new approaches and the community as an extension of the classroom, there will be better school instruction.

Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, Rumson, N.J., $20,800:

This school serves two communities--Rumson and Fair Haven. As a regional high school for both, its curriculum needs to be consistent with the elementary schools feeding the high school. Both elementary school districts have programs for the academically gifted, and Rumson-Fair Haven wants to develop one that will not only provide an appropriate program for the entering gifted students from the elementary schools, but also for its own students. It will use the Carnegie award to establish the program, called "Academic Passport," for a select group of students. The program will include a series of interdisciplinary seminars.

Jamaica High School, Jamaica, N.Y., $43,030:

Jamaica High School, which has a student body of diverse ethnic backgrounds, intends to capitalize on its diversity by having students explore the richness of their cultures and learn how they fit into the American immigrant experience. A course given in American Studies contains only a two-week unit on this topic. Through the new project, the unit will be broadened to make it the focus of a year's course work, which would strengthen the school's core curriculum. The students will research and prepare a handbook that documents the ethnic achievements and history in the community. They also will make a videotape drama on the handbook, in an effort to further promote understanding and enrich the curriculum.

W.G. Enloe High School, Raleigh, N.C., $25,000:

The school will use its grant to further connections with the community, and, in the process, forge new, supportive relationships between faculty and students with leaders from various walks of life--in colleges and universities, research institutions, and in state government. First, Enloe will seek out its most important concerns and priorities at a fall faculty retreat. Then it plans to launch a "community mentor project," under which seminars will be conducted by outside leaders who will share the participants' information and skills. It is envisioned that these contacts will lead to further community involvement with the school.

Tarboro High School, Tarboro, N.C., $44,625:

The school is concerned about strengthening the effectiveness of its leadership. It will use its award to create a computer-based, school instruction management system. The computer will monitor instructional progress and have the capability of providing weekly reports on school effectiveness. By using the management capabilities of the computer system, the principal will be in a stronger position to assert leadership. The school also believes the computer program will be readily adaptable to other schools.

Aiken High School, Cincinnati, $46,032:

The majority of students in this inner-city school do not go to college. Aiken High School will use its grant to provide a program to give 60 juniors and seniors who possess the potential to succeed in college special assistance to better prepare them to compete for acceptance. Extra assistance will take the form of extensive instruction in study skills, oral and written communication, and helping students prepare for both the verbal and mathematics sections of the act/sat entrance exams. All 60 students will participate in an intensive two-week summer session prior to the start of the school year. The program will be continued over a three-year period.

Murrell Dobbins Area Vocational Technical School, Philadelphia, $46,310:

This school will seek to prepare students more fully to enter the world of work with skills and confidence. At present about one-fifth of the school's students go on to college, but the majority go to work and military service. The school would like to take advantage of an emerging education/business alliance in the city, and help their students achieve successful transitions from school to work. An important part of the project will be to provide for the updating of teacher skills so that the content of the courses better fits the expectations of industry.

Schenley High School Teacher Center, Pittsburgh, $25,000:

This 1,000-student high school also contains a teacher center for improving the instruction skills of secondary teachers throughout the Pittsburgh School District. With the Carnegie award, Schenley will set up a special council composed of staff, students, and parents, to help the school clarify its goals. The school will also establish a teacher-excellence fund to enable teachers to travel, purchase student materials, or engage in any activity that will help improve instruction. A third part of the Schenley High School Project is to provide for staff retreats and out-of-school seminars aimed at meeting professional needs of staff members.

Justin F. Kimball High, Dallas, $42,110:

Justin F. Kimball High School will use its Carnegie award to strengthen the ability of its English and history teachers to teach writing. The lowest scoring area across the Dallas Independent School District has been in writing. Last year, only about one-third of the high school's 9th-grade students mastered the writing section of Texas Basic Assessment of Basic Skills Test. By providing for writing work-shops by outside specialists, the school seeks to improve the ability of 41 staff members to better teach the skill. A special advisory committee will be established by the principal to oversee the program.

Booker T. Washington Senior High School, Houston, $50,000:

For a number of years this school has been moving ahead to develop its instructional programs to help raise the level of basic skills of students. Its competency-based instructional system has won a Foundation Recognition Award. Now, with the Carnegie grant, the school intends to take another forward step by computerizing its testing and assessment system to further improve and support its efforts at raising the level of instruction for students. It will develop the necessary software for making it possible to retrieve assessment and testing information in five core curriculum areas: language arts, reading, mathematics, science, and social studies.

McLean High School

  • , McLean, Va., $45,000:

With its second Carnegie grant, McLean High School will broaden its efforts to provide students with a deeper sensitivity to other cultures and perspectives. Tapping into the unique governmental and diplomatic resources of Washington, D.C., the school will expand the depth of student inquiry into world affairs by providing more contact with American policy makers and foreign nations. It also will introduce a new, junior diplomat course and use student research to develop a comprehensive world-affairs data bank. By offering an expanded international perspective to its programs, McLean hopes to further strengthen its core curriculum.

Sammamish High School

  • , Bellevue, Wash., $48,562:

Sammamish High School will provide a program that awards graduation credits to students participating in community service and outside education programs. Service might include volunteering in hospitals, convalescent homes, institutions for the elderly, and preschool programs. Outside education projects could include internships, mentorships, and independent projects at local businesses or institutions. In Bellevue, a suburban Seattle community, there is strong interest in further establishing connections between the school and the community. In addition to the Carnegie award, the school has already been funded by other sources to build this new program of service and education, which will be available to students at all ability levels.

Vol. 04, Issue 33

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