School & District Management

Gates Foundation Expands Support for ‘Early College’ High Schools

By Caroline Hendrie — January 04, 2005 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

New grants totaling nearly $30 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will underwrite dozens of new “early college” high schools, with a goal of more than tripling the nation’s supply of such schools over the next four years.

Often located on college campuses, early-college high schools are designed to enable disadvantaged students, in particular, to earn two years’ worth of college credits or associate’s degrees along with their high school diplomas. In recent years, a number of philanthropies, led by the Gates Foundation, have begun making grants designed to form a national network of such schools.

Upping its total commitment to that network to nearly $114 million, the Seattle-based foundation announced on Dec. 7 that it was making seven grants worth more than $22 million to start 42 early-college high schools. The foundation also announced a grant of $7 million to Jobs for the Future, a nonprofit organization based in Boston, to provide technical help to the network and set up a data-collection system aimed at evaluating the schools’ effectiveness.

The announcements ended a yearlong pause for the Gates Foundation in its education grantmaking, which has focused on spawning and supporting networks of smaller, more personalized high schools around the country. (“Gates-Financed Initiative Faces Instructional Hurdles, Report Says,” June 23, 2004; “Major Gates Foundation Grants to Support Small High Schools,” June 16, 2004.)

Tom Vander Ark, the executive director of education for the Gates Foundation, noted that high school students for many years have been getting a taste of higher education and earning college credits through dual-enrollment programs and Advanced Placement courses. While the early-college model is not for everyone, he said, it should be more widely available to students from disadvantaged circumstances.

“This initiative seeks to provide that same benefit to low-income and minority students in a highly supportive environment,” Mr. Vander Ark said during a teleconference. “It’s not our vision of high schools for all, but it’s one of the options that ought to exist in every urban area in America.”

Major Expansion Seen

For the Gates Foundation, the early-college high school initiative is part of a larger effort to improve the graduation and college-going rates among poor and minority students, largely by stimulating the creation of various kinds of smaller high schools with challenging academic programs. The foundation says it has committed $806 million to that broader effort, counting the new grants.

Foundation officials estimate that by fall 2008, the early-college network will have grown to include some 170 schools, serving more than 65,000 students, up from the 46 schools serving 8,000 today. The network has received more than $124 million since 2001 from the Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the W.K. Kellogg, Woodruff, and Ford foundations.

Most of the grants announced last month went to organizations that previously received money from the Gates Foundation.

As the recipient of the largest grant, Jobs for the Future is to strengthen the early-college network and to set up a student- information system that will result in public reports on student achievement in the network. That system will also enable schools to track their students’ progress over time and share data about student demographics and performance, foundation officials said.

Other grants include:

• $6.1 million to Antioch University Seattle, to add 10 schools targeting American Indian students to the eight schools that the university now coordinates in Washington state;

• $6 million to the New York City-based Middle College National Consortium, to add 10 more schools by 2008 to its existing network of 20 schools;

• $5.4 million to Portland Community College in Portland, Ore., to support nine new schools based on its Gateway to College model, which targets students who had previously dropped out;

• $2 million to the University System of Georgia and the Georgia education department to create six new schools in Atlanta and elsewhere;

• $1.2 million to the Knowledge Works Foundation of Cincinnati to add two more schools in Ohio;

• $1 million to the Rochester Area Community Foundation and the Rochester, N.Y., school district to support up to five new schools; and

• $891,000 to the National Council of La Raza, a Washington-based Hispanic-advocacy group, to develop a school design based on its existing network of 12 schools.

A version of this article appeared in the January 05, 2005 edition of Education Week as Gates Foundation Expands Support for ‘Early College’ High Schools

Events

Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
Mission Possible: Saving Time While Improving Student Outcomes
Learn how district leaders are maximizing instructional time and finding the best resources for student success through their MTSS framework.
Content provided by Panorama Education
Reading & Literacy K-12 Essentials Forum Writing and the Science of Reading
Join us for this free event as we highlight and discuss the intersection of reading and writing with Education Week reporters and expert guests.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Leader To Learn From Transforming a School District, One Relationship at a Time
Richard Tomko of Belleville, N.J., schools wants to build an early foundation for students and help those with disabilities flourish.
8 min read
Richard Tomko, Superintendent of Belleville Public Schools in Belleville, N.J., visits Mrs. Gras’ pre-K class and participates in a dancing activity to enrich gross motor skills on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. One of Dr. Tomko’s main initiatives as superintendent has been to grow Belleville Public School’s “Preschool Universe,” which has been largely successful since the opening of the Hornblower Early Childhood Center in 2020. District enrollment in the “Preschool Universe” was at 7.8% in the 2018-19 school year, and is now at 86.7% for the 2022-23 school year.
Richard Tomko, superintendent of Belleville public schools in Belleville, N.J., has deepened community trust while improving the district's financial footing and expanding academic programs.
Sam Mallon/Education Week
School & District Management Photo Essay PHOTOS: A Superintendent Who Exudes Joy in All Things
EdWeek photographer Sam Mallon reflects on her day with Richard Tomko, a 2023 Leaders to Learn From honoree.
2 min read
During a visit to the new Belleville Indoor Training Facility, Richard Tomko, Superintendent of Belleville Public Schools, speaks with Carolyn Guancione, Indoor Training Facility Support Staff, about how the space continues to transform, in Belleville, N.J., on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. The new training facility was built to facilitate and accommodate general physical activity and training for sports teams within the school system and the greater Belleville community.
Richard Tomko, the superintendent of Belleville public schools, speaks with Carolyn Gancione during a visit to the district's new indoor training facility, which is shared with the community.
Sam Mallon/Education Week
School & District Management Opinion Your School Leadership Needs More Student Voice
When one Virginia principal moved from middle school to high school, he knew he would need to find new ways of soliciting student feedback.
S. Kambar Khoshaba
3 min read
Illustration of students holding speech bubbles.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week via Canva
School & District Management First Latina Selected to Lead National Principals Group
Raquel Martinez is a middle school principal in Pasco, Wash.
3 min read
Raquel Martinez, the principal of Stevens Middle School, in Pasco, Wash., was named president-elect of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. She’s the first Latina to hold the position.
Raquel Martinez, the principal of Stevens Middle School, in Pasco, Wash., was named president-elect of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. She’s the first Latina to hold the position.
Courtesy of the National Association of Secondary School Principals