GE Foundation Reinvests $5.3 Million in Cincinnati to Implement Common Core State Standards and Assessments

Brings Total to $25.3 Million over Eight Years to Improve Instruction

August 4, 2011

Cincinnati, OH -- The GE Foundation, the philanthropic arm of GE, announced today it would begin its second phase of collaboration with Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) with a $5.3 million, three-year extension grant to assist in the implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) -- a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The CCSS provides a clear and consistent roadmap to ensure all students are prepared with the knowledge and skills to be successful in college, a career and compete in a global marketplace.

"For our country to survive and thrive, our students must be competitive, mastering the rigorous content and higher-order thinking and leadership skill sets that are the hallmark of 21st century learning," said Mary Ronan, Superintendent. "Nowhere is this more important than in our urban core, where students historically have underperformed compared to their counterparts nationwide. We are deeply appreciative of the GE Foundation's commitment to our students."

In addition, the renewal grant -- which brings the total investment over eight years to $25.3 million -- supports the district's vision to develop 21st century learners and leaders by focusing on:

  • Development of leaders to lead learning and innovation skills
  • New strategies to attract, develop, manage and retain talent
  • Increasing student achievement and closing the achievement gap
  • The GE Foundation Developing Futures in Education program is a comprehensive effort that incorporates a three-pronged approach: managing the systemic change process; building internal management capacity; and supporting district math and science initiatives. Together, these focus areas lead to sustainable systemic change.

    The initial GE Foundation grant for $20 million awarded in 2006 enabled CPS to implement common curricula in math and science in 100 percent of the schools. In addition, all teachers and principals in the district have participated in GE-sponsored high-quality professional development. Collectively, these efforts have expanded teacher content expertise and curriculum resources, encouraged a more data-driven culture, embedded collaborative structures in school and central decision-making, and heightened targeted community involvement to improve teaching and learning.

    As a result, CPS significantly increased student achievement in its lowest performing elementary schools and reached the Effective category on the Ohio Report Card in 2010, the highest rating ever attained by an urban district in the state. The rating was earned due to steady overall gains in academic achievement.

    "Building on the incredible success of the initial grant at CPS and the strong partners we've found in the CPS leadership, GE continues to support the district in its journey of becoming a leader in 21st century learning," said Bob Corcoran, President and Chairman of the GE Foundation and Vice President for Corporate Citizenship. "We look forward to their continued progress and success."

    The involvement of the local business, GE Aviation, has also allowed the district to be innovative and accomplish more than initially thought possible. For example, GE executives coach school principals in leadership development and have introduced school administrators to GE management tools and courses to meet specific district needs. One such project saved CPS about $12 million through standardization and a bulk-purchasing strategy for equipment during the 10-year facilities management plan to rebuild or renovate the majority of CPS schools.

    "The GE Foundation's continued investment in our schools and students is essential to long-term competitiveness," said David Joyce, President and CEO of GE Aviation, which employs about 7,000 people in the Greater Cincinnati area, many of whom have a strong knowledge base in math and science. "Our GE Volunteers are committed to partnering with CPS and broader community to ensure our students are well-prepared to succeed in careers and jobs, which keeps the region and U.S. thriving in a global economy."

    More than 10,500 GE Volunteer hours in CPS were recorded in 2010 for work in targeted school partnerships at Aiken High School and Evanston Academy (formerly Hoffman-Parham School); principal leadership development at Rothenberg Preparatory and Chase School; and special events such as Fifth Quarter - the district's extended learning session in June.

    The partners that have worked on the math/science initiative since 2006 -- CPS, leaders of the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers (CFT), along with principals, teachers, parents, students and community members—have reaffirmed their continued commitment to raising student proficiency in those disciplines.

    "Our collaborative work on math and science has made a positive difference for all of our learners and across the entire district," said Julie Sellers, president of the CFT. "We are excited to be a part of the next phase of the GE Foundation Developing Futures grant."

    Over the next three years, CPS will make a major investment in developing people. All of the efforts will focus on developing the skills and abilities of students and the adults who facilitate and support their learning. The transition to CCSS will involve curriculum development and revision, comprehensive professional development, aligning assessments to reflect the capacity of students to demonstrate critical thinking skills, community engagement and strategic communication.

    The grant also will encourage intentional sharing across other Developing Futures public school districts in Stamford, CT; Milwaukee, WI; Erie, PA; Atlanta, GA; and New York City especially as all sites will be implementing the CCSS over the next few years.

    "At CPS, we are committed to developing 21st century learners and leaders," said Ronan. "We have set our sights on becoming a state and national leader by embracing strenuous new national core content standards and equipping our students and staff with the supports they need to attain them."

    About the GE Foundation: The GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of the General Electric Company, works to solve some of the world's most difficult problems. In coordination with its partners, it supports U.S. and international education, developing health globally, the environment, public policy, human rights and disaster relief. In addition, the GE Foundation supports GE employee and retiree giving and involvement in GE communities around the world. In 2010, the entire GE family—including businesses, employees, retirees and GE Foundation—contributed more than $250 million to community and educational programs, including more than $115 million from the GE Foundation. For more information, visit www.gefoundation.com.

    Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS): A district of 57 schools serving a diverse population of more than 34,000 students in grades preschool to 12 -- prepares students for life through rigorous academic programs, numerous enrichment opportunities and strong community partnerships. The district moved up into the Effective rating on the 2009-10 Ohio Report Card — the only urban district in Ohio to earn this high of a rating. In addition, CPS' graduation rate has increased from just over 60 percent to 80 percent since 2002. Three of its high schools – Walnut Hills High School, Withrow University High School and Clark Montessori High School – are ranked among the top 1,000 public high schools in the United States, according to national magazines. CPS is in year eight of a 10-year, $1-billion Facilities Master Plan that will provide new or fully renovated buildings for all CPS students. To learn more about Cincinnati Public Schools, visit www.cps-k12.org.