GE Announces Record $20 Million 'College Bound' Grant for Cincinnati Public Schools
Cincinnati, Ohio -- Today, GE announced a record five year, $20 million "College Bound" math and science focused grant for Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS). News of the largest non-governmental grant ever received by the district was made during a huge celebration that included 1,400 CPS students, administrators, teachers, parents, GE and community leaders.
CPS Superintendent Rosa Blackwell hosted the event with GE - Aviation President and CEO Scott Donnelly at Hughes Center. Hughes offers five specialized high school academic programs, including the district's Center for Math and Science. Special guest speaker was O'dell Owens, CPS Woodward High graduate, who received his medical degree from Yale University and was a pioneer in the treatment of infertility. He is currently Hamilton County Coroner.
Another CPS alum, Gerica Brown, Hughes Center class of 2004, will also speak. She is an engineering student at the University of Dayton and co-ops at GE - Aviation. After the announcement, GE executives, including Donnelly, met with Hughes seniors in small groups to offer career advice and talk about their own challenges as students and the importance of education, particularly math and science, in achieving their success.
The five-year GE Foundation grant will support a comprehensive school, business and community collaboration to improve student scores in math and science, close achievement gaps and increase the number of students entering college. Work to achieve the grant was begun more than a year ago by CPS administrators, teachers, national education consultants and GE leaders with the help of a $500,000 planning grant from the GE Foundation. During that time, the team determined a five-year plan of improvement and roadmap for implementation fully aligned to the district's strategic plan.
"The world becomes more competitive every day, and the need to strengthen education has never been more urgent," said GE - Aviation President and CEO Scott Donnelly. "Today is about the students in Cincinnati Public Schools and all that they can achieve. The goal of the GE College Bound District Program is to help all students reach their full potential, achieve academic success and lead the way in tomorrow's global economy."
The GE Foundation created its College Bound program in 1989, to increase college-going rates at more than 20 high schools across the nation. CPS' Aiken High School was one of the schools that benefited from the program. The foundation's new district focus works to enhance student achievement through systemic change within school districts.
The strategy begins with collaboration between the superintendent, teachers' federation and the board of education, and works to improve the school system in six key areas: engaging stakeholders, building management capacity, ensuring a rigorous district-wide math and science curriculum, delivering comprehensive professional development and providing in-depth evaluation. In addition, GE leaders champion the project and GE Volunteers bring their skills and professional capacity into the schools.
"This grant is supportive, systemic and smart," said Cincinnati Pubic Schools Superintendent Rosa Blackwell. "It has been constructed in a way that positions our students for success in the 21st century by incorporating high academic standards, best educational practices, collaborative relationships and the expertise of a longstanding partner and global technology leader. I am confident the GE College Bound District Grant will accelerate progress in our schools, especially in the vitally important areas of math and science."
CPS includes 67 schools, nearly 35,000 students and approximately 2,500 teachers. Over the last five years, CPS has improved in overall district performance, reading and math scores, graduation rate, student attendance and high-school academic performance. During the 2005-2006 academic year, CPS retained its Continuous Improvement rating on the Ohio Report Card, based on the district's steady increases in student performance.
Improving student achievement in both math and science is a critical need for CPS. Results in math for 2006 show scores in grades 7 and 8 lag state results by 20 to 25%, and on the Ohio Graduation Test only 57% of students passed in science. The new GE Foundation grant will focus on both these areas of need.
Such challenges are common in urban districts, and the GE College Bound District Program was created for that reason. Nationwide, the foundation will invest $100 million to help increase the number of students who go on to college in targeted U.S. school districts over a five-year period. Today, in addition to the announcement of CPS' grant, GE announced a $15 million grant to Stamford, Conn. Public Schools. Last year the GE Foundation's first grant, $25 million for Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville was announced.
"We can best secure the future success of young Americans by strengthening their skills in math and science and helping prepare them for careers in the growing engineering, science and technology sectors," said Cincinnati native Jeff Immelt, GE's Chairman and CEO.
The GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of the General Electric Company, works to strengthen educational access, equity and quality for disadvantaged youth globally, and supports GE employee and retiree giving and involvement in GE communities around the world. In 2005, the GE Family contributed more than $220 million to community and educational programs, including $71 million from the GE Foundation. For information, go to www.gefoundation.com.