Press Release: 
Marble Hill cited as "An Innovative Model for Student Success"
February 19, 2005

NEW YORK CITY-The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation today announced new grants totaling more than $32 million to support and expand efforts to raise achievement, graduation, and college-readiness rates in New York City's high schools. These grants will help create 35 new small high schools, train more than 40 principals, and improve school facilities in order to prepare students for college and work.

The non-profit organizations receiving the grants, including the College Board, New Visions for Public Schools, Urban Assembly, and New Leaders for New Schools, have proven track records in the creation and support of successful schools and school leaders. Together, they are engaged in a bold strategy led by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel I. Klein to offer high-school age students more high-quality educational options by fostering the development of academically rigorous small schools designed to help all students achieve.

Chancellor Klein said, "The generosity of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the support of our non-profit partners have been critical to the early success of our New Schools Initiative. We are delighted that their renewed support, and a new partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, will bring us closer to our goal of opening 200 new schools and charter schools that are academically rigorous, focused on the individual needs of students, and connected to leading education and community-based organizations."

Two studies released today by WestEd, a non-profit, independent education research organization, reported that small high schools created according to the model developed in New York City - including Marble Hill High School for International Studies in the Bronx - are effective in increasing student engagement and boosting student skills, particularly among the lowest-performing students.

In New York City, only about five of every 10 students graduate from high school in four years and, of those who do graduate, only about one-third receive a Regents diploma showing they are prepared for college success. The outlook is even less favorable for African American and Latino students: only about 9 percent who entered high school in 1998 graduated four years later with a Regents diploma.

To address these low graduation and college-preparedness rates, New York City is developing small, academically rigorous and dynamic high schools, which provide all young people with high- quality educational options. These schools embody three critical elements of a high-quality high school: rigorous college-preparatory instruction, relevant coursework, and meaningful relationships with instructors and peers.

"It's been our experience that high-quality small high schools are a critical component of district-wide reforms aimed at improving graduation rates and preparing students for the demands of today's economy," said Tom Vander Ark, executive director of education, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "The success of these strong new high schools makes school choice a reality for New York City's children. Ultimately, these schools serve as a catalyst for reform throughout the system so all New York City students can graduate as strong citizens prepared for college and work."

The WestEd reports, Rethinking High School: Five Profiles of Innovative Models for Student Success and Rethinking High School: An Introduction to New York City's Experience, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, analyzed student data from new small high schools serving low-income and minority youth. The schools, including Marble Hill High School for International Studies, and schools in Boston, Chicago, Denver, San Diego, and Dayton, Ohio, experienced increased attendance and lower disciplinary rates - both of which are early predictors for improved academic performance and increased graduation rates.

"New York City is demonstrating how a community can unite to develop high-quality high schools that are focused on inspiring young people to set career goals and meet high academic standards," said Janet Mountain, executive director, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. "We are hopeful that this collaboration among the City's Department of Education, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, our intermediaries, community partners, and parents will foster a larger citywide commitment to preparing all of our students to compete in the 21st century workplace."

In partnership with the New York City Department of Education, local educational and community organizations have launched more than 100 high-performing small schools that will serve more than 50,000 low-income and minority students throughout the City. More than 50 additional new, high-quality small secondary schools will open this fall in New York City, bringing the total number of new schools to 157 since the New York City Department of Education launched its initiative to open 200 new, high-quality small schools by 2007.

Representatives from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and grantee organizations joined Chancellor Klein, students, and community leaders at South Bronx Preparatory to announce today's investment.

This commitment builds on previous Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation investments in New York City, including a $58 million grant in 2003 and co-sponsorship of a $31 million grant with the Carnegie Corporation and Open Society Institute in 2000.

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation has also made previous commitments toward children's initiatives in New York City, including the New York City Leadership Academy, the New York Elementary School Library Initiative, the Harlem Children's Zone pre-school programs, and the Food Bank for New York City Kids Café programs.

Today's announcement includes investments in:

· College Board ($11,850,000) to expand the College Board Schools Initiative in New York City to 16 schools and to extend the timeline through June 2009. This includes $3.6 million from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and $8.25 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

· New Visions for Public Schools ($9,583,800) to support the development and implementation of 15 additional New Century High Schools in New York City as well as an operational strategy in partnership with the New York City Department of Education for campus design and visual branding, and to support the documentation and dissemination of this work.

· Urban Assembly ($7,050,000) to create 10 rigorous high schools guided by visionary leaders and supported by meaningful partnerships with the private sector (six with grades 9-12 and four with grades 6-12) in New York City and provide them with comprehensive support.

· New Leaders for New Schools ($3,600,000) to foster high levels of academic achievement by recruiting, training, placing, and supporting the next generation of outstanding principals for urban public schools - new and existing. This grant is part of a $10 million investment in principals for 127 new small high schools across the nation (more than 40 in New York City).

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ( works to promote greater equity in four areas: global health, education, public libraries, and support for at-risk families in Washington state and Oregon. The Seattle-based foundation joins local, national, and international partners to ensure that advances in these areas reach those who need them most. The foundation is led by Bill Gates's father, William H. Gates, Sr., and Patty Stonesifer.

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation ( is based in Austin, Texas; it was established in 1999 by the Dell family to improve outcomes for underserved children around the world. The Foundation funds programs that foster active minds, healthy bodies and a safe environment where children can thrive. With an endowment of more than $1 billion, the Foundation has committed more than $135 million to children's and community initiatives to date. EDITOR'S NOTE: The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is separate and distinct from the Dell Foundation. In first reference, please use 'The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.' For second references, 'the Dell family foundation' or 'MSDF' is correct.

This article has been reprinted from the NYC Department of Education, NYC Government Site
Saturday, February 19, 2005


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