Jan. 18, 1996
Vol. 15, No. 9

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    School-reform initiatives receive Annenberg funds

    The University's Center for School Improvement and three neighborhood coalitions are among 35 school and community partnerships to receive Chicago Annenberg Challenge grants.

    Chicago Annenberg Challenge is the local arm of Walter Annenberg's $500 million initiative to implement educational reform in the public schools of the nation's largest cities. Annenberg is a former magazine publisher and the former U.S. ambassador to Great Britain.

    In January 1995, the Annenberg Foundation announced a five-year grant totaling $49.2 million to support Chicago school reform. The grant is being matched two-to-one by $100 million in local private and public dollars.

    In the first cycle of the program, a total of $2.5 million in planning and implementation grants was awarded to Chicago school-reform initiatives.

    An implementation grant of $200,000 was awarded to the Center for School Improvement, which was established in 1989 to help Chicago Public Schools benefit from changes made possible by school reform. The Woodlawn School/Community Network, based at Hyde Park Career Academy, also received an implementation grant, for $135,000.

    Planning grants went to two other neighborhood coalitions. The Fund for Community Redevelopment and Revitalization received $22,155 for its South Side Community Network, which includes schools in Hyde Park, Woodlawn and North Kenwood/Oakland; the University has been involved in its planning efforts. The Reavis, Kozminski, KOCO Consortium, a joint project of two area public schools and the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization, received $25,000. The one-year planning grants provide the recipients with funds to develop implementation-grant proposals.

    The grants were awarded to coalitions based on how well they addressed the educational-reform obstacles of isolation, time and size. The Annenberg Challenge seeks proposals that support the beliefs that effective reform requires schools, educators and community-based partners to work together to improve student achievement; that time must be used more effectively to improve student learning and to give teachers time to grow in their profession; and that students and teachers need more intimate, student-centered learning environments to be successful.