Gates Foundation Grant Supports Great Schools Compact Initiatives

New grant from the Gates Foundation supports district-charter collaboration compact; will deepen collaboration between District, charter and Archdiocese schools.

The City of Philadelphia announced it will support three Philadelphia Great Schools Compact initiatives aimed at improving school leadership, strengthening teacher training and creating benchmark assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The initiatives will be funded in part through a $2.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which will be managed by the Philadelphia School Partnership.

This new investment will allow Philadelphia to deepen collaboration between District, charter and Archdiocesan schools and strengthen existing work and partnerships to advance college readiness and student success throughout the city.

“Our Administration is committed to building a system of great schools to provide a quality education for every Philadelphia student. This investment by the Gates Foundation supports the efforts of the Philadelphia Great Schools Compact to make that system of great schools a reality and serves as a confirmation of the Compact’s dedicated work,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “I want to thank the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for this generous contribution to the Compact.”

Vicki Phillips, Director of Education, College Ready for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said, “The goal is to support these communities in significantly boosting the number of students enrolled in high-performing schools. These cities understand that opening the lines of communication and sharing best practices across schools are an effective way to do that. They have moved beyond the question of whether charters or district schools are better and are working together to benefit all students in these communities. These cities serve as models for what collaboration can do, and we applaud these local leaders for their commitment to advancing college readiness.”

The Philadelphia Great Schools Compact initiatives, partially helped by the Gates Foundation’s Grant, will support:

  • The creation of the Urban Leadership Academy, a principal pipeline development program which will assist 40-50 aspiring principals to obtain administrator certification annually;
  • The expansion of the “Train the Trainer” Teacher Effectiveness Program of Mastery Charter Schools’ program to develop teachers in District, charter, private and Archdiocese schools; and
  • The construction of benchmark assessments aligned to national Common Core State Standards in math and English language arts.

The Philadelphia School Partnership will work with the Great Schools Compact Committee to raise the balance of the funding for these initiatives.

“This funding will help ensure all our schools have great leaders and professional development and strong curricula to prepare kids for college and the work world,” said Dr. Lori Shorr, Chief Education Officer and the Great Schools Compact Committee Chair. “A stronger pipeline of urban school leaders is one of Philadelphia’s greatest needs, and highly effective teachers are essential to the success of every school. In addition, the benchmark assessment work will help to ensure that every student in Philadelphia is prepared for higher education or the workforce.”

Philadelphia was one of seven District-Charter Collaboration Compact cities selected to receive funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support collaboration efforts. The other grant cities include: Boston, MA; Denver, CO; Hartford, CT; New Orleans, LA; New York City, NY; and Spring Branch, TX.

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