Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund Extends Reach To High School Students
The Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund (TMSF), an advocate for public Black colleges and universities, is extending its reach to high school students with a $4.9 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant, announced last month, will be used to develop and implement a unique, five-year program to redesign five low-performing high schools and to create three new high schools in economically distressed communities.
“This effort is a natural extension of TMSF’s mission and vision of preparing a new generation of leaders and is aligned with the No Child Left Behind legislation,” says Dwayne Ashley, president of TMSF. “We anticipate that the program will measurably transform academic standards and significantly improve the educational and long-term career prospects for thousands of students.”
“Close to one-half of all African American students don’t graduate from high school,” says Tom Vander Ark, executive director of education for the Gates Foundation. “These new schools will provide the kind of rich, rigorous and relevant learning environments where kids can thrive and envision a future.”
Each of the eight high schools will have a rigorous academic program, strong relationships between schools, parents and the community, and outcomes that are consistent with strategic academic goals. The new and transformed schools will be small, with a population of no more than 600 students.
The program aims to strengthen the role of public historically Black colleges and universities in national education reform efforts and to notably improve the academic achievements and graduation rates of students attending low-
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