Philly Schools Receive $2.5M Grant From Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

You can watch the live press conference beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Philadelphia has been named one of seven cities in the country to receive a $2.5 million education grant.

The announcement was made during a press conference this morning at City Hall. The meeting, which centered around what organizers call "investments in educational initiatives," began with a video message from Mayor Michael Nutter. Nutter, who is currently in China on a trade mission to promote investment in the city, made the announcement at the beginning of the meeting. According to Nutter, the Philadelphia Great Schools Compact will receive a $2.5 million grant over the next three years from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will be managed by the Philadelphia School Partnership. 

“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 Nutter.  “I want to thank the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for this generous contribution to the Compact.”

Vicki Phillips, the director of Education, College Ready for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation stated the following: 

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.

Officials say the initiatives will "improve school leadership, strengthen teacher training and develop benchmark assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards."

According to officials, the new initiatives will support the following:

  • 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.

“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 is one of seven District-Charter Collaboration Compact cities selected to receive funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation. The other cities are Boston, Denver, Hartford, New Orleans, Los Angeles, New York City and Spring Branch, Texas.

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