LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., May 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Institute for Student Achievement (ISA), a leading school redesign partner, today announced an $18,000 grant from the Long Island Community Foundation (LICF) for the 2007-2008 school year. This grant will support ISA's partnership with Hempstead High School, where ISA is working to transform the school into four small, personalized and academically small learning communities that graduate students on time and college ready. The conversion of Hempstead High School brings together three institutions, ISA, Adelphi University and the Hempstead School District, that share a vision for the development of Hempstead High School into a school of academic excellence. This transformation represents a critical "first" for Long Island, as it is the most ambitious conversion of a large, comprehensive high school ever to be undertaken in the region. The conversion of the school, which serves approximately 1,800 students, will not be merely the downsizing of a large school. It will be a culture shift -- from a community characterized by low expectations, impersonal relationships and poor instruction -- to a school characterized by high expectations, high student academic achievement and a personalized learning environment that welcomes students and parents. This shift will result in an increased student attendance rate, an increased course passing rate and an increased graduation rate. Hempstead High School serves a traditionally underserved student population at risk of dropping out of school unprepared to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. Forty percent of the students are newly arrived, Spanish speaking immigrants who are classified as English Language Learners. Ninety-nine percent are minority, and eighty percent qualify for free lunch. In spite of the many challenges faced each day, the school's future looks promising. Under the leadership of Principal, Mr. Reginald Stroughn, ISA and Adelphi University have already laid the groundwork to make the changes that will create a success educational environment. The school climate is safe and productive, and partners are currently entrenched in a year of intensive planning with staff developing a vision for their SLCs. Each SLC will serve a population of approximately 400 students, beginning with ninth grade and adding one grade per year until all students in the school are included in an SLC. Each SLC will provide students with intellectually rigorous and supportive learning environments that are designed to prepare them for high school graduation and success in college. In addition, each SLC will offer additional supports that fulfill the unique language and social needs of the school's burgeoning Hispanic and minority population. "Access to public school education for all Long Island children is an articulated critical issue in the LICF grantmaking guidelines," said Suzy D. Sonenberg, executive director of the Long Island Community Foundation. "African American students and other children of color are often segregated into low-performing school districts that lack the resources to prepare these students for satisfying careers and productive lives. This LICF grant will help the Institute for Student Achievement bring a model that has worked in other communities to the Hempstead school district, and Long Island's future depends on the success of all of our children, in every community." "We believe that by providing Long Island students with a high-quality education, we can break down the educational inequity that has prevented many members of the African American and Hispanic communities from attending college and moving on to participate in our region's vibrant community, economic and political life," said Dr. N. Gerry House, president and CEO of ISA. "We are honored that the Long Island Community Foundation supports ISA's mission and has invested in our impassioned work to create academically rigorous and personalized small learning communities that improve academic performance, boost graduation rates and cultivate a college-going culture among Hempstead's students." Like all ISA partner schools, Hempstead High School's four SLCs will be designed and implemented based on The ISA Model, which is framed by Seven Principles: a college preparatory instructional program; Distributed Counseling(TM); a dedicated team of teachers and counselors; continuous professional development; extended school day and year; parent involvement; and continuous organizational improvement. ISA is currently working in 65 small schools and small learning communities in New York, New Jersey, Georgia and Louisiana serving approximately 10,000 public school students. Based in Lake Success, New York, ISA is a national leader with local Long Island roots. Since its inception, ISA has partnered with more than forty small schools and small learning communities in the New York region. The Long Island Community Foundation (LICF) was established in 1978 by the New York Community Trust, the Nation's largest community foundation, to provide Nassau and Suffolk County residents with an economical alternative to a private foundation or a commercial gift fund. Like the other 650 community foundations around the country, the LICF offers a dual service: for donors, an efficient and hassle-free way of giving; and for the region, a philanthropic institution to support and assist the nonprofit community. Institute for Student Achievement (ISA) Focusing on improving academic achievement, the Institute for Student Achievement (ISA) is a leading school redesign partner that facilitates the transformation of low-performing high schools into small learning communities and small schools designed to prepare all students for success in college and beyond. Founded in 1990, ISA partners with school administrators and teachers to create and sustain intellectually rigorous and caring, personalized learning environments. A set of Seven Principles defines and guides the ISA Model. Building upon these Seven Principles, the Institute for Student Achievement collaborates with schools to create comprehensive plans and implementation strategies for school redesign that are customized to meet the unique needs of schools and districts. For more information contact us at (516) 812-6700 or visit www.studentachievement.org.
SOURCE Institute for Student Achievement