The Broad Foundation Awards $1 Million Grant to Expand Achievement First Schools in Northeast U.S.

Achievement First Plans to Open 14 New and 2 Expanded Public Charter Schools, Growing to 35 in New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island by 2017

NEW YORK, Nov. 16, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Achievement First is receiving $1 million from The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation to nearly double the number of high-performing public charter schools operated by the charter network to serve an additional 6,500 students in low-income communities throughout New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island, the charter management organization announced today.

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The support comes on the heels of other funding Achievement First has recently received from the Walton Family Foundation, which provides $250,000 for each new Achievement First school opened, and $1.7 million over two years from a U.S. Department of Education grant to replicate and expand high-quality charter schools. Combined with the new Broad Foundation funding, this philanthropic support is allowing Achievement First to expand into a third state, Rhode Island, in partnership with the Rhode Island Mayoral Academies.

"We are incredibly grateful to The Broad Foundation for this generous support, which will be invaluable as we work to provide many more students in coming years with a high-quality education that prepares them for college," said Dacia Toll, co-CEO and president of Achievement First.

Achievement First currently operates 19 public charter schools throughout Brooklyn, N.Y., and New Haven, Bridgeport and Hartford, Conn. During the 2010-11 academic year, Achievement First is serving nearly 5,500 students across nine public charter elementary schools, eight public charter middle schools and two public charter high schools. Ninety-nine percent of Achievement First's enrolled students for the current academic year are African-American or Latino, and 74 percent are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. The Broad Foundation grant will help enable Achievement First to open 14 new and two expanded public charter schools, expanding to 35 schools in New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island by 2017.

Growing numbers of working families in New York and Connecticut in recent years have requested seats for their children in Achievement First college-preparatory schools. Due to a limited number of classes and space, however, the majority of these families have been unable to send their children to an Achievement First school.

Last year, 3,800 families submitted applications for their students to enter Achievement First public charter schools in New York, but only 580 seats were available, meaning six out of every seven families were waitlisted.

"Achievement First schools help their students make dramatic academic gains and prepare them for success in college and the real world," said Eli Broad, founder of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, which has invested nearly $100 million in high-quality public charter school models nationwide. "As more families demand quality public school choices for their children, we are proud to help these outstanding public charter schools expand access for underserved students."

In its Connecticut schools, Achievement First has closed the achievement gap for six out of 15 grade-subject combinations across fourth, eighth and 10th grades at Amistad Academy, Elm City College Prep and Amistad-Elm City High. In June 2010, Achievement First graduated its first senior class, with 100 percent of its students accepted into four-year colleges or universities. Achievement First students are acting as proof points in the national conversation by showing that low-income students can perform at levels found within affluent communities.

The Broad Foundation grant will help Achievement First identify and cultivate strong school leaders for each new school, recruit a core of excellent classroom teachers, and provide curricular and instructional support during the development of the school. Funding from the Broad grant will be distributed over the next two academic years.

Achievement First's approach to teaching and learning seeks to enable each and every student to succeed at the highest academic levels. This involves:

  • Providing students with more time on task and intense intervention when they are struggling.
  • Recruiting and developing successful teachers and empowering them to use student data to strategically drive instruction.
  • Creating a disciplined, yet joyful, school culture that emphasizes character education and focuses students on college.

About Achievement First.  The mission of Achievement First is to close the achievement gap and deliver on the promise of equal educational opportunity for all children, regardless of race, economic status or zip code. With its college-preparatory focus, the Achievement First approach is attaining breakthrough academic gains throughout its network of 19 public charter schools. In the 2010-11 academic year, Achievement First is educating nearly 5,500 children in historically low-performing and underserved neighborhoods in Connecticut and New York.  For more information about Achievement First, please visit www.achievementfirst.org.

About The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.  The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is a national venture philanthropy established by entrepreneur and philanthropist Eli Broad to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts. The Broad Foundation's education work is focused on dramatically improving K-12 public education through better governance, management, labor relations and competition. The Broad Foundation's Internet address is www.broadeducation.org.

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SOURCE The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation



RELATED LINKS
http://www.broadeducation.org
http://www.achievementfirst.org

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