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Published: Thursday, 8/21/2003

Donors reward Toledo schools


The Toledo Public School District snagged its second six-figure grant from the KnowledgeWorks and Bill & Melinda Gates foundations this year - an award to Rogers High School to make a more personalized, effective school, district officials said yesterday.

“What it means is we're going to have money - $869,040 over three years - to transform a comprehensive high school into four smaller-sized learning community high schools that will have a better chance of building relationships with students and with families and with staff,” said John Foley, school improvement leader for the Rogers area.

In May, Libbey High School received a $776,475 grant to create more personalized instruction and learning for teachers and students. The three-year awards will help create smaller “schools” within both existing buildings.

Teachers will participate in professional development activities during the first year of the award. Subsequent years will focus on creating programs for each of the four new autonomous schools within Rogers and Libbey.

At Libbey, the four “schools” will have a different focus: humanities and the arts, business and marketing, math and science/trade technology, and consumer and health technology.

“We have not decided on themes at Rogers,” Mr. Foley said. “Each school is able to design around their needs. Rogers decided that rather than choose themes ahead of time that they'd want to get input from everyone including the faculty, students, and parents.”

Tom Vander Ark, executive director for education at the Gates Foundation, said the grants represent a new “vision” for public education.

“This vision is grounded in the belief that a personalized environment that promotes rigorous performance from students and staff is our future,” he said.

Scott High School also is receiving $30,000 from KnowledgeWorks to continue work on its proposal for similar funding from the foundations.

Rogers was one of six urban Ohio high schools selected for the funding. The others are Buchtel High School, Akron; Linden McKinley, Columbus; Admiral King, Lorain; Canton McKinley in Canton, and Euclid High School, Euclid.

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