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Sacramento City Unified School District To Receive $4 Million To Create Small High Schools from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
206-709-3400
Maria Lopez
Sacramento City Unified School District
Phone:  916.264-4440

Ted Fujimoto
Linking Education and Economic Development
Phone: 916.641.4180

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento City Unified School District will create eight new small high schools with a $4 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Over the next four years, the school district will work with Linking Education and Economic Development – Sacramento (LEED), a non-profit intermediary dedicated to workforce development and education reform, to develop and open the new small high schools.

"Together with the community, we have developed an action plan to reinvent secondary education in Sacramento," said Jim Sweeney, superintendent of the Sacramento City Unified School District. "With support from a number of foundations, we are able to aggressively open new schools and provide a rich array of options for all students."

The schools will range in size from 110 to 400 students, with each school having its own board of directors reflective of the surrounding community.  Schools will be based on proven models, including a health services academy and a college preparatory school.  Additional school designs will be selected through a Request for Proposals process, allowing educators and community members to present ideas.  The schools will be open to all students and, whenever possible, will be located in underserved neighborhoods in order to attract diverse student populations.

"Sacramento schools are committed to preparing all students to succeed in college, work and citizenship," said Tom Vander Ark, executive director of education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "By creating small, personalized learning environments, the school district will transform its high schools into places where no students fall through the cracks and where all students achieve."  

The foundation is funding the creation of small high schools across the country in an effort to raise graduation rates for low-income and minority students and help all students get the support and personal attention they need to achieve.

"LEED is proud to partner with the Sacramento City Unified School District to create high schools that serve the diverse needs of Sacramento students," said Deanna Hanson, executive director of LEED. "Through our partnership, we aim to provide students with quality educational opportunities and choices that meet the workforce needs of employers in the greater Sacramento region in the 21st century."

The first new small schools are scheduled to open in the fall of 2003. Additional schools are to open in 2004 and 2005.  

On the Internet:
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, www.gatesfoundation.org
Sacramento Unified School District, www.scusd.edu
Linking Education and Economic Development, www.leed.org

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