NSB Approves Multimillion Dollar Award for San Diego's System-Wide Education Reform
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San Diego is one of three cities named to receive a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for system-wide reform in K-12 science, mathematics and technology education.
NSF's governing body, the National Science Board, has approved San Diego's reform plan as well as proposals offered by the Milwaukee, Wis. and St. Louis, Mo. urban school systems.
Negotiations are underway for the five-year $15 million grant San Diego's Unified School District will receive under NSF's Urban Systemic Initiatives (USI).
"We are happy that San Diego, with its immense diversity, is undertaking this challenging but satisfying reform effort for the betterment of its children," Luther S. Williams, NSF Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources, said.
According to Williams, San Diego is adopting a comprehensive reform plan including increased graduation requirements in math and science for all students and better support to students through instructional improvements.
Local policy makers are also revising course and curriculum content within the unified school district, incorporating a standards-based approach.
Individually, San Diego schools will employ a concept of Comprehensive Site Planning to address the needs for sustained improvements in math, science and technology learning. The schools will establish a cadre of key teachers, whose attention will be focused on improving student performance. Technology links to all classrooms is a key component of the city's urban education reform initiative.
A portion of the funding from NSF's system-wide reform program will give teachers ongoing professional development opportunities through summer camps, district centers and area colleges and universities.
"As we continue to promote these system reforms in math, science and technology education, we have seen the accomplishments that are possible. I have every reason to expect that San Diego schools will stimulate high performance from their students, measured by their achievement.," Williams said.
Twenty-seven cities are now eligible for NSF support to fund a portion of their science, math and technology education improvements since NSF's urban reform initiatives began in 1993. These cities have the largest numbers of school-aged children living in poverty. NSF purposefully took on some of the hardest possible cases, says Williams, in an attempt to focus reform where it is most needed.
Starting in 1993, each eligible city received $100,000 from NSF to undertake a self-study of its K-12 system of math and science education. Each city was asked to develop a plan of system-wide reform in standards, student achievement, policy development, resource allocation and support from the local community.
Nine cities received USI funding in 1994. Seven more received funding in 1995. San Diego, Milwaukee and St. Louis are the first cities chosen to receive funding in 1996.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
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