GE Foundation Developing 21st Century Learners and Leaders
Working With CPS to Raise Science and Math Achievement
The GE Foundation Developing Futures™ in Education program has started its second phase of collaboration with Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) with a $5.3 million, three-year extension grant, announced in August 2011. This brings a total of $25.3 million over eight years given to CPS to improve instruction.
The grant renewal will help implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which will serve as a clear and consistent roadmap to ensure all students are prepared with knowledge and skills for success in college and a career so they can compete in a global marketplace. The transition to CCSS will involve curriculum development and revision, comprehensive professional development, aligning assessments so they reflect students’ ability to demonstrate critical-thinking skills, community engagement and strategic communication.
The grant's goal is to improve students' scores in math and science, while closing achievement gaps between groups of students and increasing the number of students entering college.
"For our country to survive and thrive, our students must be competitive, mastering the rigorous content and higher-order thinking and leadership skills that are the hallmark of 21st century learning."
Mary Ronan, Superintendent
The initial GE Foundation grant for $20 million, awarded in 2006, enabled CPS to implement common curricula in math and science in all district schools.
All CPS teachers and principals have participated in GE-sponsored, high-quality professional development. Collectively, these efforts have expanded teacher content expertise and curriculum resources, encouraged a more data-driven culture, embedded collaborative structures in school and Central Office decision-making and heightened targeted community involvement to improve teaching.
Following are some accomplishments in the six key grant areas:
Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
Implementing the Common Core State Standards — a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers — positions the district to become a nationally recognized leader in curriculum and instruction so all students are effective 21st century leaders. Changes in the classrooms will be gradual as schools modify curricula and develop assessments designed to measure students’ skills. Students will focus on doing better with a smaller number of skills necessary for success in higher education and future careers. Standards will be based on students’ mastery of a skill, rather than memorization of facts.
Specifically, the CCSS are:
- Aligned with college and work expectations
- Clear, understandable and consistent
- Focused on rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills
- Built upon the strengths and lessons of current state standards
- Based on standards used by other top-performing countries
GE Aviation is helping mobilize other local businesses to support CCSS and assessments by leveraging management capacity skills and tools to accelerate this major change.
CPS is one of seven GE-funded districts totaling a $200-million investment by the GE Foundation and supporting GE businesses, such as GE Aviation, to improve education.
The GE Foundation Developing Futures™ in Education program is a GE corporate citizenship signature program invested in selected school districts throughout the United States. The program seeks to improve math and science curricula, provide teacher professional development and improve college readiness through a systems change model that creates effective and sustainable social change.
The Developing Futures program uses a systemic approach that requires collaboration among the district's Central Office, teachers' union, school administrators, local GE volunteers, parents and the community. This approach is designed to ensure that all students are college ready, and have the math and science skills and knowledge to succeed in academic and career pursuits.