Addressing Excellence Gaps and Other Needs

Cooke Regional Nonprofit Convening
September 14, 2018 – Here’s our weekly roundup of education news you may have missed. Will more screening or more money close the excellence gap? And in higher education, student support initiatives include AI and food pantries.

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High-achieving high school seniors can now apply for the Cooke College Scholarship Program, and the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship is accepting applications from community college students preparing to transfer. Both programs provide up to $40,000 per year, as well as ongoing advising and access to the thriving Cooke Scholar community.


Elementary & Secondary Education:

  • The New York Times describes how Montgomery County Public Schools is closing the excellence gap through a universal screening process for its advanced academic programs. This year, the percentage of students from low-income families who are enrolled in an elementary school magnet program is “nearly double the percentage who were accepted two years ago.”
  • Pittsburgh Public Schools will also experiment with screening all students for gifted programs, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Foundation’s research recommends universal screening as a strategy to address excellence gaps.
  • New research reported in The 74 finds that “districts provided with increased revenues by school finance reforms see improvements in standardized test scores, though the extra money hasn’t helped close persistent gaps between various racial and socioeconomic groups.”


Higher Education:

  • “All public colleges in The State University of New York and The City University of New York systems will have a food pantry or similar food access point by the end of the fall 2018 semester,” reports Education Dive. Recent reports from organizations including Achieving the Dream and the Wisconsin HOPE Lab suggest strategies for other institutions seeking to alleviate campus food insecurity.
  • NPR untangles what “free college” actually entails in various state promise programs.
  • For Brookings, Hunter Gehlbach and Lindsay C. Page explain how artificially-intelligent chatbots can help students successfully matriculate into college, rather than succumb to summer melt.


Cooke Foundation Highlights:

  • Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner, president and CEO of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK), includes the Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship in her Forbes list of community college opportunities.
  • Cooke Scholar Elda Pere shares her tips for applying to the scholarship in PTK’s The Reach blog. In addition to being a Cooke Scholar, Elda is PTK’s 2018-19 International President.
  • Following a $1 million grant from the Cooke Foundation, Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics (BEAM) expanded its rigorous math program offerings from New York to Los Angeles. Executive Director of LA Programs Jacob Castaneda reflects on BEAM 6 LA‘s first summer: “The unity among students was evident throughout the program. They supported one another in problem solving, combining their efforts to arrive at solutions.”


Social Media Spotlight:

Photo header: Over 60 nonprofit professionals attended the Foundation’s Regional Nonprofit Convening on September 12 for an information session on our Good Neighbor Grants and a capacity-building workshop on effective communications strategies.