Excellence Gaps & Student Supports

Four Cooke Scholars stand in a circle engaged in conversation.

October 4, 2019 – Here’s what we’re reading this week about the issues affecting high-achieving students. Community college students and university administrators share what works. Also, new studies and strategies look at the excellence gap in K-12.

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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 to a four-year institution. Both programs provide up to $40,000 per year, as well as comprehensive educational advising and access to the thriving Cooke Scholar community.


Elementary & Secondary Education:

  • “The likelihood that state schools will label white or Asian students as gifted is eight times higher than for black students, and more than five times higher than for Hispanic students. The likelihood that a child who lives in poverty will be labeled gifted is even lower,” states EducationNC. “And when these students are shut out of programs aimed at developing their special talents, they often lose interest in school.”
  • A related article Vanderbilt News lists three approaches for schools and districts to consider in closing excellence gaps.
  • Education Week summarizes a new study that examines the association between poverty and the achievement gap.


Higher Education:

  • In Education Dive, Old Dominion University President John Broderick outlines five strategies for institutions to support their students’ social mobility.
  • “It may seem counterintuitive to hear that efforts to increase diversity include enrolling more students from the middle class, as opposed to those from families with the lowest incomes,” writes The Hechinger Report, however, “the proportion of students on college campuses from the lowest-income families is going up … while the share of students from the middle has fallen in the last two decades.”
  • A new report from Northern Virginia Community College and Ithaka S+R shares insights on support services collected from a survey of students at 37 community colleges.


Cooke Foundation Highlights:

  • Traveling Players Ensemble, a Good Neighbor Grant recipient, announces the final call for students in grades 4-12 to register for its fall acting classes in McLean, VA. Broadway World shares additional details.
  • Our research report “Equal Talents, Unequal Opportunities, Second Edition” is cited in Andy Smarick’s New York Daily News opinion piece.
  • Juliana Goodman, Cooke Scholar and Tulsa Artist Fellow, will share new work in OFFLINE, an evening of internet-inspired readings on Thursday, October 10 in Tulsa, OK. The event’s time and directions are available from Tulsa World.
  • Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award recipient John Marcel Williams brings his guitar to a special performance with the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra in Wheeling, WV. The Weirton Daily Times highlights this season-opener.


Social Media Spotlight:


Photo header: Four Cooke Scholars stand in a circle engaged in conversation at Scholars Weekend 2019.