Grants Address Excellence Gaps at the Nation’s Selective Public High Schools

Grants- TJHSST - Selective Public High Schools

With grants totaling $400,000, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation initiative aims to boost recruitment and support for students with financial need

Lansdowne, VA – The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation announced today the award of $400,000 in grants to selective public high schools. These grants will allow the high schools to launch or expand programs for high-achieving students with financial need, in order to provide access to information and adequate preparation for success at these rigorous institutions. First awarded in 2015, the Selective High School Grant Program has benefitted nearly 1,200 students in grades 6-12.

Selective public high schools provide a unique learning environment through increased exposure to rigorous content, deep engagement, and academically-oriented peer support that leads to strong preparation for top colleges and universities. But high-achieving youth with financial need are historically underrepresented in the nation’s most elite public schools and programs, resulting in an Excellence Gap.

“Our selected grantees are pioneering strategies and practices that can serve as a model to schools nationwide working to expand opportunities to succeed at selective public high schools to more high-achieving students,” said Seppy Basili, executive director of the Cooke Foundation. “We are committed to supporting the critical work they are leading in, ensuring that financial need does not preclude exceptional students from fulfilling their full potential.”

This year’s grants recognize four public schools that have made dedicated efforts to close Excellence Gaps by identifying promising students early in their academic careers and providing them with the support and guidance they need to access – and capitalize on – advanced educational opportunities.

The 2018 grant recipients include:

  • Loudoun County Public Schools, Academies of Loudoun Edge3-Level Up, Leesburg, VA ($100,000): Edge3-Level Up is a new afterschool and summer enrichment programs that will provide increased exposure to STEM curriculum for high-achieving 6th and 7th graders with financial need, in order to prepare them for success in advanced high school math and science courses.
  • Academic Magnet High School, Advancing Charleston Excellence (ACE), Charleston, SC ($100,000): ACE aims to increase the number of with financial need who attend Academic Magnet High School (AMHS) through inquiry-based seminars, exposure to near-peer mentors at AMHS, parental engagement, a summer institute, and a range of both academic and socio-emotional supports.
  • Carver High School for Engineering and Science, Middle School Scholars Program, Philadelphia, PA ($100,000): The Middle School Scholars Program centers on a partnership between Carver High School for Engineering and Science and Temple University. The program includes a residential summer experience and weekly Saturday programming with a rigorous math and science curriculum in order to prepare high-achieving middle school students with financial need for success at Carver and other local selective admission high schools.
  • The Ingenuity Project at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, Baltimore, MD ($100,000): The Ingenuity Project aims to increase the number of Baltimore City students with financial need who are prepared to enroll and succeed in Ingenuity Project’s rigorous curriculum, and continue their academic career at top colleges and universities. The foundation’s grant will support the program’s expansion to two additional middle schools and the development of a new innovative research-internship pathway.

“Our goal is to ensure all students, regardless of background, have access to programs such as those in the Academies of Loudoun,” says Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Eric Williams. “We are enthusiastic about developing the Edge3-Level Up program to support high-achieving 6th and 7th grade students with financial need as they consider enrolling in the Academies. We are grateful to the Cooke Foundation for their support as we build this program.”

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The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the Foundation has awarded $175 million in scholarships to more than 2,300 students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive counseling and other support services. The Foundation has also provided over $97 million in grants to organizations that serve such students.

Media Contact: Amber Styles, 571-799-8063,