JKCF Convenes First-of-Its-Kind Summit to Close the Excellence Gap

LANSDOWNE, VA – The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, which offers the largest scholarships in the country to exceptionally promising students who have financial need, is convening a two-day summit of national school leaders and experts in order to strategize about how schools and others can bridge the “achievement” or “excellence gap”—i.e., the troubling disparity in academic performance between lower income and higher income students.

Between February 5-6, 2015, more than 100 principals of selective high schools, leaders of organizations such as the National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools, researchers focused on this population of students, other scholarship providers, education advocates, and representatives from the U.S. Department of Education will gather at the Lansdowne Resort in Virginia for “Closing the Excellence Gap: Advocating for High-Achieving, Low-Income Students.” These participants will review cutting-edge research on and identify best practices for high-achieving, low-income students.

“This is the first-ever convening of its kind,” said Executive Director Harold O. Levy. “The Cooke Foundation is taking an important step to change the national conversation about the excellence gap and make a tangible difference for talented but low-income students across the country.”

With this gathering the Cooke Foundation not only seeks to strengthen existing collaborations but also to support the establishment of a new advocacy organization of selective high schools. The Cooke Foundation will also announce a $500,000 grant competition for selective public high schools to increase the pipeline of students attending their schools.

The event will be livestreamed. The agenda and livestream feed can be found at http://info.jkcf.org/closingthegap2015.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. By offering the largest scholarships in the country, in-depth academic counseling and other direct services, the Foundation seeks to help high-performing, low-income students to develop their talents and excel educationally. In addition to providing students both counseling and financial support from middle school to graduate school, the Foundation provides grants for noteworthy and innovative initiatives that support high-performing, low-income students. Founded in 2000, the Foundation has awarded over $130 million in scholarships to almost 1,900 students and over $80 million in grants. www.jkcf.org