Selective Public High Schools & Excellence Gaps

Cooke Scholars Think Big Work Hard Achieve signs

June 29, 2018–Here’s our weekly roundup of education news you may have missed. The Excellence Gap gets a major mention, and other coverage identifies successful strategies for supporting marginalized students at the nation’s colleges and universities.

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Elementary & Secondary Education:

  • “[S]ome in the education field are taking a fresh look at programs for advanced students,” writes Dana Goldstein in The New York Times. “They are concerned not just with the achievement gap, measured by average performance, but the ‘excellence gap’: they hope to get more students from diverse backgrounds to perform at elite levels.”
  • Four selective public high schools are working to close the Excellence Gap by launching or expanding programs that boost recruitment and support of high-achieving students with financial need. Read more about the 2018 recipients of the Cooke Foundation’s Selective Public High School Grants.


Higher Education:

  • Reporting on new research from the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, EdSurge asks: “So why don’t high-achieving community college students find their way to high-performing four-year schools?”
  • The Urban Institute speculates on the future of affirmative action in college admissions, considering whether family wealth and the “neighborhood gap” could be possible proxies.
  • On the Achieving the Dream blog, Cindy Lopez shares lessons from tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) about designing curriculum and physical spaces with equity in mind.


Cooke Foundation Highlights:

  • NBC Miami interviews Gabriela Rodríguez, a recent recipient of the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. Gabriela will attend the University of Miami this fall with plans to become an cardiothoracic surgeon.
  • Collin Lejano speaks to Rockingham Now about his passion for physics and the motivation that allowed him to persevere and become a Cooke College Scholar at UC Santa Barbara: “I want to be a physics major. That’s what I’m going into, and [my high school didn’t] offer clubs in STEM or AP STEM classes, and that’s kind of the problem, so I wasn’t going to sit around and wait.”
  • Cooke Scholar Dustin Nowaskie co-founded OutCare, a nonprofit that connects LGBTQ individuals to culturally competent healthcare providers. Dustin speaks to Indiana University about his motivation to create this resource while concurrently completing medical school.
  • In Education World, Steve Haberlin cites our “Equal Talents, Unequal Opportunities” research and calls for annual state report cards on gifted education.
  • Javier Martinez, a clarinetist and Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award recipient, performs on NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert Series.


Social Media Spotlight:

Well done Natalie, your Cooke Foundation family is proud of you! 🙌 #JKCF #CookeScholars Repost from @drawnbynatalie Did my final thesis presentation today; MFA is officially completed! 👍👩🏻‍🎓🙌 Now I’m off to start my next adventure at Nickelodeon later this summer. Thank you so much to all of my teachers, mentors, family, and friends for helping me reach the finish line. And of course, none of this would have been possible without @thejkcf . I never thought I’d be able to go to graduate school, but they made it possible. I am still (and always will be) blown away by their generosity, encouragement, and support. Their scholarship allowed me to pursue my dreams, I am beyond grateful. I promise I’ll continue to think big, work hard, and achieve. #cookescholar #jackkentcookefoundation #thinkbig #workhard #achieve #ucla

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