The Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the New York City-based Open Society Institute have contributed $10 million each to create small high schools in New York City, the New York Times reports. New Visions for Public Schools, a nonprofit education reform organization dedicated to improving the quality of education received by New York City school children, will oversee the program and has already announced the first twenty-four schools that will benefit from the initiative.
Most of the new schools will be located in the South Bronx, where many of the city's large, low-performing high schools are concentrated. Each of the new schools will enroll a maximum of 400 students in an intimate learning atmosphere and will feature a curriculum focused on a particular theme, such as teaching musical instruments, putting on theater productions, or encouraging participation in civic affairs. In addition, the new high schools will work closely with external organizations such as New York City Outward Bound and the Roundabout Theater to develop curricula, as well as other aspects of their operation.
"We want to personalize the learning environment," said New Visions president Robert L. Hughes. "We want to create personalized relations and give each student special attention. Small private schools are our models."