The Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Meyer Memorial Trust in Portland have announced $25 million in grants to encourage Oregon school districts to form smaller high schools, the Associated Press reports.
The funds, which were awarded to Employers for Education Excellence (E3), will be used to help large high schools break up into smaller schools of no more than four hundred students in an effort to boost student achievement and graduation rates, particularly among low-income and minority students. In addition, the funds will support community initiatives to establish new, small high schools. E3, a nonprofit organization formed in 1996 to support learning and achievement in the state's public schools, will administer grants to individual school districts.
"We have concerns that Oregon is not helping all high-school-age students be successful in preparing for their next steps after high school," said Karen Phillips, director of E3's Small Schools Initiative.