Thurgood Marshall College Fund Redesign Network Boosts Graduation Rates

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Thurgood Marshall College Fund Redesign Network Boosts Graduation Rates  
At Low-Performing Schools
Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy has highest graduation rate in the district
WINSTON-SALEM, NC – February 16, 2009 – The Thurgood Marshall College
Fund (TMCF) Redesign Network announces the results of its college preparedness
pilot program. The TMCF Redesign Network was created through a grant from the
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to reform low-performing high schools in
economically distressed communities of the United States. The program’s mission
is to assess, identify, implement and improve best practices in school reform across
the country and to drive enhanced performance in disadvantaged school districts
that serve mostly minority students.  The Network established partnerships between historically black colleges
and universities (HBCUs) and high schools that serve at-risk students. Through a
competitive process, six benchmark high schools from economically distressed
areas across the country were selected to partner with five HBCUs. These colleges
and universities were charged with implementing redesign initiatives at the high
schools to better prepare students for college, thereby helping to close the
academic achievement gap.

Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy (WSPA) partnered with Winston-
Salem State University and achieved measurable success in the program.
Reported below are some of the statistical results achieved through the partnership:
 WSPA reached a 95 percent graduation rate for 2008, the highest graduation
rate in the entire Winston-Salem Forsyth County School District.
WSPA was one of only two schools in Forsyth County to make adequate
yearly progress (AYP) in math.
Sixth grade students showed an improvement in reading, achieving scores
that are comparable to that of other sixth graders in the school district.
Seventh and eighth grade students made improvements as evidenced by
standardized test scores.

Students at WSPA earned college credit at Winston-Salem University by
enrolling in the Freshman Seminar course.
 2008 graduating seniors earned more than $1.2 million in college
Thurgood Marshall College Fund Redesign Network Boosts Graduation Rates
at Low-Performing Schools - Page 2 of 2
Reform initiatives at WSPA also included personalized student instruction
through small classes, a rigorous curriculum and multiple work assessments.  
“Closing the achievement gap continues to be a priority for the Thurgood Marshall Fund,” says Dwayne Ashley, president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.  “For decades, HBCUs have been the largest producer of African-American public school educators in this country, training and preparing more than 58% of those who teach in public schools.  Thus, the formula is simple… we have to be leaders in working with the nation to turn our schools around so that we can help to ensure that our children have an equal chance to go to college and to become productive
contributors to society.”
"The outstanding graduation rate, achievement scores, and scholarships
obtained are positive indicators that the collaboration between Winston-Salem
Preparatory Academy and Winston-Salem State University is working extremely
well," said Chancellor Donald J. Reaves, Winston-Salem State University. "We
are proud of the fact that one of the bright spots in our local school system is one
that we have partnered with in providing a blueprint for success for other schools,"
says Dr. Don Martin, Superintendent, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

Schools participating in the program in several other states have also seen
marked academic improvements among high school students. Those partnerships

- Prairie View A&M University/Royal High School – Brookshire, TX
- Southern University/Capital Pre-College Academy for Girls/Boys – Baton Rouge, LA
- Texas Southern University/Texas Southern University Math & Science at Jones High School – Houston, TX
- Coppin State University/Coppin Academy High School – Baltimore, MD

The TMCF Reform Network plans to broaden its impact by expanding and replicating its reform work in the future.

About Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Inc.
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Inc., named for the late U.S. Supreme Court
Associate Justice, was established in 1987 and represents 47 public Historically
Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) located in 22 states with a population of
well over 235,000 students. It is the only national organization of its type that
provides merit-based scholarships and programmatic support to students attending
the nation’s public Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Over the last 21
years, Thurgood Marshall College Fund has awarded more than $91 million in
scholarships and programmatic and capacity support, enabling more than 7,500
students to attend public Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Thurgood
Marshall College Fund also provides internship programs and joins corporate and
foundation partners in providing leadership training and support to students
preparing for undergraduate and professional schools. Thurgood Marshall College
Fund is a 501(c) 3, tax-exempt organization.