George Lucas Educational Foundation
Professional Learning

Education Grants: Making College More Accessible to All Students

November 12, 2010

I am excited to announce a significant new development in the work of Envision Schools. With the aid of a grant from The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, we are launching the Center for College & Career Success at Envision Schools (3CS). 3CS will capture our expertise and best practices and bring the Envision Schools brand of college success to tens of thousands of young people in the Bay Area and beyond.

Nearly ten years of operation as a charter management organization running four innovative and successful urban public charter schools, we know we have a model that works: 93 percent of our graduates go to college and 95 percent of our 2008 graduates admitted to college have remained enrolled.

The creation of 3CS is the next step in realizing Envision Schools' core mission of transforming the lives of students -- especially those who will be the first in their families to go to college -- by preparing them for success in college and in life. Being true to this mission requires us to take our efforts beyond our four schools and bring the best practices of the Envision model to the larger educational community.

The investment from The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation in Envision Schools and 3CS is part of the Foundation's new "Deeper Learning" education strategy: a broad-based effort aimed at improving the quality of education by encouraging the use of strategies that enable students to truly integrate core academic knowledge.

The Foundation's grant making under this strategy is aimed at bringing the precepts of Deeper Learning to 15 percent of U.S. public schools by 2017 and improving the academic outcomes for 8 million or more students. "Deeper Learning, under variety of names, is an educational approach that already has a substantial track record and support around the country," says Barbara Chow, director of the Foundation's Education Program. "Our hope is that our grants to Envision Schools and other key organizations can act as catalysts to broader adoption of deeper learning and its continued evolution."

The Hewlett Foundation's grant will allow us to launch, pilot and test 3CS's activities and to work directly with Bay Area schools and school districts during the next two years. Hewlett's profound commitment to slowing the cycle of poverty through improving the quality of education and educational opportunities makes us proud to partner with them as we embark on this new course.

Using the Center for College and Career Success, we will scale our tools, processes, and best practices for ensuring college success from our schools to non-Envision schools.

Have you been part of expanding ideas from prototype to implementation? What did you learn from both your successes and challenges? We look forward to hearing your ideas.

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