New England Secondary School Consortium Receives $1 Million From Gates, Nellie Mae Education Foundations

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation has announced that it has committed $1 million, including a $500,000 partnership grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to provide initial support for the New England Secondary School Consortium.

Coordinated by the Great Schools Partnership at the Mitchell Institute, the consortium will work to ensure that by 2016 every public high school student in Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont receives an education that prepares him or her for college, career, and civic responsibility. Bringing together departments of education, school districts, and independent school-support organizations from across the region, the consortium will support the development of high-performing, internationally competitive schools and will undertake an examination of state learning standards, teaching strategies, assessment practices, professional-development programs, and student outcomes in relation to high performing educational systems around the world.

During the initial phase of the effort, participating states will conduct a comprehensive review of the regulations governing education. The resulting policy map will inform the development of new state and local policies that the consortium hopes will stimulate educational innovation, encourage the implementation of new models of teaching and learning, promote personalized support for each student, and clarify performance expectations for both educators and students.

"This is a tremendous opportunity to ensure that learners across New England acquire the skills and knowledge necessary today to be economically self-sufficient, lifelong learners," said Nellie Mae Education Foundation president and CEO Nicholas C. Donohue. "What sets the consortium apart from other reform efforts is that we're focused on the next generation of educational standards, assessments, and other policies defining schooling."