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Skillman Foundation Funds MSU for Good Schools Resource Center

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A nearly $2 million grant from the Skillman Foundation is helping MSU’s College of Education to increase the number of high-performing schools in Michigan’s largest city. Dozens of Detroit schools striving to improve student achievement now have direct support from Michigan State University’s distinguished pool of education researchers. The Detroit-based Skillman Foundation selected the MSU College of Education to re-establish and operate its Good Schools Resource Center, starting January 1, 2009.
 
“This is a significant opportunity to build and support the capacity existing in more than 100 schools,” said Barbara Markle, assistant dean for K-12 outreach and executive director of the new resource center. “Our college is focused on helping principals and their teams improve teaching and learning across Michigan, and we pay special attention to the challenges of urban schools.”
 
As part of MSU’s new partnership with the Skillman Foundation, more than 15 MSU faculty and staff members plan to conduct seminars and workshops, visit schools, analyze data, maintain a web site of resources and offer specialized guidance to educators who request assistance.
 
“This is an excellent opportunity to build on our enduring commitment to quality education for children in Detroit,” said Sonya Gunnings-Moton, College of Education assistant dean for student support services and recruitment. “The Skillman Foundation has set the stage for MSU and Detroit educators to share and apply promising practices in support of students who truly deserve our best efforts.”
 
The MSU College of Education is one of the leading institutions for pursuing a career in education and is nationally and internationally known for its research on teaching and learning. The college’s graduate school programs in both elementary and secondary education have been ranked as the best in the nation for 14 years running in the U.S. News and World Report annual survey. The college has a total of seven programs currently ranked in the top 10.
 
The Skillman Foundation’s Good Schools: Making the Grade initiative provides direct grants to public, private, religious or charter schools located in the city of Detroit. The resource center provides tailored guidance and training to teachers, administrators and parents as they work toward meeting goals outlined by each grant.
 
“Research is so crucial to the process,” said Skillman Program Officer Detangle Alexander, noting that too many elementary, middle and especially high schools are not meeting standards or improving. “We need the brain trust at MSU to help us change the playing field in Detroit.”
The Good Schools Resource Center currently ishoused at YouthVille Detroit, a youth development facility where the College of Education also works with Detroit teens interested in becoming teachers.
 
Created in 1960, the Skillman Foundation is a private philanthropy whose chief aim is to help develop good schools and good neighborhoods for children. Though grants are made throughout metropolitan Detroit, most grants are directed at six Detroit neighborhoods – Brightmoor, Cody/Rouge, the Northend, Osborn, and Southwest Detroit (Vernor neighborhood and Chadsey/Condon neighborhood) – and toward innovative and successful schools throughout the city of Detroit.
 
For more information about making a gift to the College of Education, contact Senior Director of Development Michelle Mertz-Stoneham at (517) 432-1983.