HSPVA Principal Attends “Closing the Excellence Gap” Summit

Last month, HSPVA principal R. Scott Allen was among those chosen to attend the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s first annual “Closing the Excellence Gap” education summit. At the summit, more than 100 high school principals met with education researchers, Department of Education officials, and other experts and interested parties. The goal of the summit was to foster collaboration between these individuals and groups in their efforts to close the “excellence gap” or “achievement gap” – the phenomenon in which high-income students are disproportionately well-represented among the top of the class, while low-income students are disproportionately under-represented.

The Cooke Foundation is an organization dedicated to helping low-income, underserved students realize their educational potential. In addition to outreach efforts like the summit, the foundation provides scholarships for individual students and grants for organizations that take initiative on this issue. At the summit, the foundation announced a competition for a new $500,000 grant for selective public high schools.

HISD magnet schools like HSPVA could be excellent candidates for such a grant. HISD has twice been honored with the Broad Prize for Urban Education, which rewards districts for academic excellence and successful efforts toward closing the excellence gap. District initiatives addressing the excellence gap include the Apollo 20 program, which targets 20 of HISD’s lowest-performing schools, and the EMERGE program, which focuses on individual students.

You can read more about Allen’s attendance of the summit at the HISD News Blog.

One Comment

  1. It is gratifying to see that so many education professionals as well as other interested individuals are concerned about closing the achievement gap. However, as many readers may be aware, closing the gap between smart poor kids and average rich kids is simple compared to the real challenge of closing the achievement gap between different ethnic groups.

    My gut-feeling is that any efforts to close the gap will not be self-sustaining for all ethnic groups. This is because it is unlikely that the Summit will identify the major contributors to the achievement gap between such groups as blacks and whites.

    O.K, so what are the major contributors?
    Answer: Contributors fall into two general categories – environmental and non-environmental. Huge sums of money have been spent “correcting” the environmental contributors to the black-white achievement gap with little appreciable improvement. We are now at the point where it is time to address the non-environmental contributors.

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