$18 Million Grant to Boost Middle Schools

March 25, 2008

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Today, a New York-based foundation will award $18 million to five Chicago public schools. The grant is to help middle school students.

Integrated Services in Schools is the new initiative that pairs schools with local community groups. Through this four-year grant, schools will get amenities that the district can't afford on its own, such as after-school mentoring and health clinics. Gara LaMarche is CEO of Atlantic Philanthropies.

LAMARCHE: Well, every bit of evidence we have suggests that kids do better in schools where the communities feel a degree of ownership and participation. So that you don't want an isolation of the school community you want the community and school to work very closely together.

Chicago Public Schools officials say middle school years are a critical time for students. This program is looked upon as drop-out prevention. Local Initiatives Support Corporation, or LISC, will manage the initiative. Schools will also be linked up with nearby health centers.

From Logan Square to Auburn Gresham, the selected schools are Ames, Marquette, Orozco, Perspectives and Reavis.