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Gender Healthy Respectful Schools

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Press Release

9/20/00

Foundation Awards Over A Quarter of a Million Dollars to Gender Equity Projects in Boston/Cambridge Schools

In the second year of its "Gender Equity Mini-Grants Program," the Caroline and Sigmund Schott Foundation has awarded over $250,000 in grants to 23 teams of teachers in Boston and Cambridge public schools. Said foundation president, Greg Jobin-Leeds, "Extensive research has shown that gender bias, discrimination, and sexism persist in schools and harm girls and boys. The Schott Foundation is using its resources to support the development of gender healthy public schools."

The Foundation will launch this year's activities with a Gender Equity Institute, September 22-23 at Northeastern University featuring Dolores Grayson, Executive Director of Graymill Consulting. Dr. Grayson is the creator of the nationally recognized GESA (Generating Expectations for Student Achievement) Program. Her keynote speech, "Equity: The Key to Excellence," on September 22 at 6:15 p.m. will be open to the press.

The 2000-2001 projects address frequently discussed gender equity issues like sexual harassment; increasing girls' participation in math, science, and technology; and nontraditional career education (list attached). And they also include issues that are just beginning to emerge nationally such as gender issues in bilingual education, media, the arts, and cultural differences. The grants include support for: professional development for teachers, counselors, and administrators; strengthening and expanding the network of activists and advocates for gender equity; and raising awareness of gender inequities among district administrators, principals, policy makers, parents, and the public.

"These projects are working to ensure that Boston/Cambridge public schools move closer to gender equity," said Schott Foundation project manager, Shirley Mark. "It seems impossible that at the beginning of the 21st century students' educational opportunities are still limited by gender. We need to develop leaders in the public school system to advocate for gender equity," she said.

A unique aspect of this program is that the Foundation has also awarded funds to the Gender and Diversities Institute at Education Development Center, Inc. to provide training to the teacher-teams in implementing and evaluating their projects. "Generally foundations give money without recognizing that grant recipients may need other kinds of support. The Schott Foundation's innovative program could become a model for other gender equity efforts around the country," said Susan J. Smith, technical assistance project director. The evaluation or 'reflective action research' component is critical to ensuring that the valuable lessons learned about gender equity can be shared with others," said Maria-Paz B. Avery, project director for the evaluation component.

The Gender and Diversities Institute, located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts, is a global institute that brings together scholars, practitioners, parents, students, businesses, and community representatives committed to understanding the relationship between education and gender, inclusive of race, ethnicity, language, ableness, and sexual orientation. Established in 1999 and housed in EDC's Center for Education, Employment and Community, the Institute brings over 20 years of expertise gained from the technical assistance work of the federally-funded Women's Educational Equity Act (WEEA) Resource Center.

The Caroline and Sigmund Schott Foundation, a family foundation with its headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts has an office in New York.

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