In winding down, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge is shifting gears a bit to sustain and strengthen reform efforts at schools that have shown special promise.

On Feb. 4, the challenge announced a “Breakthrough School Initiative” to give $113,000 to each of 18 schools that have been part of Annenberg-funded networks. These schools are “making greater progress toward whole-school change than others,” the Challenge explained. Each school is to use some of its money to share its knowledge and expertise with other schools in its network and beyond.

The schools and their plans for the money are:

Best Practice High School, increase time for teachers to meet to develop curriculum ; hire consultants in assessment.

Irving Park Middle School, expand the parent-mentoring program and increase professional development opportunities for staff.

Taylor Middle School, develop a model for team building among parents, teachers and students; hire consultants to develop an interdisciplinary curriculum and alternative assessment model.

Bateman Elementary School, train parents to help teach reading; develop a peer teacher observation process.

Galileo Elementary School, enhance reading and writing programs by training additional teachers in Great Books facilitation, Accelerated Readers and Illinois Writing Project programs; recruit more parent tutors.

James Ward Elementary School, hire consultants to conduct writing workshops for teachers.

Locke Elementary School, improve reading throughout school and at home with parent training, workshops and materials.

Nobel Elementary School, train more teachers in arts integration.

Irving Elementary School, enhance the social support students need to succeed and train more teachers to use technology to promote literacy.

Dixon Elementary School, create an interdisciplinary curriculum that integrates technology and the arts.

Chase Elementary School, train teachers in project-based learning and creating a nurturing learning environment; offer a retreat for all faculty members to develop interdisciplinary teams for curriculum writing.

Haines Elementary School, launch a cultural diversity project to meet the needs of students and parents and provide professional development opportunities for teachers of reading and writing.

Audubon Elementary School, support teacher collaboration and planning for an arts-integrated curriculum; nurture teacher leadership.

Darwin Elementary School, expand parent mentoring program and develop teacher collaboration around “authentic intellectual work.”

Carson Elementary School, implement monthly literacy seminars for all staff.

McCosh Elementary School, develop a technology-based math and science curriculum for the middle grades.

Sawyer and Holmes elementary schools, work together to create a professional development lab aimed at mentoring teachers in literacy and developing “master” teachers through a residency program.

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