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November 15, 2016
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JP O'Hare

(518) 474-1201



Board of Regents Approves $425,000 in Grants for Education Department Priorities

Grants to Support the State’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative and Professional
Development for Educators

The New York State Board of Regents today voted to approve $425,000 in grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation to support New York’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative and to improve the delivery of professional development for educators in New York State.

“Philanthropic dollars are most effective when they support and supplement the great work already happening at the Department—these two grants do exactly that,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “This money will allow us to take our My Brother’s Keeper work a step further by identifying best practices at schools that are already achieving positive outcomes with boys and young men of color. In addition, the grants will help us to continue to lay the groundwork for an improved professional learning structure that will give every educator in New York access to high-quality professional development, regardless of location and local capacity.”

“This grant money will be used to the direct benefit of New York’s students and teachers,” State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. “The My Brother’s Keeper grant will help our struggling schools by giving them practical guidance on how to better educate boys and young men of color. The professional learning grant will help us to collaborate with existing professional development providers and other stakeholders to develop a structure that will afford every educator the opportunity to engage in high-quality and relevant professional learning.”   

My Brother’s Keeper

This one-year grant for $225,000 will be used to identify schools in New York State that are already achieving strong outcomes with boys and young men of color based on a variety of factors. Once identified, the practices and strategies being used by these schools will be listed in a resource guide, which will be distributed to schools that are struggling to educate boys and young men of color. As a next step, a number of struggling schools will be paired with schools already having success with boys and young men of color. These schools, which will be geographically and demographically similar, will participate in a knowledge sharing partnership that is intended to lead to improved outcomes for boys and young men of color who attend the struggling schools.

Professional Development

The six-month grant for $200,000 will allow the Department to continue to engage with stakeholders, professional development providers, BOCES, S/CDN and other groups to create a new professional statewide learning structure. New York’s current professional development landscape is uneven: while educators in some parts of the State know exactly where to find high quality professional learning offerings, their colleagues in other areas do not have the same caliber of professional learning opportunities at their disposal. The new structure, which is being created in partnership with critical stakeholders, seeks to level the playing field and give more teachers and school leaders access to high-quality professional development. In this way, more students will benefit from being in classrooms and schools with better prepared and supported educators.

The Foundation awarded the grants to the University of the State of New York (USNY) Regents Research Fund (the Fund), a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation that engages in educational, cultural, and historical research and other related scholarships and projects for the State Education Department. The Fund has long provided the Department with supplemental expertise and capacity. The Board of Regents is the governing board of USNY, and the Commissioner of Education is the President of USNY.