Loyola University Chicago

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NCCEP Awards $50,000 in SBC Foundation Grant Funds to Loyola University Chicago Gear Up Program

CHICAGO, March 21, 2005 The National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP) has selected Loyola University Chicago to receive $50,000 in education funding from the SBC Foundation to promote college readiness for underrepresented students. The SBC Foundation grant will support Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), a federal program that helps youth from underrepresented communities attain a postsecondary education.

Loyola is using GEAR UP funds to expand production of COUNTDOWN, an educational television show that provides direct instruction on a wide range of mathematical concepts, to include viewing clubs at four Chicago elementary schools. The viewing clubs increase the availability of the program to those without access to cable television and allow instructors to lead students in meaningful math instruction supported by related language arts and technology activities.

“SBC’s support of education is built on the belief that every child should have opportunities to succeed,” said Representative Ken Dunkin (D-5th). “Many of the fastest-growing jobs this decade will require education beyond high school. In supporting GEAR UP, SBC has chosen to fund proven effective programs that will provide low-income students with the tools they need to prepare them for lifelong success.”

Through April, COUNTDOWN viewing clubs, consisting of participating GEAR UP teachers and families, will meet at selected elementary schools to view live broadcasts of the television show and take part in the provided lessons. The viewing clubs allow students to develop their academic and technology skills and encourage parents to get involved in their children’s education.

“Countdown readily uses the available technology of television and the telephone to bring valuable math instruction right into the living rooms of Chicago families. Our website, countdown.luc.edu extends the impact of our instruction by giving free access to quality mathematics 24/7,” said Diane Schiller, PH.D., professor of curriculum, instruction and educational psychology at Loyola. “Now, with the viewing clubs, more students and their families have access to the program.”

Selected through a competitive grants program managed by NCCEP, the SBC Foundation grants will fund 79 collaborative partnerships across the SBC 13-state service area. Sixty existing GEAR UP partnerships will use the funds to support a variety of community-focused education initiatives, including: after-school programs to help students in math, science, reading and technology; training and assistance for teachers in the use of technology in the classroom; and technology usage to enhance measurements of student achievement and program impact. Funds from the SBC Foundation grant also will seed the establishment of 19 new K-16 education partnerships based on the GEAR UP model.

According to a Department of Education study, high academic achievers from low-income families are only one-fifth as likely to enroll in college as similar students from high-income families. GEAR UP seeks to address this disparity through innovative partnerships. GEAR UP, enacted as a result of Congress’ passage of the Higher Education Amendment of 1998, encourages students in grades 6-12 to stay in school and apply for college. The program currently serves 1.2 million students nationwide and more than 2,000 organizations currently participate in GEAR UP partnerships.

“SBC’s support of education is built on the belief that every child should have the opportunity to succeed,” said SBC Illinois President, Carrie Hightman. “In supporting programs such as COUNTDOWN, we fund proven effective programs that will provide underrepresented students with the tools they need to prepare them for lifelong success.”

The $4.5 million in regional GEAR UP grants is part of a $5 million SBC Foundation grant to NCCEP announced in February 2004. GEAR UP projects funded through the grant program were awarded throughout SBC’s 13-state operating area, which includes Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin. A full list of local GEAR UP partnerships receiving grants is available at www.edpartnerships.org.

Education is a primary funding area for the SBC Foundation. Since 1984, SBC Communications and the SBC Foundation have contributed more than $1 billion to nonprofit organizations and affiliates across the country.

About The National Council for Community and Education Partnerships

The National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP) serves as the national technical assistance provider, annual conference convener and voice in Washington, D.C., for the GEAR UP program. NCCEP, a non-profit organization committed to creating and sustaining K-16 education partnerships, works to increase academic achievement and access to higher education for economically disadvantaged students. By building broad-based partnerships, linking schools and communities, developing new initiatives, supporting proven programs, and using research findings to create successful frameworks for action, NCCEP aims to invigorate the principle of equal educational opportunity for all, and to help improve K-16 education in the United States. One of the primary objectives of NCCEP is to promote academic achievement and encourage education reform in schools, colleges and universities.

About The SBC Foundation

The SBC Foundation is the charitable giving arm of SBC Communications Inc. The SBC Foundation supports efforts that enrich and strengthen diverse communities nationwide, particularly those with an emphasis on education and technology and those that benefit underserved populations. SBC Foundation-backed programs are designed to increase access to information technologies, broaden technology training and professional skills development, and effectively integrate new technologies to enhance education and economic development. The Chronicle of Philanthropy and The Foundation Center have consistently ranked the SBC Foundation among the nation’s top five corporate foundations. In 2002, the SBC Foundation launched SBC Excelerator, a multimillion dollar competitive grants program that funds nonprofit organizations in their efforts to digitally connect communities.

About Loyola University Chicago

Committed to preparing people to lead extraordinary lives, Loyola University Chicago was founded in 1870 and is among the largest of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. Loyola has a total enrollment of more than 15,000 students, which includes 10,000 undergraduates hailing from all 50 states and 82 foreign countries. The University has four campuses: three in the greater Chicago area and one in Rome, Italy. Loyola also serves as the U.S. host university to the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies in Beijing, China. Loyola’s nine schools and colleges include arts and sciences, business administration, education, graduate studies, law, medicine, nursing, professional studies, and social work. Loyola offers 69 undergraduate majors, 77 master’s degrees, 36 doctoral degrees, and three professional degree programs. Recognizing Loyola’s excellence in education, U.S. News and World Report has ranked Loyola consistently among the “top national universities” in its annual publications. For more information, please visit our web site at www.luc.edu.

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