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Article published May 21, 2003
Libbey lassoes $776,475 award for ‘new’ schools


With a "YEEEEEEEEEHAW" from board of education member Larry Sykes, Libbey High School officials announced yesterday that the south-end school with the "cowboy" mascot has received a $776,475 grant to create more personalized instruction and learning for teachers and students.

The three-year award from the KnowledgeWorks Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will help create smaller, more personalized "schools" within the existing building, said Kathy Stone, the Toledo Federation of Teacher union building representative who helped organize the application.

"It’s going to be a lot of work for everyone," she said. "It’s going to be a big change."

Superintendent Eugene Sanders called the announcement of the award the most exciting day in his three-year tenure with the district.

"This is further evidence that we’re moving in the right direction," he said.

This fall, the grant will pay for teachers to begin professional development activities that will lead to the creation of four schools within Libbey by Fall, 2004.

Each school will have a different focus: humanities and the arts, business and marketing, math and science/trade technology, and consumer and health technology.

Some teachers will work in more than one school and students can take classes offered in different parts, but most faculty and students will be placed in one school.

Other parts of the program include establishing school leadership teams to set policies, budgets, and do planning, forming student support teams to focus on counseling, health and other issues, curriculum teams to align curriculum and evaluate initiatives, and increasing community involvement.

"The initiative is grounded in the belief that learning is grounded in relationships, making connections between people," said Debbie Howard, senior program officer for school improvement at the Cincinnati-based foundation.

Other Toledo high schools could be next on the KnowledgeWorks recipient list. Ms. Howard said Bowsher, Rogers, Scott, and Woodward are working on applications.

"Hopefully, we’ll be able to come back to TPS and award additional grants," she said.

Libbey’s grant is one of eight awarded in six Ohio urban districts this week. The others went to: Brookhaven High School in Columbus, Cleveland Heights High School in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District, East High School in Cleveland, Shaw High School in East Cleveland, and Chaney, Rayen, and Wilson high schools in Youngstown.