Education program gets $110,000

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A program at Marquette that helps new K-12 schools become certified received a $110,000 grant from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Milwaukee-based organization announced last week.

The grant, given to the Institute for the Transformation of Learning's Accreditation Support Center, will be used to help schools seeking accreditation from the institute's Accreditation Board, according to Marquette education professor Howard Fuller, director of the institute.,”A program at Marquette that helps new K-12 schools become certified received a $110,000 grant from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Milwaukee-based organization announced last week.

The grant, given to the Institute for the Transformation of Learning's Accreditation Support Center, will be used to help schools seeking accreditation from the institute's Accreditation Board, according to Marquette education professor Howard Fuller, director of the institute.

According to its Web site, the Institute for the Transformation of Learning, founded by Fuller in 1995, works to provide educational options for low-income children.

In spring 2006, the institute was authorized by the Wisconsin State Legislature as a school accreditation agency. The institute subsequently created a 12-person accreditation board as well as the separate Accreditation Support Center.

The Accreditation Support Center helps schools strengthen their curriculum and improve organization and instruction practices, Fuller said.

Bob Pavlik, the assistant director of the institute, said the center sets the institute apart from other state agencies.

"Of the seven accreditation agencies in Wisconsin, we're the only one who actively provides support to the schools during the accreditation process," Pavlik said.

After an audit to access each candidate school's situation, the Accreditation Support Center provides coaches to help schools on the path toward accreditation. The center employs 10 part-time coaches who provide each candidate school with 10 hours of assistance per week. The money from the grant will go toward the coaching program.

Pavlik said the coaches are valuable assets to the center.

"I can't say enough good things about our coaches," Pavlik said. "They come from many different areas of expertise and are very talented people."

After up to three years of assistance, the candidate schools go before the Accreditation Board. Currently, 19 schools are being assisted by the center. Seventeen of these schools will be up for accreditation in 2009.

The Bradley Foundation is an independent grant making organization supporting research, educational projects and other programs, according to the foundation's Web site.

This is the second grant given to the center from the Bradley Foundation. According to Jan Riordan, director of community programs for the Bradley Foundation, the foundation provided $100,000 gift to the Accreditation Support Center last year. Riordan said the foundation has supported other Fuller projects in the past.

"The Bradley Foundation recognizes the importance of a well-educated society," Riordan said. "Dr. Fuller has done amazing work in providing educational opportunity in Milwaukee."

The grant given to the center was one of 27 grants given by the Bradley Foundation to non-profits this quarter, totaling $1.2 million. Other grants include $200,000 to the Milwaukee Public Museum and $100,000 to the Latino Community Center.