The Education Innovator #4
Volume II
Archived Information

The Education Innovator
 February 2, 2004 • Number 4
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What's inside...
Low Income Investment Fund
What's New
Magnet Schools Assistance Program grant competition now open; Secretary Paige announces new "School Information Website"; Secretary Paige addresses policy analysts on D.C. Choice Incentive Program; OII administers new grant programs for D.C. choice, economics education, and state charter school facilities; National Endowment for the Humanities offers "Landmarks of American History Workshops for School Teachers"; Johns Hopkins University to hold conference on "Summer Learning for All," March 18-19.
Innovations in the News
Oakland, California becomes a charter school hot-spot; plus information on school leadership, school choice, and technology in education.

Low Income Investment Fund Creates Financial Pathways for Charter Schools
While the number of charter schools has grown rapidly-to close to 3,000 over the past decade-that growth has hit a plateau recently, in large part because of a chronic shortage of financing for charter school facilities. To jump-start the movement, charter schools need access to capital funds and financing know-how. That's where community development banks come in.

The Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) is one such community development financial institution (CDFI). It fosters healthy communities by providing a bridge between private capital markets and low-income neighborhoods. By investing capital and providing technical assistance to community development organizations, LIIF spurs economic advancement.

LIIF is a steward for capital invested in housing, childcare, education, and other community-building initiatives. Through a family of funds-the Affordable Buildings for Children's Development (ABCD) Fund, the Child Care Facilities Fund (CCFF), Making Space for Children, the New York Child Care Seed Fund, and the Revolving Loan Fund (RLF)-LIIF encourages a comprehensive approach to the challenges that face low-income communities.

One of the projects LIIF has financed is a charter academy in the MacArthur Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, a neighborhood populated primarily by immigrants from Mexico and Central America. Pueblo Nuevo Development, a grassroots community development organization, took the lead in creating and developing the academy, which enrolls over 1,200 students at four sites. LIIF has provided support for two of the academy's elementary and middle charter school sites. LIIF's support for Pueblo Nuevo Development began three years ago when LIIF provided a $500,000 loan to develop an elementary school. LIIF's loan helped finance the renovation of a 10,045 square foot facility to accommodate 260 students in grades K-6. As the academy grew, it again turned to LIIF for financing assistance. LIIF responded by lending another $1.5 million in October 2002 to add space for 78 students to one of the academy's middle charter school sites.

As schools seek to become anchors of their communities, relationships, such as this one, can be models for the connection between charter schools and community-based development. The Low Income Investment Fund received a $3 million grant in 2002 from the Office of Innovation and Improvement's Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities grant program. This grant facilitated a loan from LIIF to support one of the middle school sites.

For additional information, please view

Note: The featured innovation is a description of one example of an institution that funds charter schools. The information provided should not be regarded as an endorsement.


What's New
Funding Opportunity
The Magnet Schools Assistance Grant Program competition opened February 2, and the deadline is March 15. (Feb. 2)

School Information Partnership Website
Education Secretary Rod Paige announced that data for six pilot states-Delaware, Florida, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington-share now available at the new website, the consumer's clearinghouse for American education. It enables parents to gain greater knowledge and more awareness of the range of education choices for their children. This website is supported by a grant from OII, with additional funding from the Broad Foundation, and uses the expertise of Standard and Poor's School Evaluation Services and the National Center for Educational Accountability. (Jan. 29)

Remarks of Secretary Paige at the Heritage Foundation
Secretary Paige told an audience at the Heritage Foundation that the newly authorized D.C. Choice Incentive Program will help extend civil rights and social justice and enhance school effectiveness. Please read, A Time for Choice Speech. (Jan. 28)

OII New Grant Program
The Department of Education's recently signed 2004 spending bill created, or funded for the first time, three new grant programs:D.C. Choice Incentive, Excellence in Economics Education, and State Charter School Facilities Incentive. (Jan. 22)

National Endowment for the Humanities
The National Endowment for the Humanities will offer "Landmarks of American History Workshops for School Teachers" this summer. The workshops are week-long residential programs at major historical sites around the nation and are offered to K-12 teachers. The deadline to apply is March 15. (Jan. 28) .

Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University
The Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University will sponsor a national conference on "Summer Learning for All: Programs, Policy, and Research," March 18-19, in Baltimore, MD. Participants will include summer program providers, researchers, teachers, and policymakers. Registration has been extended to February 18. (Jan. 28)


Innovations in the News

School Leadership
Arizona State University West is graduating its first class of charter school leaders and is exploring creation of a center for school choice. The school is accepting applications for its next round of students, thanks to a $2.9 million grant from OII. The application deadline is February 5. [More-The Business Journal of Phoenix] (Dec. 29)

Charter Schools
Arthur Academy, a phonics-focused charter school that opened in the David Douglas School District (OR) in September 2002, recently received school board approval to expand into the Reynolds and Woodburn districts this fall. The goal is to establish an "at-large" school district. [More-The Oregonian] (Jan. 16)

As the first semester at the new San Carlos Charter High School in California comes to an end, school officials say interest in its alternative curriculum is rising. [More-The San Mateo County Times] (Jan. 14)

Charter schools in Oakland, CA have attracted students out of the traditional public school system. There are close to 30 charter schools already, and more are in the process of being started. [More-The Oakland Tribune] (Dec. 29)

All twelve of Utah's charter schools old enough to be subject to adequate yearly progress (AYP) requirements this year met their goals for student participation and achievement on state tests in language arts and math. [More-The Salt Lake Tribune] (Dec. 29)

School Choice
Starting next fall, parents in the Rochester, NY school district can pick which elementary school their child goes to. It's part of a new managed school choice plan that is designed to help "level the playing field" for all kids. [More-WROC-TV] (Jan. 20)

An OII Voluntary Public School Choice grantee, the Arkansas Virtual School (ARVS) is a public virtual school program sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Education. The ARVS currently serves students K-5 and will offer K-8 for the 2004-2005 school year. [More-The Cabot Star Herald] (Jan. 2)

The Houston Independent School District established the HISD Virtual School in 2000, when HISD personnel began writing an online curriculum for students in the sixth through eighth grades. Now, the HISD Virtual School program is becoming a model for other school districts throughout the country, including Milwaukee Public Schools. [More-The Houston Business Journal] (Dec. 31)

Technology in Education
Now Ruth McMullen can find out about her son's day at school on the Internet. With a click, she can obtain daily progress reports-grades, attendance, disciplinary problems-and even whether Michael, a sophomore at Paul VI High School in Haddon (NJ) Township, visited the school nurse. [More-The Philadelphia Inquirer] (Dec. 29)

Instead of relying on parent-teacher associations and school board meetings to tell school districts about the job they're doing, school districts are using a more scientific means these days: surveys. [More-The Detroit News] (Dec. 26)

Reminder: Grant Application Deadlines

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Last Modified: 06/28/2011