Cooke Foundation and CLASS host second annual Excellence Gap summit

Washington, D.C. - The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and the CLASS Coalition, an association of principals from top-performing STEM and magnet high schools, are holding the second annual “Closing the Excellence Gap” summit February 24-26, 2016.

This year’s Summit will bring more than 100 principals and school leaders from top STEM and magnet high schools to the nation’s capital to discuss ways to better prepare students for success after graduation. The agenda for the Summit includes a Capitol Hill reception; working groups on building partnerships with postsecondary institutions, businesses, and community leaders; presentations on college admissions challenges and policies to better support low-income students; meetings with congressional offices; and a networking luncheon with top business leaders to promote better collaboration between schools and industry.

“The ‘Closing the Excellence Gap Summit’ is a one-of-a-kind event that brings school leaders from the nation’s best public high schools to D.C. to meet with policymakers, collaborate on innovative ways to help low-income, high-performing students succeed, and develop new strategies to ensure students are prepared for competitive careers after graduation,” said Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Executive Director Harold O. Levy. “Some of the brightest students in America come from low-income families; they deserve equal educational opportunities so they can fully develop their talents. Together with the CLASS Coalition, we’re working to remove barriers and help these students gain admission to the most selective high schools and study at the top colleges, both as a matter of fairness and because these students can help build a more prosperous future for our country."

"We’re very excited for our coalition members to have the opportunity to meet with and learn from other leaders of high-performing schools, and hope this year’s summit will result in better coordination and more opportunities for our students,” said CLASS Coalition President Crystal Bonds, who also serves as principal of the High School for Math, Science and Engineering at City College in New York. 

Speakers will include Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Deputy Secretary of Commerce Chris Lu, and Eric Waldo, Executive Director of First Lady Michelle Obama's Reach Higher initiative.