Texas’ Michael and Susan Dell Foundation made history when it contributed a portion of the groundbreaking $15.6 million grant awarded to the Austin Independent School District to develop and implement a district-wide high school redesign plan that will provide students with the training and skills needed to be successful in higher education, in the workplace, and in meeting the challenges of today’s global economy. Made in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the grant is a first major step towards revamping a Texas school system to make change not only in individual schools, but throughout the school district.
The high school redesign plan and curriculum- First Things First- centers around three components: small, lock-step learning classes, family advocacy, and improved learning and teaching methods. Each school will design its program based on their students’ individual needs and the goals of AISD to create school reform based on the 3Rs- academic rigor, relevant coursework, and strong relationships between students and adults. The Michael and Susan and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations and AISD are hoping that the program will be successful, becoming a model for other school districts throughout Texas and the United States.
Established in 1999, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation is working to create enduring, systemic change that removes barriers, encourages children to make the right choices, inspires them to change the way they think about their future and equips them with the tools and life skills they need to help themselves. Their current focus is on programs and initiatives that serve children living in urban poverty, especially programs that enhance the quality of public education and children’s health. Over the last seven years, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation has committed in excess of $300 million to global children’s issues and Central Texas community initiatives. They currently have an endowment of more than $1 billion.
For more information on the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, visit their
profile at www.txnp.org in
our foundation directory.