Schott Foundation awards Ohio high schools for achievement of African-American males

Three Ohio high schools were honored for the high achievement of their African-American male students by the Schott Foundation for Public Education at an Oct. 10 State Board of Education meeting in Columbus.

Bowsher High School in Toledo Public Schools, Brush High School in South Euclid-Lyndhurst City Schools, and Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati Public Schools were honored by Dr. Rosa A. Smith, president of the Schott Foundation for Public Education.

The Schott Awards for Excellence in the Education of African-American Male Students recognizes high schools that support academic excellence and are closing achievement gaps in graduation rates. In addition to that recognition, each school will receive funding for a scholarship from the Schott Foundation and Knowledgeworks. The KnowledgeWorks/Schott Foundation Scholarships are to be used for post secondary education of an outstanding male African-American graduating senior.

National research shows that African-American boys are disproportionately and inappropriately assigned to special education classes, expelled and suspended from school, and under-represented in college preparatory classes.

Nationally, between one-half and two-thirds of African-American male students drop out of school, and many of those who do graduate are not prepared for college or further educational training.

“This is an enormous tragedy for young African-American men, their families and communities,” Smith said. “It results in life-long diminished earnings, extraordinary rates of incarceration and an unnecessary burden to society.”

Ohio schools are the first in the country to receive these awards. The Schott Foundation’s goal is to expand the program to seven states in 2006, 25 states in 2007 and 40 states in 2008, Smith said.

The first round of these awards is taking place in Ohio at the invitation of Dr. Susan Tave Zelman, superintendent of public instruction at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).

“These schools show that demographics don’t determine a student’s academic destiny,” Zelman said. “They provide the hope – and the promise – that all students can achieve at high levels, graduate from high school and succeed in life.”

Closing achievement gaps is a top priority for the State Board of Education, which formed a Closing Achievement Gaps Task Force in 2002 to study and research the problem of low graduation rates and poor performance in Ohio schools.

For the past four years, ODE has annually recognized and researched high-performing, high-poverty schools through the State Superintendent’s Schools of Promise initiative. This program recognizes elementary, middle and high schools where more than 40 percent of the student population is low-income, yet students in the major demographic groups are meeting or exceeding the state standards in reading or mathematics. ODE continues to identify and study Schools of Promise each year.

“These schools have shown the way,” said Dr. Smith. “We are sure that other schools in Ohio and across the country will be following their path to high achievement for all students.”


  • Dr. Rosa A. Smith, President, Scott Foundation for Public Education (617) 876-7700
  • J.C. Benton, Spokesman, Ohio Department of Education (614) 728-2765
  • Larry Black, Principal, Bowsher High School, Toledo, Ohio (419) 671-2000
  • Dr. William Zelei, Superintendent, South Euclid-Lyndhurst City Schools, (Brush High School) (216) 691-2000
  • Dr. Marvin Koenig, Principal, Walnut Hills High School, Cincinnati, Ohio (513) 363-8400