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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University October 9, 2006 | Vol. 36 No. 6
Talent Development Schools Grow With Gates Funds

CSOS program, now in 100 high schools, will add about 110 more nationally

By Mary Maushard

The Talent Development High Schools program at Johns Hopkins will over the next four years more than double the number of low-performing schools it serves.

A new $1.9 million investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will enable the TDHS reform model, developed by the Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins, to continue its work in nearly 100 high schools and add about 110 more schools across the country by 2010, said Nettie Legters, a TDHS co-director.

Within the next four years, the TDHS program will expand its technical support, improve curriculum materials and instructional tools, develop new methods to strengthen program data collection and evaluation, and share its best practices for high school improvement with those outside the TDHS network. The goal of the TDHS model is to reduce the dropout rate and increase the graduation rate among students in low-performing high schools, as it prepares them for college and the workforce.

"There is an increasing demand for solutions to the challenges faced by low-performing high schools and the students they serve," said Legters, who is also a research scientist at Johns Hopkins. "This grant will enable TDHS to grow with intention and a vigilant eye on quality and results."

The TDHS model features extensive training and coaching for teachers, particularly around ninth- and 10th-grade transition courses that enable students to acquire skills and knowledge they often lack when they come to high school. The program also includes structural elements such as ninth-grade academies, teacher teams, extended class periods and career academies to engage students, support academic progress and help them connect learning to everyday life and future plans.

This new investment will allow TDHS to carry out its multiyear strategic plan, which was developed through consultation with the Bridgespan Group and funded through an initial one-year Gates Foundation grant that TDHS received in 2004.

TDHS is working with high schools in New York City and Los Angeles through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation partnership grants. It also operates the Baltimore Talent Development High School through a partnership with the Baltimore City Public Schools. Talent Development has multiple sites in Chicago, Kansas City, Mo., and throughout North Carolina, as well as single sites in a dozen other states.

James McPartland, TDHS senior director, said, "The Gates Foundation grant will help us accomplish our mission of both research and development, to follow up our studies of the major problems in public education with practical solutions we design and evaluate. With Gates' assistance, we can expand our TDHS improvements throughout the country and study the processes of nationwide education reform."

For more about TDHS, go to


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