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PHILADELPHIA'S BEEBER MIDDLE SCHOOL WINS $724,059 FOR PIONEERING REFORM EFFORT

 PHILADELPHIA'S BEEBER MIDDLE SCHOOL WINS $724,059
 FOR PIONEERING REFORM EFFORT
 WASHINGTON, April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The RJR Nabisco Foundation today awarded a $724,059 grant to Beeber Middle School in Philadelphia to fund a complete transformation of the traditional middle school's curriculum and provide for an extended school year.
 Beeber is one of just 14 schools nationwide to receive a grant in RJR Nabisco's Next Century Schools competition. Each winning school received up to $750,000 to develop and run dramatically different educational approaches over the next three years. More than 1,100 schools competed for a share of this year's $9 million in grant money.
 "It takes true courage to risk change in tough economic times. Instead of retreating to the relative security of the status quo, these pioneering educators are demonstrating that it is not only desirable but possible to fight for fundamental change in education," said Louis V. Gerstner Jr., chairman and CEO of RJR Nabisco, Inc.
 The Next Century Schools program invests in educators who have devised radically different educational approaches to meet the needs of their students. Last fall, RJR Nabisco challenged front-line educators to devise and submit revolutionary proposals that would improve student performance and demonstrate the potential for adaptation by other communities throughout the nation.
 Members of the Next Century Schools advisory board, which includes Keith Geiger, president of the National Education Association; Albert Shanker, president of the American Federation of Teachers; former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean; and Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, selected the winning schools.
 Beeber will replace five subject areas with a series of team-taught, 12-week thematic courses. Every student will attend 39-41 weeks of school divided in three 12-week blocks of time and one three-week block. The school year will run from late August to mid-July. The school day will be extended to 5 p.m. and a parent university will be conducted on Saturday mornings.
 Since launching Next Century Schools in 1989, RJR Nabisco has invested $30 million in the pioneering efforts of 43 schools. The 1992 winners will be the last class of schools to participate in the program. As each school reaches the end of its three-year funding cycle, RJR Nabisco will work to help replicate successful initiatives.
 "The goal of the Next Century Schools program is to make both an individual and collective difference in public education. As a result, we must take what we know to work in a single school and help spread that success to other communities searching for answers. In a few years, we anticipate that many of this year's winners will offer effective educational alternatives for countless communities across the nation," said Roger D. Semerad, president of the RJR Nabisco Foundation.
 -0- 4/14/92
 /CONTACT: Tracey Riese of RJR Nabisco, 212-258-5779, or David Sandor of Powell Tate, 202-434-8541, for RJR Nabisco/ CO: RJR Nabisco Foundation ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


DC-TW -- DC001 -- 8102 04/14/92 09:19 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 14, 1992
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