The Ingenuity Project at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute is among four recipients to equally share a $400,000 grant issued by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to selective public high schools.
Also issued to programs at schools in Virginia, South Carolina and Pennsylvania, the grant allows the recipients to launch or expand programs for high-achieving students with financial needs to access information and adequate preparation for success at those institutions.
The Ingenuity Project will use its $100,000 share of the grant to help its mission of increasing the number of Baltimore City students with financial need who are prepared to enroll and succeed in the school’s rigorous curriculum and continue their academic career at top colleges and universities, according to officials.
The grant also will support the program’s expansion to two additional middle schools and the development of a new innovative research-internship pathway.
“The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation grant will allow the Ingenuity Project to expand the number of students it serves and develop new innovative practices in STEM and the grant supports the Ingenuity Project’s 2020 strategic plan improving and expanding the pipeline of talented STEM leaders in Baltimore City from underserved communities,” said Lisette Morris, the executive director of the Ingenuity Project. “To attract high-achieving low-income students, Ingenuity revised its recruiting and admissions practices removing barriers for parents to apply and we converted a lengthy multi-step application process into a 5-minute online application and launched several elementary and middle school outreach initiatives to build stronger relationships with families and schools in underserved communities.”
The grant also will allow for the development of new systems and innovative curriculum to meet the interests of a growing and more diverse population.
This year, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation grant recognized the four public schools that have made dedicated efforts to close Excellence Gaps by identifying promising students early in their academic careers and providing them with the support and guidance they need to access and capitalize on advanced educational opportunities.
The foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need and, since 2000, its awarded $175 million in scholarships to more than 2,300 students from 8th grade through graduate school. Further, the foundation has provided more than $97 million in grants to organizations that serve such students.
“Ingenuity has a long, successful history partnering with Baltimore City Public Schools since 1995 to provide an accelerated math, science and research program with proven academic and college enrollment outcomes,” Morris said. “This year, close to 900 students applied for 240 seats in Ingenuity. Families across Baltimore want better access to rigorous and advanced middle school and high school experiences like Ingenuity.”
In 2017, the Fund for Educational Excellence released the report “Calculated Choices” mapping the advanced academic opportunities across the city. The report identified that families in lower income neighborhoods have disproportionate access to advanced programming.
In 2016, Ingenuity served 547 students in grades sixth through 12. By 2020, the program is estimated to serve over 800, according to Morris.
Close to 100 percent of Ingenuity 8th graders pass high school Algebra in 8th grade and are offered seats at the city’s four academic entrance criteria schools. All of Ingenuity’s first-generation college-bound 2018 graduates from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute will be attending highly selective colleges next year.
“With support from [the] Jack Kent Cooke Foundation in 2015, Ingenuity launched a middle school science initiative with 350 students in non-Ingenuity sites which resulted in triple the number of applicants to Ingenuity's high school program at Poly,” Morris said. “With new funding from the Foundation this year, the program is expanding partnerships with K-5 schools to support and prepare students for admissions to Ingenuity.”