The Panasonic Corporation will begin sponsoring and funding the Fordham University Graduate School of Education´s National School Change Awards, beginning in July 2007. The awards, which will now be known as the Panasonic National School Change Awards, have been given by the Graduate School of Education each year since 2000 in recognition of outstanding progress and significant change at six public schools in the United States.
The program will be managed jointly by Fordham and the Panasonic Foundation, and the 2008 Panasonic National School Change Award will be made possible by a $75,000 grant from Panasonic North America.
"Panasonic is honored to support an effort that is tightly aligned with the vision of our parent company´s founder, Konosuke Matsushita," said Joe Taylor, chief operating officer of Panasonic North America. "Mr. Matsushita views human beings as society´s most precious resource and a strong educational base as essential to human progress."
The 2007 winners will be honored in a ceremony at Fordham´s Lincoln Center campus on July 16 (the winners have already been recognized in individual ceremonies at each school). Ray Simon, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Education will present the awards, joined by James Hennessy, Ph.D., dean of Fordham´s Graduate School of Education; Marcia Lyles, Ed.D., the newly appointed deputy chancellor of the New York City Department of Education; and Marilyn M. Joseph, director, Corporate Outreach Programs, Panasonic Corporation of North America. The ceremony´s keynote speaker will be retired Lt. Col. Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch, the highest-ranking Hispanic woman in the U.S. Army.
Since the program´s inception, 601 schools from 44 states have been nominated. Each year, a distinguished panel of judges selects six award winners. In addition to being honored at the national ceremony, award-winning schools receive a grant of $5,000. Winning school principals are guests at the National Principals Leadership Institute, where they share their schools´ success stories.
"Panasonic´s sponsorship of the National School Change Awards dramatically demonstrates their dedication to public education," said Lew Smith, director of the Panasonic National School Change Awards. "I believe that this effort will raise the profile of the awards and strengthen the message that a transformation to educational excellence is within the grasp of every school system."
"Recognizing schools that are making strides toward eliminating achievement gaps is critically important," said Larry Leverett, executive director of Panasonic Foundation. "The Panasonic National School Change Awards is doing so in a unique and valuable way by shining a spotlight on schools that have distinguished themselves in the extent of their improvement."
This year´s winners, which will be honored on July 16,, are: PS. 196, Brooklyn, N.Y.; World of Inquiry School No. 58, Rochester. N.Y.; Dreamkeepers Academy, Norfolk, Va.; Chalkey Elementary, Chesterfield, Va.; Signal Hill Elementary, Signal Hill, Calif.; and Anna F, Booth Elementary, Irvington, Ala.
Founded in 1841, Fordham is the Jesuit University of New York, offering exceptional education distinguished by the Jesuit tradition to more than 15,600 students in its four undergraduate colleges and its six graduate and professional schools. It has residential campuses in the Bronx, Manhattan and Tarrytown, and the Louis J. Calder Center Biological Field Station in Armonk, N.Y.