Skillman Foundation Launches Good Schools Essay

The Skillman Foundation and the Good Schools Resource Center at Marygrove College are calling for all creative and talented Detroit students to participate in the first Good Schools Essay Contest. The competition is being launched in conjunction with the multi-million dollar education initiative, Good Schools: Making the Grade, which identifies nine indicators of student and school success and invites all Detroit schools to apply for funding and technical assistance to maintain or attain these standards. During the first two years of the initiative, The Skillman Foundation has awarded more than $3.3 million in Good Schools grants to more than 100 Detroit schools.

The essay contest is open to K-12 students attending any public, charter, private or parochial school in the city of Detroit. The topic for the essay is: "What Makes a Good School?" All essays must be original and written by the student. The contest is divided into three grade levels - elementary (K-5), middle (6-8), and high school (9-12). First, second and third place winners will be selected in each group. The essays will be judged on focus, organization, analysis, originality, style, recommendations and compelling content. Prizes range from $150 to $1,000 gift cards. The submission deadline for essays is January 22, 2007 at 4:00 pm. Winners will be selected and notified by March 15, 2007.

"Children have specific and creative ideas about what makes a good school. This contest is a great way to get students involved in our efforts to help all Detroit schools make the grade," said Carol Goss, president and CEO of The Skillman Foundation.

Complete essay contest rules, including word count requirements, are available by calling the Good Schools Resource Center at 313-927-1418 or logging on to: www.goodschoolsdetroit.org. Entries can be mailed or hand delivered to: Good Schools Resource Center, Marygrove College, Madame Cadillac Building - 4th Floor, 8425 West McNichols Road, Detroit, MI 48221-2599. Only entries that follow the contest rules and regulations will be considered.

The Skillman Foundation's Good Schools: Making the Grade initiative identifies, recognizes and rewards Good Schools in Detroit. The winning schools are recognized in three categories - High Performing, Improving and Aspiring - and evaluated on nine standards: Student Achievement; Student Attendance; Leadership and Educational Vitality; Data-Driven Decision Making; Challenging Curriculum and Instruction; Student Focus and Support; School Organization and Culture; Professional Community; and School, Family and Community Partnerships. Schools are able to assess their strengths and weaknesses through the Good Schools application process. A comprehensive guide to good schools in Detroit - based on results from the Good Schools: Making the Grade initiative - is being produced every year for parents, students, neighborhoods and businesses.

Created in 1960, The Skillman Foundation is a private philanthropy committed to helping children in metropolitan Detroit by providing resources to improve their homes, schools and neighborhoods. Each year, The Skillman Foundation awards more than $20 million in grants to non-profit organizations, schools and agencies in Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties, with a special emphasis on organizations working in the city of Detroit. Visit www.skillman.org for more information.