Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

For Release — Monday, January 28, 2002

Business Council's Prestigious Award Honors Schools for Educational Improvement

Pathfinder AwardALBANY—Twenty-five New York State schools have been named 2002 recipients of The Business Council's Pathfinder Award, which honors schools that show the most improvement from one year to the next as measured by their students' scores on standardized tests.

Each honored school receives its award at a local ceremony. Two winners in Manhattan have already accepted their awards. Other winners will receive their awards at ceremonies around the state to be scheduled in the next few weeks.

The winners are:

Background on the Pathfinder Awards: The Pathfinder Award program is in its second year. The Business Council created the Pathfinder Awards last year to recognize elementary schools that show the most improvement from one year to the next as measured by the state's new academic standards. Last year, 27 schools around the state received the award in the first year.

How award recipients are determined: To be chosen, a school must meet two criteria. First, it must have shown more improvement over its record the previous year than other schools in its region. In addition, at least half of its students must meet or exceed state standards on the fourth-grade English Language Arts (ELA) and math tests.

Last year, the awards were based solely on results from the ELA test. This year's awards reflect changes in scores on both ELA and math tests; comparative data on math results were not available when the awards were given last year.

The Business Council gives Pathfinder Awards to two public schools in each of 12 different regions across the state. These regions are the state's judicial districts; awards are being made by those districts because appointments to the state Board of Regents are based on those regions. In some regions, if more than two schools show nearly identical levels of improvement, more than two may be recognized. Schools that win the award receive $1,000 for the school's programs and a trophy in recognition of their achievement.

Donors that have contributed to date to support the Pathfinder Awards include Corning Incorporated, ChevronTexaco, Con Edison, Fleet Bank, State Farm Insurance, the Pike Company, Frontier Communications, the Golub Corporation, KeyBank, and Michael D. Marvin, founder of the MapInfo Corporation.

Background on The Business Council's advocacy for education: The Business Council has long been an active and forceful advocate of policies to strengthen the performance and accountability of the state's public schools, and has long encouraged businesses and business leaders to become active partners with schools in their efforts to improve.

For example, The Public Policy Institute used state data to design the prototype for the state's school report cards. Today school report cards are released annually to give schools, teachers, parents, and students a sense of how their schools are doing compared to schools in similar circumstances and their own performance of the previous year. The Council has also supported the state's new academic standards and based on them to measure the performance of students, teachers, and schools.

In November, The Council's research affiliate, The Public Policy Institute, published a summary of The Council's Sept. 21 panel discussion at which business and school leaders discussed how businesses might help schools improve.