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For Release — Thursday, February 16, 2006

SHOWING NEW YORK'S SCHOOLS THE PATH TO IMPROVEMENT:
12 SCHOOLS EARN 2006 PATHFINDER AWARDS

ALBANY— Twelve New York State elementary schools will receive the highest honor given to schools by New York State's private sector: the 2006 Pathfinder Award. The Business Council gives this award to honor schools that show marked improvement from one year to the next on students' state test scores.

Each winning school will receive its award at a local ceremony that will be announced separately. Award ceremonies will be scheduled over the next few months.

"New York's business community takes special pride and pleasure in presenting this award each year," said Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh. "Business challenges schools to improve because New York's future depends on an unwavering commitment to improvement in teaching and learning. We want to honor the successes of the students, teachers, parents, administrators, and schools who accept these challenges and show the most academic improvement."

The Council awards the Pathfinder Award to one or more schools in each of 12 regions of the state based on improvement in students' scores from one year to the next on the state's fourth-grade English Language Arts and math tests.

The 2006 Pathfinder Award winners are:

SCHOOL / SCHOOL DISTRICT IMPROVEMENT IN TEST SCORES (2004-2005)
English Language Arts Math
PS 33, the Chelsea School, New York City Geographic School District 2 in Manhattan 182 percent 125 percent
PS 149, the Danny Kaye School, New York City Geographic School District 19 in Brooklyn 133 percent 47 percent
The Turnpike Elementary School, Lansingburgh Central School District in Rensselaer County 71 percent 43 percent
International Charter School of Schenectady in Schenectady County 133 percent 43 percent
The Jerry C. Clough School, Rome City School District in Oneida County 106 percent 65 percent
Broadway Elementary School, Elmira City School District in Chemung County 109 percent 17 percent
North Street Elementary School, Geneva City School District in Ontario County 50 percent 29 percent
Potters Road School, the West Seneca Central School District in Erie County 48 percent 17 percent
Cedar Place Elementary School, Yonkers City School District in Westchester County 110 percent 58 percent
Francis J. O'Neill School, Central Islip Union Free School District in Suffolk County 47 percent 33 percent
Public School 123, New York City Geographic District 27 in Queens 86 percent 40 percent
Public School 75, New York City Geographic District 8 in the Bronx 87 percent 104 percent

Background on the awards: The Business Council selects winning schools based on a range of criteria, including improvement in scores and the number and percentage of students tested. In addition, at least half of a school's students must meet or exceed state standards on the fourth-grade English Language Arts and math tests before the school can qualify for the award. Schools must test approximately the same number of students in comparison years, and the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the standards can be no less than in the 2003 school year.

The Business Council generally gives Pathfinder Awards to one public school in each of 12 different regions across the state. These regions represent the state's judicial districts In some regions, if two schools show nearly identical levels of improvement, more than one may be recognized. Schools that win the award receive $1,000 for the school's programs, and a trophy in recognition of the achievement. The program is in its sixth year.

Employers that have provided support to the Pathfinder Awards are: Anheuser-Busch, Inc.; Avon; Buck & Pulleyn; CH Energy Group; ChevronTexaco; Consolidated Edison; Corning Incorporated; Duke Energy Corporation; Excellus Health Plan, Inc.; Fleet Bank; Frontier Communications; General Mills; Golub Corporation; HSBC; IBM; KeyBank; KeySpan; MapInfo Corporation; Metropolitan Life; Michael D. Marvin, a founder of MapInfo Corporation; Northrup Grumman; Pfizer; the Pike Company; the Pioneer Development Company; Racemark International, LP; Security Mutual Life Insurance Company; State Farm Insurance Company, and UPS Foundation, Inc.

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 encouraged businesses and business leaders to become active partners with schools in their efforts to improve.

This year, the Council has proposed a new program to produce 500 new, highly qualified science and math teachers every year. Under the Council’s "Teach for the Future" initiative, the state would fund 500 competitive scholarships each year, at up to $20,000 per year for up to five years, for students who agree to earn a bachelor’s of science degree in science or math, as well as the master’s degree needed for full certification. In return, the recipients would commit to teach science or math in New York public schools for a minimum of five years—with an extra $10,000 bonus for those who agree to teach in inner-city or rural school districts.

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