October 26, 2016
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University Of Chicago Receives $5M Gift To Further Urban Education Programs


From Left: Charles Ashby Lewis, Chairman of the Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation and a University Trustee; Penny Bender-Sebring, Interim Co-Executive Director and Founding Director of the Consortium of Chicago School Research; and Timothy Knowles, John Dewey Director of the Urban Education Institute.
The University of Chicago has received another $5 million gift from the Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation to support the University’s groundbreaking work to improve urban schooling in Chicago and across the country. The centerpiece of these efforts is the University’s Urban Education Institute (UEI). The new gift brings to nearly $15 million the foundation’s investment in the University’s education work.  
The gift provides a landmark opportunity for UEI. It will strengthen the Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR)
, a major component of UEI, with essential operating support. The donation also will broaden UEI's national engagement activities, provide an endowment to strengthen UEI's connectivity with faculty across the University, support fellowships for College students interested in working with UEI, and deepen the UEI leadership team.
As a result of this gift, Timothy Knowles
, who has overseen these innovative endeavors at the University for the past seven years, will be named the John Dewey Director of the Urban Education Institute and the John Dewey Clinical Professor in the Committee on Education. Previously, he has served as the Lewis-Sebring Director of UEI. 

“We are extremely pleased with the leadership that Tim and UEI have shown nationally in bringing new ideas and practical solutions to urban school reform,” said Charles Ashby Lewis, Chairman of the Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation and a University Trustee. Lewis noted that the timing of the gift honors both the 20th anniversary of CCSR, which his wife Penny Bender Sebring co-founded, and the 25th anniversary of her work at the University. The faculty-focused endowment will be named in her honor.

UEI conducts applied research through CCSR, prepares teachers through its Urban Teacher Education Program, and operates four University of Chicago Charter Schools. UEI also works with a network of new schools across Chicago, and it develops tools and practices to improve the social and academic performance and college readiness of students in schools in Chicago and across the country.            

Research from UEI has reshaped people’s understanding of how schools can become effective. In a recently published book, Organizing Schools for Improvement; Lessons from Chicago
 , CCSR researchers, including Sebring, identify “five essential supports” that have been proven to work together to bring substantial improvements in elementary schools. 
Prior to coming to the University, Knowles
 was deputy superintendent for Teaching and Learning for the Boston Public Schools. Before that, he started and led a K-8 school in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, and founded the New York office of Teach for America.

Through his work at UEI and writing and speaking extensively on public school improvement, Knowles has carried on the values of John Dewey. “UEI was created in the Dewey tradition to discover better ways to educate children growing up on Chicago’s South Side and across urban America, to learn by doing, and to create and share knowledge that will transform lives,” said Knowles.
According to Lewis, this gift honors the memory of one of America’s leading figures in education. “John Dewey came to the University shortly after it was founded to establish education as a field of scientific study, a radical idea at the time. Through his research and writing and his founding of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, he provided a new way to think about how children can learn,” Lewis said. 

Knowles added, “At the heart of it, John Dewey understood that schooling can shape and strengthen American democracy. He was an iconoclast in the best sense, upending long-held views about the purposes and methods of schooling, putting children and their experience at the heart of the enterprise.”
“Penny and Chuck’s gift is extraordinarily important,” Knowles said. “It will ensure that our work – to create evidence about what matters in PK-12 education, to develop exemplary teachers and leaders, and to design and test new models of schooling – will take root in Chicago and more broadly,” Knowles said.

The University of Chicago Urban Education Institute
1313 East 60th Street  Chicago, Illinois 60637  (773) 702-2797  http://uei.uchicago.edu

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