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August 21, 2003
Section: Main Story

McKinley wins grant for $1.52M
Repository education writer

CANTON � McKinley High School will become five smaller schools within a school next year, with the help of a $1.52 million grant from Cincinnati-based KnowledgeWorks Foundation.
Foundation CEO Chad P. Wick announced the grant Wednesday, praising McKinley for its stated goal to graduate 100 percent of its students by 2008.

�I don�t think there�s been anyone in the country who had the courage to make that claim and put themselves on the line,� he said.

The grant will be supplemented by about $1.1 million in contributions and services from the Stark Education Partnership and other contributors, said McKinley Principal Charles Keenan.

The plan calls for McKinley to create smaller, autonomous high schools of about 400 students each within its existing building.

McKinley will still have the same extracurricular activities and athletic teams, said Superintendent Dianne Talarico.

But students will attend smaller schools � essentially, learning communities � each with its own principal and a separate teaching and counseling staff.

Each school will have a separate budget and will control its own governance, staffing, scheduling and data.

Keenan said staff and students will decide the focus of their smaller schools. �We�re going to gather data to try and see how we can best meet their individual needs,� he said.

Cynthia Loukas, member of the proposal�s design team, said the school won�t duplicate any of the existing academies at the Timken Campus.

�I think it will work,� said McKinley junior Nicholas Tavares, member of a student team that reviewed the proposal.

Tavares said the change �might be rough in the beginning,� but said students will benefit from smaller class sizes and more personalized attention.

Keenan said the grant proposal, developed by staff members with input from community members and others, was initially rejected by KnowledgeWorks.

But designers revised the proposal and won funding in the second round.

A public meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 3 at the McKinley High School cafeteria to explain details of the proposal.

You can reach Repository writer Susan R. Schell at (330) 580-8339 or e-mail:

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