Bill and Melinda Gates tour Hamilton High School - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Bill and Melinda Gates tour Hamilton High School

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By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Bill and Melinda Gates visited Hamilton High School Wednesday to talk about the grant their foundation awarded last year to Memphis City Schools.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the $90 million grant to Memphis City Schools last year, which is being used to fund the Teacher Effectiveness Initiative, a program that focuses on empowering teachers and student success.

The couple chose Hamilton High as their first stop because it's ground zero in their effort to uplift striving schools.

"This is a school that is willing to take on bold reform, hard changes, and figure out how to get the very best teachers in here," Melinda Gates said.

"If you want the economy of education in Memphis to be strong, the best way to make that happen is improve these high schools," Bill Gates added.

In its first year, the TEI program began measuring what makes a great teacher by surveying teachers and students.

"We picked Memphis partly to help Memphis, but our overall goal is to help the whole U.S. Education system," Bill Gates said.

The Gates Foundation is learning what makes a great teacher so it can set up a system to share tools with those teachers who are not meeting the mark.

"It was selected because of the commitment to make changes to improve the results," Bill Gates said.

Gates added that the continuity of keeping Superintendent Doctor Kriner Cash in place is integral to the program.
"If Hamilton gets additional resources, that's a good thing, but I hope we maintain the continuity of the positive continuity that's developed here over the last couple of years," he said.

The TEI is a seven year program, and the Gates plan to put their findings online, so the rest of the nation can benefit.

Click here to read a fact sheet about what the Gates Foundation hopes to achieve in Memphis.

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