Broad Prize Finalists Recognized for Hispanic Student Gains

Four finalists are in the running for the elite $1 million Broad Prize for Urban Education, recognized for their success in boosting the achievement levels of low-income, Latino and black students.

The winner won’t be announced until Sept. 25. The winner will receive $550,000 in scholarships for students, and the three other finalists will receive $150,000 each. According to the press release, 75 of the nation’s largest districts were eligible and considered for the prize.

But here are a few details on the achievements of the finalists:

Corona-Norco Unified School District, California. Higher percentages of Hispanic and black students are testing at the “advanced” achievement level in reading, math and science, than in other districts.

Cumberland County Schools, North Carolina. The school system’s graduation rate increased twice as fast as in other urban districts–by 4% between 2007 and 2009, versus the average of 2%.

Houston Independent School District, Texas. The district had the highest SAT participation rate among other urban districts for all students. In particular, 84% of the district’s Hispanic students took the exam.

San Diego Unified School District. Hispanic, black and low-income students improved in science more than students in much of the state.

Corona-Norco Unified and Houston were both finalists in 2012.

To get an idea of just how coveted the prize is, San Diego superintendent Bill Kowba called it “the Oscars of the education world,” KPBS reported. A Houston Chronicle editorial boasted that the city is known as “the Silicon Valley of education reform.”

Related Links:

– “Broad Prize; Four School Districts Honored for Student Gains,” The Broad Foundation.

– “A Sampling of 2013 Broad Prize Finalist School District Student Gains That Bested Other Urban School Districts,” The Broad Foundation.

– “HISD makes urban education’s Final Four,” The Houston Chronicle.

– “Inland Empire school district repeats as finalist for academic prize,” The Los Angeles Times.

– “San Diego School District Nominated for National Award,” KPBS.

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Miami-Dade Schools Win Prestigious Broad Prize

The Miami-Dade County school district has won the prestigious Broad Prize for Urban Education–in part due to the district’s success in improving the graduation rates and academic achievement of Latino students.

The prize recognizes school districts that have successfully closed achievement gaps for minority and poor students.Last year, about 66 percent of Miami-Dade’s total enrollment was Hispanic–representing 230,556 students. Some 187,815 students in the district reported speaking Spanish as their primary language.

The notable successes with Latino students include:

– The high school graduation rates for Latino and black students were higher than in other large urban districts. Between to 2006 and 2009, the graduation rate for black and Hispanic students increased by about 14 percent— to a rate of about 68 percent for Latino students. (The rates were calculated based on the averages of three recognized graduation rate calculation methods). Other urban districts increased their rates by smaller margins between those years.

– In 2011, the percentage of the district’s Latino students performing at the highest levels on state exams–levels 4 and 5—ranked in the top 30 percent statewide.

– Between 2008 and 2011, the SAT participation by Latino students increased 6 percent and the scores increased by 15 points.

The Miami Herald reported that Superintendent Alberto Carvalho attributed the district’s success to several changes in recent years, including the expansion of magnet programs, focusing on collecting performance data, placing focus on struggling schools and bringing in support such as Teach for America.

The Herald also noted that the Broad Prize review team cited the district’s data collection as impressive, in addition to its focus on improving outcomes at low-performing middle schools and preparing students at an early age for higher education.

The other districts that were finalists also have large Latino student populations: Palm Beach County schools in Florida, the Corona-Norco Unified School District in Southern California and the Houston Independent School District.

Miami won $550,000 in college scholarships for high school seniors graduating in 2013. The district has been nominated and named a finalist for the prize four times previously.

Related Links:

– “Miami-Dade school district wins Broad Prize, top national education award.” The Miami Herald.

– “2012 Broad Prize Awarded to Miami-Dade County Public Schools.” News Release.

– Broad Prize for Urban Education web site.

Broad Prize Finalists Include School Districts with Large Latino Populations

One of the distinctions most coveted by urban school superintendents is the Broad Prize for Urban Education. Awarded annually, it recognizes districts making progress with disadvantaged and minority students.

This year’s four finalists all have large Latino student enrollments. The finalists were announced earlier this month, but the lone winner will be named on Oct. 23 and will receive $550,000 designated for college scholarships for the graduating class of 2013. The other three districts will receive $150,000.

The organization notes that all of the finalists have increased the number of their Hispanic and African-American students taking the SAT, ACT or Advanced Placement tests; increased their graduation rates for those students and have ranked near the top of districts in their states in minority student achievement on standardized state tests.

In case you missed the announcement, here are the finalists and some of their achievements with Latino students:

Corona-Norco Unified School District, California (50 percent Latino):  Between 2008 and 2011, the number of Latino students taking the SAT increased by 11 percentage points, and the average score improved by 14 points. The number of Latino students taking Advanced Placement exams increased by 7 percentage points, and passing rates by 5 percentage points. Achievement gaps between Hispanic and white students in math and science also narrowed. Coverage by the ABC affiliate here.

Houston Independent School District (62 percent Latino): Between 2008 and 2011, the number of Latino students taking the SAT increased by 15 percentage points. The number of students taking Advanced Placement exams increased by 13 percentage points in the same time period. About 29 percent of Latino students took an AP exam in 2011. Coverage by the Houston Chronicle.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools (64 percent Latino): Hispanic graduation rates increased by 14 percentage points between 2006 and 2009. Between 2008 and 2011, SAT participation by Latino students increased by 6 percentage points and average scores by 15 points. Coverage by The Miami Herald here.

Palm Beach County, Florida (29 percent Latino): The district increased the proportion of Latino students performing at the highest level on middle school science exams by 9 percentage points. The Hispanic graduation rate increased by 13 percentage points. Coverage by The Miami Herald here.

The finalists were chosen by a 13-member board including education researchers, civil rights leaders and university leaders. The lone finalist will be determined at a four-day site visit conducted by the RMC Research Corporation that will include examining data and interviewing district administrators, teachers and parents. A jury will then select a winner based on achievement data and the visits.

Even if your district isn’t listed, has it made winning the prize a goal?