Broad Foundation Endows Broad Prize with $40 Million; Most Improved Urban School Districts to be Recognized for Decades

Eligibility, selection criteria also refined to ensure urban demographics among contenders

LOS ANGELES, March 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On the 10th anniversary of The Broad Prize for Urban Education, the nation's largest education award for school districts, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation announced it will endow the award with $40 million to ensure that the most improved urban school districts in America are recognized for the foreseeable future and thousands more students will receive Broad Prize scholarships.  

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The Broad (rhymes with "road") Prize is an annual award that honors those large urban school districts that demonstrate the strongest student achievement and improvement while narrowing achievement gaps between income and ethnic groups. The money goes directly to graduating high school seniors for college scholarships.    

"The education field has been inspired by the academic progress happening in our nation's most improved large urban school districts over the past decade," said Eli Broad, founder of The Broad Foundation, which has awarded The Broad Prize since 2002. "We are pleased to continue highlighting the best results where they occur for years to come so that others may borrow the lessons these districts have learned to propel all of our students across the academic finish line."

To ensure the school districts recognized by The Broad Prize as having the greatest overall student improvement and performance are truly urban and comparable, The Broad Prize eligibility requirements have been tightened so that 75 districts will be eligible each year, down from 100. With fewer eligible districts, the number of finalists each year will be reduced from five to four.

To guarantee the award's sustainable distribution for decades, The Broad Foundation will provide a $40 million endowment and will scale back the total annual award to its original $1 million level, so that funds available to support scholarships can be spread over future years. The Broad Foundation raised the total prize winnings to $2 million in 2007. Beginning this year, The Broad Prize winner will receive $550,000 in scholarships. Each of the remaining three finalist school districts will receive $150,000 in scholarships, for a total of $1 million in scholarships awarded each year.  

The endowment sets aside funds to cover not only future prize awards, but also the rigorous data analysis of the 75 eligible districts, plus comprehensive site visits to the finalists. It also includes funding for a national showcasing and sharing of the best practices in the finalist and winning districts so that others can learn from and replicate their success in advancing student academic progress and narrowing achievement gaps.

The Broad Prize winner is selected by a bipartisan jury of 10 prominent leaders from government, education, business and public service, including three former U.S. secretaries of education.

The finalists are selected by a review board of 23 national education researchers, policy leaders, practitioners and executives from leading universities, national education associations, think-tanks and foundations. The jury and review board evaluate publicly available student performance data in selecting the winner and finalists.  

In the 10 years since the first Broad Prize was awarded:

  • The following large urban school districts have been recognized as the nation's most academically improved: Gwinnett County Public Schools, Ga. (2010); Aldine Independent School District, Texas (2009); Brownsville Independent School District, Texas (2008); New York City Department of Education (2007); Boston Public Schools (2006); Norfolk Public Schools, Va. (2005); Garden Grove Unified School District, Calif. (2004); Long Beach Unified School District, Calif. (2003); Houston Independent School District (2002).
  • $12 million in scholarships has been awarded to more than 900 high school seniors
  • More than 20 school districts have shared best practices and lessons learned nationally:  http://www.broadprize.org/resources/overview.html
  • Extensive data showing relative student progress in the nation's largest school districts has become available: http://www.broadprize.org/resources/100_districts.html
  • The Broad Prize Framework for School District Excellence has come to serve as a guidepost to help districts assess the effectiveness of their policies and practices:  http://www.broadprize.org/resources99/tools.html

Each year, a set number of school districts are automatically eligible for The Broad Prize; districts cannot apply for or be nominated for this award. To be eligible, a school district must be among the nation's largest school districts and must also serve significant percentages of low-income and minority students. Because demographics have changed in and around many metropolitan areas in the U.S. since The Broad Prize was first awarded, The Broad Foundation revised the eligibility criteria to ensure that eligible districts are demographically comparable.

Beginning in 2011, the 75 largest urban school districts—with "large" generally defined as school districts serving at least 37,500 students and "urban" defined as a large city, a mid-sized city, or a suburb of a large city by the National Center for Educational Statistics Common Core of Data—in which at least 40 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch (FRSL) and at least 40 percent come from minority groups will be eligible for the award.  

A list of the 75 school districts eligible for the award in 2011 is available at http://www.broadprize.org/about/eligible_school_districts.html and a complete description of the eligibility criteria is available at http://www.broadprize.org/about/process.html.  

Broad Prize scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate significant financial need and show a record of academic improvement during their high school career. Scholarship recipients who enroll in four-year colleges receive up to $20,000 in scholarships; two-year colleges, up to $5,000.

The 2011 Broad Prize finalist school districts will be announced in early April.  For more information on The 2011 Broad Prize, please visit http://www.broadprize.org/about/FAQ.html.

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is a national venture philanthropy established by entrepreneur and philanthropist Eli Broad to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts. The Broad Foundation's education work is focused on dramatically improving K-12 public education through better governance, management, labor relations and competition. The Broad Foundation's Internet address is www.broadfoundation.org.

SOURCE The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation




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