If you haven”t heard the good news about Gwinnett County Public Schools by now it”s probably because you”ve been out-of-state or out-of-the-country. As the winner of the largest education award in the country, the Broad Prize, Gwinnett schools will receive $1 million in college scholarships for its high school students. The development of uniform standards that all schools must follow (Academic Knowledge and Skills) and exams to measure how well students are meeting those standards (Gateway), are now the examples to follow for other school districts nationwide.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joined philanthropist Eli Broad at the Museum of Modern Art in New York to announce the Broad Prize winner, which was selected by a bipartisan jury of eight prominent leaders from government, education, business and public service, including three former U.S. secretaries of education.
The $2 million Broad Prize is an annual award that honors the five large urban school districts that demonstrate the strongest student achievement and improvement while narrowing achievement gaps between income and ethnic groups. More than half of Gwinnett”s students are African-American or Hispanic, and half are eligible for subsidized lunches.
"Gwinnett County has demonstrated that an unwavering focus across a school system – by every member of the district and the community – can lead to steady student improvement and achievement," said Duncan. "Districts across the country should look to Gwinnett County as an example of what is possible when adults put their interests aside and focus on students."
The four finalists – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina; Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland; the Socorro Independent School District and the Ysleta Independent School District, both in Texas – will each receive $250,000 in college scholarships. Charlotte-Mecklenburg was previously a Broad Prize finalist in 2004, and Gwinnett County and Socorro were finalists last year. Montgomery County and Ysleta are first-time finalists.
"Gwinnett County”s stable leadership and singular commitment to ensuring every student has the skills and knowledge to be successful in college and in life makes it a model for other districts around the country," said Eli Broad, founder of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, which awards The Broad Prize. "We congratulate the teachers, principals, administrators, parents and community members who collectively focus on high academic achievement for all students."
Among the reasons Gwinnett County stands out among the largest school districts in the country: