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Broad Prize Awarded to Gwinnett County, GA
posted by: Alix | October 22, 2010, 01:43 PM   

This week the Broad Prize for Urban Education was awarded to Gwinnett County School District in Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. The annual award honors an urban school district that exemplifies not only student achievement but narrowing the gaps in achievement among diverse income and ethnic groups. Considered the most prestigious education accolade, the $1 million Broad Prize is awarded in the form of college scholarships to district graduates.

Gwinnett County is the 14th largest school district in the nation with 161,000 students– about half of which are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. The enrollment is also racially diverse: 33 percent white; 28 percent African-American; 25 percent Hispanic; and, 10 percent Asian/Pacific Islander. Despite the district's diversity and low incomes, it has performed extremely well.

Congratulating Gwinnett County was Eli Broad, founder of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. "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," Broad said.

Some highlights from Gwinnett County's success were highlighted in the foundation's press release:

  • Outperformed similar districts in Georgia. In 2009, Gwinnett County outperformed other districts in Georgia that serve students with similar family income levels in reading and math at all school levels (elementary, middle and high school).
  • Narrowed achievement gaps. In 2009, achievement gaps between African-American and white students in Gwinnett County were among the smallest in Georgia in reading at all school levels and in elementary and middle school math. In addition, between 2006 and 2009, Gwinnett County narrowed achievement gaps between its Hispanic students and the state's white students in reading at all school levels and in middle and high school math.
  • Achieved high SAT, ACT, AP participation rates. Between 2006 and 2009, participation rates rose for Gwinnett County's African-American and Hispanic students taking the SAT, ACT and Advanced Placement exams.
  • More students performed at advanced levels. In 2009, a greater percentage of Gwinnett County's African-American, Hispanic and low-income students performed at the highest achievement levels on the state reading and math assessments at all school levels compared with their counterparts statewide.
There are four finalists that will each receive $250,000 for student scholarships: Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland; Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina; and, Socorro and Ysleta Independent School Districts both in El Paso, Texas.

AAE congratulates Gwinnett County and all finalists for their milestones and achievements. The Broad Prize, the largest of all education prizes, will surely make a difference in the lives of these excellent students. All of the nominated districts are real-life examples of students from diverse backgrounds proving their unlimited potential for success.

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