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Edison Wins National Urban School Award

Edison Elementary School has won the 2007 National Center for Urban School Transformation’s Excellence in Education Award. Only seven schools were selected as winners nationwide. To compete for the award, schools must meet a long list of student performance criteria, including attainment of national Adequate Yearly Progress goals, high attendance, low suspension rates and high percentages of students completing rigorous courses of study, or awards for school-wide excellence in academic disciplines. "We’re elated to be recognized with this high honor," Edison Principal Matty Zamora said. "We cried tears of joy when we heard the news. We’re all so proud of what everyone at this school has accomplished. This was a total team effort of community members, teachers, students and staff." The award will be presented in May during NCUST’s symposium on high performing schools, where winners of the award will share their success stories with more than 400 educators from throughout the nation. Also scheduled to be honored is the Long Beach Unified School District’s Signal Hill Elementary School, one of 18 finalists for the award. Criteria for the award are based on 20 years of research into what separates high performing urban schools from lower performing schools, said Pamela Engler, administrative coordinator for NCUST, which notified the winning schools last week. Among those key criteria are rigorous curriculum, strong performance across all subgroups of students, and positive relationships among parents, teachers, the principal and other school leaders. Edison, located in downtown Long Beach, has shown strong academic growth in recent years. In math, for instance, approximately 84 percent of Edison students are now proficient, up from 37 percent just three years ago. The school’s state Academic Performance Index has grown to 796, up 119 points in the last two years and now just four points shy of the state’s target of 800 for all schools. Edison serves high numbers of socioeconomically disadvantaged children, with 99 percent of students receiving free and reduced-price lunches. The NCUST award is Edison’s sixth award in the last two years. Last year, the school earned the prestigious California Distinguished School Award. Edison has been honored twice by the Long Beach Unified School District as a STAR high achieving school, and twice with the Title I Academic Achievement Award. The NCUST was founded as part of the QUALCOMM Institute for Innovation and Educational Success at San Diego State University. The other six national winners of the NCUST Award this year are schools in Mt. Vernon, N.Y.; Columbus, Ohio; Austin, Texas; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; Atlanta and Detroit.