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LBUSD Wins Broad Scholarships

The Long Beach Unified School District, recognized for the fourth time as one of the top urban school districts in the nation, will receive $250,000 in scholarships as a finalist for the 2008 Broad Prize for Urban Education.

The scholarships were announced today during an awards ceremony at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

“We’re thrilled to receive another $250,000 in academic scholarships for our students,” said Christopher J. Steinhauser, superintendent of schools for the Long Beach Unified School District.

“To be nominated a fourth time for public education’s highest national honor, after already winning the prize once, shows that the accomplishments of our teachers and schools are enduring and improving,” Steinhauser said. “We’re building on success. That’s exactly what the Broad Prize encourages America’s urban school districts to do. Special thanks go to Eli Broad and his foundation for helping to put education back on the national agenda. No issue is more important than the education of our children.”

The top winner of the prize this year was the Brownsville Independent School District in Texas.

LBUSD was named earlier this year as one of five finalists for the prize, which recognizes urban school districts that are closing achievement gaps among students who come from all walks of life.

“After winning The Broad Prize in 2003, Long Beach continues to make consistent gains, particularly by Hispanic, African-American and low-income students," said Eli Broad, founder of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. "While all large urban school districts in America have more work to do, the Long Beach community can be proud that they continue to outpace other urban American school districts in preparing students for college, work and life. We hope that other districts learn from their success."

Among the reasons Long Beach once again stands out among large urban school districts, according to The Broad Prize methodology:

• In 2007, Long Beach's low-income, African-American and Hispanic students outperformed their peers in similar districts in reading and math at all grade levels.

• In 2007, Long Beach's Hispanic and low-income students achieved higher average proficiency rates than their state counterparts in reading and math at all grade levels. In addition, African-American students achieved higher average proficiency rates than their state counterparts in math at all levels and in reading in elementary and middle school.

Between 2004 and 2007:

• Long Beach was more successful than the state in increasing the percentage of all students who achieved proficiency in high school reading and math.

• Long Beach's low-income, African-American and Hispanic high school students showed greater improvement than similar districts in both reading and in math.

• Long Beach also narrowed achievement gaps between Hispanic and white students in elementary school reading and math faster than the state.

Only one other school system nationwide has achieved Broad finalist status more times than Long Beach — Boston, a five-time finalist. Long Beach won the top prize in 2003. Contest regulations prevent the winner from competing again for another three years. Long Beach and Boston are the only school districts nationwide that have been finalists during each year they were eligible to compete.

School districts cannot apply for the award, which is given after a thorough and independent analysis of student performance data from the nation’s 100 largest school systems.

The winner was chosen by a jury of prominent individuals including former secretaries of education Rod Paige and Richard Riley, former governors John Engler of Michigan and Jim Hunt of North Carolina, and other leaders from business, education and public service. The jury reviews the performance data and reports from qualitative site visits. Reviewers this year visited Edison and Signal Hill elementary schools, Hoover Middle School and Millikan High School to collect data and observe best practices here.

Now viewed by many as the Nobel Prize of public education, The Broad Prize is the nation’s largest education award.

When it was started in 2002, The Broad Prize was designed to spotlight success in urban public education, by identifying school districts that were making the most progress in raising academic achievement, particularly for low-income and minority students. The Prize was also intended to showcase the “best practices” of those school districts, with the hopes that other urban districts around the country would follow suit, and to create competition among districts to win the nation’s top education prize.

Since 2002, The Broad Foundation has awarded $6 million in Broad Prize scholarships to more than 730 students in winning and finalist districts. With the increase this year, graduating high school seniors in the winning and finalist school districts will be eligible to receive $20,000 scholarships if they attend a four-year university ($5,000 a year) or $5,000 scholarships if they attend a two-year college or technical training ($2,500 a year).

Other finalist districts included Aldine Independent School District, Texas; Broward County Public Schools, Florida; and Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

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 urban K-12 public education through better governance, management, labor relations and competition.