Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Broad Prize Finalists Include School Districts with Large Latino Populations

One of the distinctions most coveted by urban school superintendents is the Broad Prize for Urban Education. Awarded annually, it recognizes districts making progress with disadvantaged and minority students.

This year’s four finalists all have large Latino student enrollments. The finalists were announced earlier this month, but the lone winner will be named on Oct. 23 and will receive $550,000 designated for college scholarships for the graduating class of 2013. The other three districts will receive $150,000.

The organization notes that all of the finalists have increased the number of their Hispanic and African-American students taking the SAT, ACT or Advanced Placement tests; increased their graduation rates for those students and have ranked near the top of districts in their states in minority student achievement on standardized state tests.

In case you missed the announcement, here are the finalists and some of their achievements with Latino students:

Corona-Norco Unified School District, California (50 percent Latino):  Between 2008 and 2011, the number of Latino students taking the SAT increased by 11 percentage points, and the average score improved by 14 points. The number of Latino students taking Advanced Placement exams increased by 7 percentage points, and passing rates by 5 percentage points. Achievement gaps between Hispanic and white students in math and science also narrowed. Coverage by the ABC affiliate here.

Houston Independent School District (62 percent Latino): Between 2008 and 2011, the number of Latino students taking the SAT increased by 15 percentage points. The number of students taking Advanced Placement exams increased by 13 percentage points in the same time period. About 29 percent of Latino students took an AP exam in 2011. Coverage by the Houston Chronicle.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools (64 percent Latino): Hispanic graduation rates increased by 14 percentage points between 2006 and 2009. Between 2008 and 2011, SAT participation by Latino students increased by 6 percentage points and average scores by 15 points. Coverage by The Miami Herald here.

Palm Beach County, Florida (29 percent Latino): The district increased the proportion of Latino students performing at the highest level on middle school science exams by 9 percentage points. The Hispanic graduation rate increased by 13 percentage points. Coverage by The Miami Herald here.

The finalists were chosen by a 13-member board including education researchers, civil rights leaders and university leaders. The lone finalist will be determined at a four-day site visit conducted by the RMC Research Corporation that will include examining data and interviewing district administrators, teachers and parents. A jury will then select a winner based on achievement data and the visits.

Even if your district isn’t listed, has it made winning the prize a goal?