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New York City schools receives prestigious Broad Prize.

SOME MIGHT CONSIDER MAKING marked reforms to a school district of 1,450 schools and over a million students an unachievable task, but the Broad Foundation believes New York City is doing just that.

New York City has received the Broad Prize, a $500,000 award from the Broad Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded by Eli Broad dedicated to improvements in education, science and the arts. The money is put in escrow for the city's high school seniors to apply for college scholarships. "At least 50 or more of our graduating seniors are going to get a scholarship," said Kerri Lyon, a spokesperson for the New York City schools. "Students will receive $10,000 if they are going to a four-year school and $2,500 if they attend a two-year college."

Bridgeport (Conn.) Public Schools, Long Beach (Calif.) Unified School District, Miami-Dade (Fla.) County Public Schools, and the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas, were finalists, winning $125,000 each. Previous winners of the prize, which was first instituted in 2002, include Boston Public Schools, Norfolk (Va.) Public Schools, Garden Grove (Calif.) Unified School District, and the Houston (Texas) Independent School District. "There were a number of very strong contenders this year. Every single one of the finalists showed improvements in reading and math at all different grade levels," said Erica Lepping, a spokesperson for the Broad Foundation.

Since 2002, the New York City school system has undergone a systemic change in the way it does business, according to the Broad Foundation. A change toward a districtwide curriculum emphasizing balanced literacy and the use of the Everyday Mathematics program, coupled with increased allowances on the part of individual schools to tailor offerings within those guidelines, has enabled teachers to differentiate instruction in most classrooms.


The city has also crafted an intervention model that enhances teacher engagement with a student in an effort to increase performance and prevent the need for special education services.

New York City demonstrated greater overall performance in math and reading than other districts with students of similar income levels throughout the state. The academic performances of key subgroups--low-income students, blacks and Hispanics--were also at a higher level than those of other communities in the state. The achievement gap between minority students and white students also decreased dramatically, as much as 14 percentage points in some subject areas, according to the Broad Foundation.

"I congratulate our students, who show every day that they can meet high expectations when given the chance. We still have a lot of work to do, but the Broad Prize is an important sign that we are on the right track," said Joel Klein, chancellor of the New York City Department of Education.

There is a single quality the Broad Foundation is looking to uncover from school districts. "We are looking to make sure that there is a purposeful reform that is driving the result," says Lepping. "Every single one of the finalists was showing improvements in reading and math at all different grade levels."
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Title Annotation:BRIEFINGS: News Update
Author:Scarpa, Steven
Publication:District Administration
Date:Nov 1, 2007
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