Created in 2002, the annual prize honors large urban school districts that demonstrate outstanding performance and improvement in student achievement while reducing gaps for poor and minority pupils. Miami-Dade, the fourth-largest school district in the nation, will receive $550,000 for college scholarships for seniors graduating next spring, while the three other finalists in the competition — the Corona-Norco Unified School District in California, the Houston Independent School District in Texas, and the School District of Palm Beach County in Florida — will each receive $150,000.
A five-time finalist, Miami-Dade was awarded this year's prize because it outperformed other "peer districts" in Florida at all school levels and across all subject areas; saw the percentage of Hispanic students performing at the highest achievement levels rank in the top 30 percent statewide in 2011; increased overall student participation and scores on the SAT exam; experienced 2011 ACT and AP participation rates in the top 30 percent of Broad-Prize eligible districts for all students and among African-American and Hispanic students; and raised graduation rates for minority students by 14 percent from 2006 to 2009, or more than 4 percent per year on average, to 57 percent for African-American students and 68 percent for Hispanic students.
"What is encouraging about Miami-Dade is its sustainable improvement over time," said Eli Broad. "Their gains are a testament to the hard-working teachers, administrators, and parents who have embraced innovative new methods to modernize schools and ensure that students of all backgrounds get the support they need. There is still a long way to go before all American students graduate with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in a global economy, but Miami-Dade's progress serves as an example for other urban districts across the country."