The Boston school district on Tuesday won the Broad Prize for Urban Education in recognition of its success improving student performance overall and narrowing achievement gaps between white and minority students.
In awarding Boston the top prize—after the district was a finalist for four years—officials of the Los Angeles-based philanthropy noted that in the last few years, the district has outperformed other demographically similar Massachusetts districts at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Its African-American students have improved more than those in similar districts, and it has narrowed the gap between Hispanic and white students in most areas, Broad officials said.
The 58,000-student district has been a finalist for the Broad Prize every year since it was first given in 2002. Thomas W. Payzant, the superintendent who led key improvements, retired this past June. The district is being led by an interim superintendent while the school board searches for a permanent replacement.
As the winner, the Boston public schools receive $500,000 to be distributed to students as college scholarships. The other school districts that are finalists this year—Miami-Dade County, Fla., New York City, Bridgeport, Conn., and Jersey City, N.J.—each receive $125,000 in scholarship money.