School & District Management

Urban Education Prize Goes to Garden Grove, Calif.

By Catherine Gewertz — October 01, 2004 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

California’s Garden Grove Unified School District won the Broad Prize for Urban Education last week, in recognition of its progress educating minority and low-income students.

The 50,000-student district, located southeast of Los Angeles in Orange County, was chosen from among five finalists for the nation’s richest education prize bestowed upon a single district. The Los Angeles-based Broad Foundation provides $500,000 to the winner, to be distributed to students as scholarships.

Philanthropist Eli Broad

A panel of judges drawn from business, education, and government evaluates districts on their success in improving student achievement and raising the performance of students from low-income families and from racial and ethnic minority groups.

Laura Schwalm, who is in her sixth year as the superintendent of Garden Grove Unified, said its success stemmed from a shared focus on setting clear but ambitious goals, aligning the district’s operations to those goals, setting high expectations for everyone systemwide, and making sure everyone in that system has opportunities to be successful.

“To receive the top honor exceeds our wildest expectations,” Ms. Schwalm said in an interview shortly after a Los Angeles ceremony attended by U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige. “And the fact that all the money goes to kids is so wonderful.”

Exceeding the Norm

Six in 10 of Garden Grove’s students qualify for subsidized school meals, and half are not yet proficient in English. Yet the district improved reading and mathematics scores on state tests at every school level during the past three years, and it has narrower achievement gaps than the state average, Broad officials said.

The district also got high marks for closely monitoring student performance to guide teaching.

Also chosen as finalists for the Broad Prize were the Boston and Norfolk, Va., public schools, the Aldine Independent School District in Texas, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., district. Each will receive $125,000 to distribute as scholarships.

Eli Broad, the founder of the philanthropy, said that Garden Grove and the four other finalists would showcase their practices at sessions across the country in the coming months.

Garden Grove has been a finalist in each of the two previous years the prize has been given. The past winners are the Houston and Long Beach, Calif., districts.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Recruitment & Retention Webinar
Be the Change: Strategies to Make Year-Round Hiring Happen
Learn how to leverage actionable insights to diversify your recruiting efforts and successfully deploy a year-round recruiting plan.
Content provided by Frontline
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Critical Ways Leaders Can Build a Culture of Belonging and Achievement
Explore innovative practices for using technology to build an environment of belonging and achievement for all staff and students.
Content provided by DreamBox Learning
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Professional Development Webinar
Strategies for Improving Student Outcomes with Teacher-Student Relationships
Explore strategies for strengthening teacher-student relationships and hear how districts are putting these methods into practice to support positive student outcomes.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management How District Leaders Can Make Sure Teachers Don't Miss the Loan-Forgiveness Deadline
Many teachers and other public employees may not know they qualify for a student loan-forgiveness waiver that has an Oct. 31 deadline.
4 min read
Young adult woman cutting the ball and chain labeled "Debt" which is attached as the tassel hanging from a graduate's mortarboard
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School & District Management Download A Visual Guide to Nonverbal Communication (Download)
Understanding nonverbal communication can help you improve interactions and get your message across.
1 min read
v42 8SR Nonverbal Communication Share Image
Gina Tomko/Education Week and Getty
School & District Management Ensure Your Staff Gets the Message: 3 Tips for School Leaders
School staff are inundated with information. Here's a few ways to ensure they will actually hear you.
3 min read
Image showing a female and male in business attire connecting speech bubble puzzle pieces.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School & District Management Keep School Staff Motivated All Year Long: Advice From Principals
Here are some of the things—big and small—that school leaders do and say to keep teachers excited about the job.
13 min read
Teachers and faculty play a game of Kahoot! to get to know one another better during a Welcome Back training at CICS Bucktown on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022 in Chicago, Ill.
Teachers and faculty play a game to get to know one another better during a Welcome Back training at Chicago's CICS Bucktown in August.
Taylor Glascock for Education Week