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
School & District Management Webinar
Leadership in Education: Building Collaborative Teams and Driving Innovation
Learn strategies to build strong teams, foster innovation, & drive student success.
Content provided by Follett Learning
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Principals, Lead Stronger in the New School Year
Join this free virtual event for a deep dive on the skills and motivation you need to put your best foot forward in the new year.
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
Privacy & Security Webinar
Navigating Modern Data Protection & Privacy in Education
Explore the modern landscape of data loss prevention in education and learn actionable strategies to protect sensitive data.
Content provided by  Symantec & Carahsoft

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 Principals' Unions Are on the Rise. What Are Their Demands?
Across the country, principals are organizing for better working conditions.
8 min read
Illustration of hands shaking with smaller professional people standing on top, with hands in the air, celebrating.
iStock/Getty
School & District Management How Principals Are Outsourcing Their Busywork to AI
Principals are chipping away at their administrative to-do lists with a little help from AI.
6 min read
Education technology and AI Artificial Intelligence concept, Women use laptops, Learn lessons and online webinars successfully in modern digital learning,  Courses to develop new skills
iStock/Getty
School & District Management Opinion How to Let Your Values Guide You as a School Leader
Has your “why” become fuzzy? Here are four steps to keep principals motivated and moving forward.
Damia C. Thomas
4 min read
Silhouette of a figure inside of which is reflected public school life, Self-reflection of career in education
Vanessa Solis/Education Week via Canva
School & District Management ‘Be Vocal Without Being Vicious’: Superintendents on Fighting for More Funding
Two superintendents talk about stepping into the political realm to call for more public school funding.
5 min read
Photo of dollar bills frozen in ice.
iStock / Getty Images Plus