The Chicago-based Noble Network of Charter Schools has won the annual Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools. Officials made the announcement today in New Orleans at the 15th annual National Charter School Conference.
The Noble network bested two other well-known charter school networks, Achievement First and IDEA Public Schools, to take the top honor. IDEA is based in Texas while Achievement First operates in Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island.
Noble serves around 10,000 students in 17 schools across Chicago, 95 percent of whom are African-American or Hispanic, and 89 percent of whom are low-income.
“Noble is exceptional because they operate almost entirely high schools, which are often the toughest grades to advance academically at high levels,” said Paul Pastorek, the former Louisiana state superintendent of education and a member of The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools review board, in a statement. “Noble is clearly on to something because they’ve been able to scale and sustain their academic achievement.”
The Broad Prize, funded by the Los Angeles-based Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, recognizes charter networks in urban areas that are improving performance and closing achievement gaps between minority and low-income students and their higher-income peers. The winner receives $250,000 to spend on college-readiness efforts for its students, such as scholarships and campus visits.
Achievement First and IDEA were finalists for last year’s prize, but the award went to KIPP.
The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools is the sister award to the Broad Foundation’s Prize for Urban Education, which for 13 years honored regular public school districts it deemed as making important strides in serving low-income, minority students. Earlier this year, foundation officials announced they were suspending that award due to sluggish academic results in the nation’s urban districts.
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A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.