MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Miami-Dade County Public Schools has won the prestigious Broad Prize Award.

The district was one of four finalists for the Broad Prize, the largest education prize in the country.

“Today marks an important day not only for Miami-Dade but for our nation,” said Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. “Fifteen years from now or less the face of America will be Miami-Dade.”

This was the fifth time Miami-Dade County Public Schools has been a finalist, the most for any school district in America.

“We are no longer the Susan Lucci of public education,” said Carvalho.

The Broad Prize was awarded in New York Tuesday.

The Corona-Norco Unified School District (California), the Houston Independent School District (Texas), and the School District of Palm Beach County (Florida) were the other finalists.

The Broad Prize is given annually to the urban district demonstrating the “greatest overall performance and improvement in student achievement in the nation while reducing income and ethnic achievement gaps.”

As the winner of the award, Miami-Dade will receive $550,000 in college scholarships for its high school seniors. The three finalist districts will each receive $150,000 in scholarships.

As the nation’s fourth-largest school district, Miami-Dade has nearly 350,000 students, 90 percent of whom are black or Hispanic and 74 percent of whom are low-income.

“It’s really focused on students who can achieve but don’t have the financial means to obtain a four year degree,” said Millie Fornell who is the Chief Innovation Accountability Officer for Miami-Dade Public Schools.

Among the reasons Miami-Dade won the award:

  • Outperformed peer districts in academic achievement
  • Minority students reached advanced academic levels
  • Improved college-readiness levels
  • 6 percentage points and scores increased 15 SAT score points between 2008 and 2011
  • Raised graduation rates for minority students

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joined philanthropist Eli Broad and retired Adm. Michael G. Mullen, former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, at The Museum of Modern Art to announce the winner, which was selected by a bipartisan jury of 11 prominent leaders from government, business and public service, including two former U.S. secretaries of education.

Miami-Dade’s win comes the fifth time the district was named a finalist for The Broad Prize, bringing the district’s total prize winnings to $1.2 million in college scholarships for its students since 2006. The district was previously a finalist in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011.

“It really is recognition for what we do and it affects every teacher, in every classroom and every student in the whole district,” said Sandy Baker Hoover, a teacher at North Miami Middle School.


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