MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As Miami-Dade Public Schools have learned, sometimes it pays to be teacher’s pet.

For the fifth time, the county’s school district has been nominated for the prestigious Broad Prize, the largest education prize in the country. The award 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.”

With 75 major districts qualifying nationwide, the review board chose their finalists by evaluating many areas of improvement.  Among the data they looked at were SAT, ACT and Advanced Placement participation rates and outcomes, graduation rates, state assessments in reading, math and science, the National Assessment of Educational Progress and student demographics.

The three other finalists this year are Palm Beach County, Corona-Norco Unified School District in Riverside, California and the Houston Independent School District.

“As other urban school districts in Florida and across the country struggle to create public school environments that enable students of all backgrounds to learn and thrive, Miami-Dade has made important strides,” said Eli Broad, founder of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. “Although the district still has room to improve, in light of substantial education budget cuts in recent years, continued student gains like that outpace other urban districts nationwide are particularly impressive.”

After all of the finalist districts are toured and observed, a winner will be chosen.  The $550,000 first place prize will go towards college scholarships for the senior class of 2013. All other finalists receive a $150,000 prize towards college scholarships.

The winner of the 2012 Broad Prize will be announced October 23rd in New York City.


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