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San Diego School District Nominated For National Award

The San Diego Unified School District was named today as one of four finalists for the 2013 Broad Prize for Urban Education, which could lead to a $550,000 award.

San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Bill Kowba

Above: San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Bill Kowba

The prize from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation honors districts that demonstrate improved student achievement, especially for minorities and students from low-income families.

The organization recognized San Diego Unified for outperforming similar California districts in standardized test scores, narrowing the achievement gap for Hispanic and low-income pupils, and improvements in science by black, Hispanic and low-income high school students.

Superintendent Bill Kowba, who will retire in June, called the prize "the Oscars of the education world."

“I’m just thrilled for the district and for the kids and staff that it’s happened while we’ve all been working together and I’m just honored that it’s coming at a time when we’re ready to move to the tenure of Cindy Marten and I’m grateful that I can give her this springboard for academic excellence,” he said.

A 17-member review board of education leaders and civil rights advocates chose the four finalists from a field of 75 districts that qualified for consideration. Other finalists are Corona-Norco Unified School District in Riverside County, Cumberland County Schools in North Carolina and Houston Independent School District.

The foundation will name the top school of the four finalists this fall. The top district will win $550,000. The three other districts will receive $150,000. The $1 million total makes the award the largest education prize in the country.

"San Diego should be commended for its steadfast commitment to improving student achievement," said Eli Broad, founder of the Broad Foundation.

"But even while these finalist districts are moving in the right direction, there is still a long road ahead before we can truly celebrate high levels of academic success. And as we look at other urban districts across the country, there is significantly more progress that needs to be made."

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