NSBA’s Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) is pleased to announce that Boston Public Schools, Washoe County Public Schools and the Mesquite Independent School District have been selected as finalists for the 2011 CUBE Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence.
Identified by an independent panel based on data provided by the school district and their state school boards association, the finalists were chosen based on the following four criteria: excellence in school board governance, ability to build civic capacity, commitment to equity in education, and demonstrated success of academic excellence.
“All three of the finalists have made extraordinary efforts to reach students and increase student achievement,” said NSBA Executive Director Anne L. Bryant. “The CUBE Award finalists are proof that diverse urban school districts can succeed, even during difficult economic times.”
For instance, Nevada’s Washoe County has had an aggressive agenda of change and reform. Working together, the superintendent, the school board, staff, and teachers have made impressive gains in a short amount of time to address the high dropout rate and improve student achievement.
The graduation rate improved seven percentage points in 2010 and impressive gains have been made on test scores and closing achievement gaps including between 2006 and 2010.
In Texas, the Mesquite Independent School District has been quietly making a name for itself as a highly successful small urban school district. The 37,000-student school system located less than 20 miles east of Dallas systematically has made major gains in student achievement, significantly closed achievement gaps, and rallied community support around the schools.
Eighty-four percent of students tested proficient in math in 2010, up from 67 percent in 2004, while 82 percent achieved proficiency in science in 2010, up from 52 percent in 2004.
And finally, Boston Public Schools, which won the first CUBE Annual Award in 2004, has made educating and assimilating English Language Learners a top priority. Even in tight budget times, the school committee has invested more than $10 million in ELL education during the 2011 fiscal year. These efforts are paying off, as ELL students at all grade levels have posted gains on state language arts test.
The 2011 CUBE Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence will be presented on October 8, 2011 during the CUBE Annual Conference in New Orleans.