Uncommon Schools, a network of 32 public charter schools in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — and current grantee of the Office of Innovation and Improvement’s Charter Schools Program (CSP) — is winner of the 2013 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools. Roberto J. Rodriguez, special assistant to the President for education, announced the winner on July 2nd at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ annual conference in Washington, D.C.
In a press release announcing the winner, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation congratulated Uncommon Schools for their “progress in raising student achievement and their steadfast commitment to ensuring that every child — regardless of family income or background — deserves a world-class education,” citing the schools’ students as the “real winners.” “It is our hope,” said Rebecca Wolf DiBiase of the Broad Foundation, “that the success of Uncommon Schools serves as an example for traditional public schools and others in the charter sector of what is possible.”
Uncommon Schools’ two grants from the CSP’s Replication and Expansion of High-Quality Charter Schools (Replication and Expansion) category, one each in 2010 and 2011, are helping the charter management organization to expand the availability of K-12 schools in New York City, Rochester and Troy, N.Y., Newark, N.J., and Boston, Mass. To date, the grants have supported the opening of 10 new schools and the expansion of two others. Additionally, Uncommon Schools tracks the effectiveness of its instructional programs, management services, and operational practices and disseminates the systems that work best to schools outside of the Uncommon Schools network. Click here for an abstract of Uncommon Schools’ 2010 grant and here for the 2011 award. Both grants are for a five-year period.
The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools honors the public charter school system that has demonstrated the “most outstanding overall student performance and improvement in the nation… while reducing achievement gaps for low-income students and students of color.” Among the reasons cited for selection of Uncommon Schools was 100 percent of its seniors taking the SAT exam in 2012 and having an average score 20 points above the college-readiness benchmark of 1550. The prize includes $250,000 to support college-readiness efforts for Uncommon Schools’ students.
The other two finalists for this year’s Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools, Achievement First and KIPP, are also grantees of the Replication and Expansion grant program, with CSP support helping these charter management organizations to open 41 schools to date in up to 16 states and the District of Columbia. The 2012 Broad Prize winner, Yes Prep Schools, was a 2010 Replication and Expansion grantee.