"Winning the Broad Prize is the best thing," says Christopher Steinhauser, superintendent of the 2003 prize-winning Long Beach, Calif., school district. "It tells you you're on the right road."
But Steinhauser and his staff knew they still needed to work harder. While elementary students had made great progress in 2003, not enough high school minorities were being prepared for college. Today, a practice college entrance exam is mandatory, and schools have expanded the number of rigorous courses. Long Beach's continued progress in closing the gap between white and minority students put it once again on the list of finalists for the Broad Prize this year, the first former winner to return to the competition. (Once a district wins, it is ineligible for consideration for three years.)
The Houston district, the first winner of the prize in 2002, has hit a few bumps. In 2003, media reports questioned gains the district had reported the previous eight years. But this year, under the state's rating system, the number of low-performing schools in the Houston district was reduced by half.
Boston Public Schools
Norfolk Public Schools (Virginia)
Garden Grove Unified School District (Calif.)
Long Beach Unified School District (Calif.)
Houston Independent School District