But reforming Miami-Dade schools in the midst of a recession that crippled many school districts did not come without difficult decisions and "harsh conversations," he adds.
Among those tough decisions: replacing 64 percent of the district's principals, reducing administrative spending by 58 percent, eliminating travel, and implementing a hiring freeze.
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The district also petitioned city officials to invest in their community's education. In Miami Beach, for example, the city is footing the bill for professional development as the schools implement an International Baccalaureate curriculum, Carvahlo says.
"By embracing the harshness of the economic conditions we were able to not only do more with less, but in fact do better with less," he says. "We went from extreme need to efficiencies, from efficiencies to innovation, from innovation to transformation."
Miami-Dade was chosen from four finalists by a selection jury made up of leaders from the business, government, and public service communities, including former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Mortimer Zuckerman, editor-in-chief of U.S. News & World Report. The other finalists—Corona-Norco Unified School District in California, the Palm Beach County School District in Florida, and the Houston Independent School District—will each receive $150,000 in college scholarships.
Winning this year's Broad Prize proves "the code has been cracked in Miami," Carvahlo says.
"The priceless dimension of this prize is the bragging rights before a caring nation that is really looking for … a transportable, scalable, national model that could be replicated across America at a time when everyone is struggling for solutions."
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