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Broad Prize for Urban Education: GCPS top finalist for honor
System finds out this week if it wins prestigious award

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County Public Schools will find out in three days if it has won a prestigious national award for urban school systems.

The winner of the Broad Prize for Urban Education will be announced Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The award honors school districts that demonstrate the greatest overall performance and improvement in student achievement, especially for minority and low-income students.

In April, Gwinnett was named one of five finalists for the prize.

"While the official announcement will not be made until this week, Gwinnett County parents and community members should already feel as big winners," said Jorge Quintana, a school district spokesman. "To be named a top urban school district in the nation is a tremendous honor as it speaks of the quality of our teachers and the high achievement of our students."

The winner will receive $1 million in scholarships for high school seniors who will graduate in 2010, while the four other districts will each receive $250,000 in scholarships.

Gwinnett and the four other finalists - Aldine Independent School District in Houston, Broward County Public Schools in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Long Beach Unified School District in California and Socorro Independent School District in El Paso, Texas - were selected from among the 100 largest urban school districts in the United States by a review board that evaluated publicly available academic performance data.

The Broad Foundation has given out the award since 2002. Previous winners include the Brownsville Independent School District in Texas, New York City Department of Education, Boston Public Schools, Norfolk Public Schools in Virginia, the Garden Grove Unified School District and the Long Beach Unified School District, both in California, and the Houston Independent School District.