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OUR VIEW: GCPS hopes to show off Broad smiles

Gwinnett County Public Schools could be feeling like a million bucks next week if the school system’s name is called during an announcement for the annual Broad Prize for Urban Education on Tuesday in New York City.

For the second straight year, GCPS is a finalist for the prestigious award. The winning school district receives $1 million in scholarship money, while the other finalists are guaranteed $250,000 each in scholarship money.

The Gwinnett district was honored to have received $250,000 last year, but has its sights set on the big prize this time around.

“I hope there’s a million we can give away this year,” GCPS superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks said.

GCPS added to its reputation by being a finalist for last year’s Broad Prize, but being a finalist again this year points to the system continuing to improve. This year, Gwinnett is joined by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, and Socorro Independent School District and Ysleta Independent School District, both of El Paso, Texas, as finalists.

The prize, created in 2002 by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation in Los Angeles, is designed to reward schools for narrowing the achievement gap between minority and white students, increasing graduation rates and improving student performance for low-income students.

Thanks to the award last year, GCPS was able to award scholarships to 13 students, with each getting about $20,000. After Tuesday’s announcement, those numbers could grow along with the district’s reputation.

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