The prize, now in its second year, honors an urban charter school system that has demonstrated the most outstanding overall student performance and improvement while reducing achievement gaps for poor and minority students.
Uncommon Schools, a network of free public charter schools in Boston, Newark, New York City, and Rochester and Troy, New York, serves nearly eight thousand students, almost all (98 percent) of whom are African American or Latino and more than three-quarters (78 percent) of whom are low-income. In recent years, Uncommon School students consistently have outperformed their low-income and African-American peers in the rest of the state. Within the states in which it operates, the charter management organization has managed to close 56 percent of the achievement gap between its low-income students and non-low-income students in the rest of the state, and 56 percent of the achievement gap between its African-American students and white students; that compares favorably with the 13 percent and 12 percent, respectively, among all charter management organizations eligible for the prize.
Chosen from among twenty-seven large established charter school systems, Uncommon Schools will receive $250,000 in support of its efforts to improve college readiness among low-income students. Achievement First and the KIPP Foundation also were finalists for the prize.
"While we congratulate 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, the real winners are the students who are served by these and other high-quality charter management organizations," said Rebecca Wolf DiBiase, managing director of programs for the Broad Foundation. "It is our hope that the success of Uncommon Schools serves as an example for traditional public schools and others in the charter sector of what is possible."