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From the AJC:

Gwinnett County Public Schools was named today by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation as one of five urban school districts selected as a finalist for the 2010 Broad Prize for Urban Education, guaranteeing the district a minimum of $250,000 in college scholarships for its  students.

According to the release:

The Broad Prize for Urban Education is an annual $2 million award—the largest education prize in the country—that honors the urban school districts that demonstrate the greatest  overall performance and improvement in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps among poor and minority students.

Other finalists this year are:

• Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, N.C.

• Montgomery County Public Schools, Md.

• Socorro Independent School District, El Paso, Texas

• Ysleta Independent School District, El Paso, Texas

The winner of the Broad Prize, to be announced on Tuesday, Oct. 19 in New York City, will receive $1 million in college scholarships for high school seniors who will graduate in 2011. The four finalist districts will each receive $250,000 in college scholarships.

“This marks the second consecutive year Gwinnett has been a Broad Prize finalist, which demonstrates the district’s unwavering focus on strong, sustainable student achievement,” said Eli Broad, founder of the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. “It is our hope that school districts around the country will learn from the practices Gwinnett and the other finalist districts are employing that are leading to impressive academic gains.”

Every year, 100 of America’s largest urban school districts are automatically eligible for the Broad Prize; they cannot apply or be nominated. This year’s five finalists were selected by a review board of 18 prominent education researchers, policy leaders, practitioners and executives from leading universities, national education associations, think-tanks and foundations. The review board evaluated publicly available academic performance data that was compiled and analyzed by MPR Associates, Inc., a leading national education research consulting firm, and then selected the five districts.