The announcement will be on the board auditorium's big screens, live from the Library of Congress in Washington, where Education Secretary Arne Duncan will announce which of the four nominated schools will win the $500,000 prize in scholarship money for its students. The award, considered the top recognition for a large urban school district, carries with it as much as $550,000 in college scholarships for its students.
Districts do not apply for the award. Finalists for the prize, along with San Diego Unified, are the Corona-Norco Unified School District in Riverside County, Calif., Cumberland County Schools, N.C., and the Houston Independent School District. Corona-Norco and Houston were finalists last year. This is the first time in the award's 12-year history that San Diego and Cumberland County have been finalists.
This year's four finalists were selected by a review board of 17 prominent education researchers, policy leaders, practitioners and executives from leading universities, education associations, civil rights advocacy organizations, think-tanks and foundations. The review board evaluated publicly available academic achievement data that were compiled and analyzed by MPR Associates, Inc., a leading national education research consulting firm.
In addition, each district had a three-day site visit by a team of independent evaluators, who visited in May. While here, they produced a video that will be shown at the ceremony, which will be held in the Library of Congress. Watch video»