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Achievement First, DSST and Uncommon Schools Named 2018 Broad Prize Finalists

WASHINGTON, D.C. and LOS ANGELES, June 7, 2017— Achievement First, DSST Public Schools and Uncommon Schools are finalists for the 2018 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation announced today.

The finalists were chosen for their work helping students achieve significant academic gains and college readiness, particularly among low-income students and students of color. All three finalists have previously been named to the top three, and Uncommon won the prize in 2013. If Uncommon were to win this year, it would be the first repeat winner in the charter prize’s history.

The $250,000 Broad (rhymes with “road”) Prize for Public Charter Schools will be announced June 18 at the National Charter School Conference in Austin, Texas.

About Achievement First

A finalist in 2013, 2014 and 2015, Achievement First serves 12,600 K-12 students in 34 schools in five cities across Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island, 82 percent of whom receive free and reduced-price lunch and 99 percent of whom are students of color. In 2017, every Achievement First school in New York performed in the top 3 percent of all New York public schools in eighth-grade math. For two consecutive years, its New Haven high school has been ranked the top school in Connecticut by U.S. News and World Report.

About DSST Public Schools

A 2017 finalist, DSST Public Schools operates 13 secondary schools that serve 5,300 students in Denver, Colorado, 66 percent of whom receive free and reduced-price lunch and 81 percent of whom are students of color. In 2017, DSST’s schools achieved the highest SAT results in the state for Black, White and low-income students. For the past 10 consecutive years, 100 percent of DSST graduates have been accepted to four-year colleges or universities.

About Uncommon Schools

The 2013 winner, Uncommon Schools operates 52 schools that serve 18,000 students in Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey, 77 percent of whom receive free and reduced-price lunch and 99 percent of whom are students of color. Uncommon reports that its graduates earn college degrees at five times the national rate for low-income students. At Uncommon, 94 percent of students take the SAT and the average score for their 2017 senior class was 1040, which exceeds the SAT college readiness benchmark of 1010.

“The Broad Prize is an opportunity to spotlight high-performing charter management organizations that are working for the public-school students they serve,” said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance. “The National Alliance is pleased to honor Achievement First, DSST and Uncommon Schools as the country’s top large charter school networks. We believe the best practices that these three school systems are implementing can be successful across public schools, charter or district. By elevating these three schools as Broad Prize finalists, other public schools can see what is possible for their students.”

Non-profit charter management organizations (CMOs) eligible for the 2018 award have operated a minimum of five schools since 2015-16 with at least 2,500 students while serving sizable percentages of low-income students and students of color. Organizations cannot apply for the award nor be nominated.

Finalists for The Broad Prize are typically announced in May of each year, after several months of data collection, analysis and review. Because of the delayed release of the 2015-16 Common Core of Data, The Broad Foundation and the National Alliance extended the data review period. This allowed The Broad Prize Review Board to consider all eligible CMOs, including five CMOs initially deemed ineligible due to incorrectly reported demographic data. The full list of eligible CMOs is available here. The Foundation, the National Alliance and the members of the review board are committed to high-quality data analysis and taking the time necessary to consider all available data before selecting the 2018 Broad Prize finalists.

“Repeat finalists Achievement First and DSST, along with previous winner Uncommon Schools, are demonstrating that great public charter networks can sustain strong academic achievement over the years,” said Gregory McGinity, executive director of The Broad Foundation. “We are inspired by their dedication to their students.”

A 10-member board of national education experts reviewed publicly available student performance data from 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years for 41 of the country’s largest public charter management systems. The review board considered student outcomes, college readiness indicators, scalability, size, poverty, special education results and demographics—eventually selecting Achievement First, DSST and Uncommon Schools as the top three charter management organizations based on overall student performance and progress closing achievement gaps. The data was analyzed by American Institutes for Research. The National Alliance, which administers the prize, and The Broad Foundation, which funds the prize, did not play a role in selecting the top three CMOs or the 2018 Broad Prize winner.

The $250,000 award must be used for college-readiness efforts. Previous winners of The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools include Success Academy in 2017, IDEA Public Schools in 2016, Noble Network of Charter Schools in 2015, KIPP Schools in 2014, Uncommon Schools in 2013, and YES Prep Public Schools in 2012. Winners are ineligible for three years following their win.

About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit

About The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation

Founded by entrepreneur Eli Broad and his wife Edythe, both graduates of Detroit Public Schools, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation works to advance the public good in education, science and the arts. The Foundation has created groundbreaking independent institutions in each of its three grantmaking areas, including The Broad Center, which develops leaders to help transform America’s urban public schools, the Broad Institute, a global leader in genomics, and The Broad, a museum in downtown Los Angeles devoted to showcasing great contemporary art. For more information, visit

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