The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) announces Jennings School District, Missouri; Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, North Carolina; and Forth Worth Independent School District, Texas; winners of the 2018 Award for Urban School Board Excellence.

Created in 2004, the Award for Urban School Board Excellence recognizes school boards that exhibit excellence in school board governance, academic improvement, educational equity, and community engagement.

“These districts show that providing urban school children the right educational opportunities can make all the difference,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, CEO and Executive Director of the NSBA. “This effort involves strong leadership and collaboration with local school boards and education leaders within the community, something that these three school districts can be a model for others across the nation.”

The Jennings School District has remained committed in their mission to put students first. The district was ranked first in their region for graduation rates with 100% graduation and career or college placements. They also partnered with a local health center to open a school-based health clinic in their district. In doing so, Jennings became the only district in the state of Missouri with two high-performing school-based health clinics for students.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), serves a diverse mix of students, representing 160 countries and various cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Fueled by the findings in their 2018 equity report, “Breaking the Link,” the district leaders committed to improve their students’ academic achievement, enhance their educational opportunities and break the persistent links between poverty, race, and achievement.

The district’s new strategic plan focuses on equity, excellence, and increasing social emotional supports for their students. To help them achieve their new goals while building on past efforts, they’ve established a new equity office, led by a Chief Equity Officer, and hired three new Associate Superintendents.

The Fort Worth Independent School District has utilized the diversity of their board to propel groundbreaking work in two areas within their district: governance and racial equity. The district adopted the model of Lone Star Governance into their work, which has allowed them to focus on the improvement of governing teams and student outcomes. In addition to this concept, they also added the component of the System of Great Schools, which helps the district use innovation and problem-solving to develop an efficient strategic plan. The district has also taken a proactive approach to implementing a racial equity strategy that can be applied to various levels across their region.

“CUBE presents its annual Excellence Awards to herald contributions of urban school boards in the very important work of advancing educational access and equity. This way we ensure that their banner of excellence is raised and their commitment honored,” says Micah Ali, CUBE Chair, and President of the Compton United School District Board of Education. “It is with the greatest of appreciation that we recognize the diligent efforts of the Jennings School District, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Forth Worth Independent School District, whose endeavors are most deserving of this award.”

Each winning school district will be featured in future articles in the Urban Advocate, CUBE’s quarterly feature in ASBJ Magazine, as well as highlighted at future CUBE conferences.

Learn more about CUBE.

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