NSBA’s National Black Council of School Board Members presented its Recognizing Innovative Strategies in Equity (RISE) Award to Arizona’s Alhambra Elementary School District #68 during the 2020 CUBE Annual Virtual Conference.

The RISE award honors a school district for its excellence in establishing and executing policies, practices, and strategies that promote and enhance equitable conditions, increased access to quality instruction, and improved academic outcomes and career readiness for Black students.

Located within the city of Phoenix, Arizona’s capital and most-populous city, Alhambra Elementary School District #68 serves a large and diverse population. Of its more than 13,500 students, 13.22% are African American. The current administration has made equity a centerpiece of its work by adopting an anti-bias framework. The district also established an Alternative Learning Center to provide increased access to information, counselors, and other support services.

Many of the Alhambra’s students are immigrants and refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and other countries in Eastern Africa, Middle Eastern and Latin American countries. In 2016, the district opened the Valencia Newcomer School to serve this vulnerable population. In addition to helping ensure students reach third-grade level English proficiency, the school partners with local resettlement organizations to support student families and provides them with food, clothing, and other essentials.

“We recognize that Alhambra has worked incredibly hard to place educational equity at the forefront of its actions,” says Devin Del Palacio, NBC Chair and Vice President of Arizona’s Tolleson Union High School District school board. “By providing its Black students with an equitable chance at success, the district improves the educational opportunities available to every student and helps the entire community develop a profound respect for all humanity.”

The RISE Award is sponsored by McGraw-Hill Education, a learning science company that delivers personalized learning experiences that help students, parents, educators, and professionals improve results.

The RISE Award is one of several NSBA-sponsored awards that recognizes schools that have prioritized educational equity. Learn about this year’s Luminous Eagle Award and Abrazo Award.

Learn more about the NBC.

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