At NCUST, it has been our honor to visit and learn from over 150 amazing schools that achieve multiple evidences of outstanding learning results for every racial/ethnic/income group of students they serve. We look forward to recognizing, celebrating, and learning from more urban schools during this coming year.
Why do we invest the time, energy, and resources to operate our America’s Best Urban Schools Award Program? Why should schools invest the time and energy necessary to apply? I see the answer to these questions each time I visit one of our award-winning schools. I see students who believe in their own potential to make a difference in the world. I meet parents who know their children will have the wonderful opportunities they dreamed about for their sons and daughters. I see educators who know that their hard work is creating new hope and new visions of the future for their students and their communities. As I see the powerful differences made in outstanding urban schools, I ask myself, “Why can’t more children have access to inspiring schools like these? What can we do to learn more about how these schools achieve such fantastic results for so many students? How can we help more schools emulate the culture, curricula, and instruction found in America’s best urban schools?”
We are thrilled to recognize and celebrate educators who demonstrate such deep commitments to educational equity and excellence; however, the larger reason for our effort is the hope of increasing the likelihood that millions more urban children and youth will benefit as we help share information about the strategies, systems, and cultures that contribute to deep transformations of urban schools. Every school that meets our rigorous award criteria is deserving of our award and so much more; however, the best reason schools should apply is to endeavor to help other schools and school districts from across the nation understand 1) yes, urban children and children of color can achieve stellar academic results, 2) mortal educators have made it happen, and 3) all of us who are committed to serving children well can work and learn together to improve our systems of education in ways that benefit all children.
Please read the overview of NCUST’s America’s Best Urban Schools Award Program to learn more about the award criteria and the application process. If you believe your school qualifies, we hope you apply! We are eager to celebrate your accomplishments and help others strive to emulate your successes.
Joseph F. Johnson, Jr.