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Miami school district win prestigious urban prize

MIAMI — One of the country’s most prestigious education prizes was awarded Tuesday to the Miami-Dade County public schools for improving student achievement, raising the graduation rates of minority students, and increasing the percentage of minorities reaching advanced levels on state exams.

Miami-Dade, the country’s fourth-largest school district, had been a finalist for the Broad Prize for Urban Education five times before winning the honor this year. National education officials announced the award in New York.

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Miami-Dade will receive $550,000 in scholarships for students who demonstrate financial need and academic improvement. Three school districts were chosen as finalists and will receive $150,000 each: the Palm Beach, Fla., district; the Corona-Norco district in Riverside County, Calif.; and the Houston public schools.

Miami-Dade County public schools includes the city of Miami and enrolls nearly 350,000 students. Ninety percent of the district’s students are black or Hispanic and for 21 percent, English is not their primary language.

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