joe_johnson_web.jpgFORT LAUDERDALE — The National Center for Urban School Transformation has named the Broward County Public Schools’ William Dandy Middle School a 2012 winner of the NCUST National Excellence in Urban Education Award, which celebrates America’s best urban schools.

“If every school in America served diverse populations of students as well as the National Excellence in Urban Education Award schools, achievement gaps would be eliminated,” said Joseph F. Johnson Jr., executive director of the National Center for Urban School Transformation at the San Diego State University College of Education.

Each year since 2006, NCUST has honored what it calls “phenomenal schools.” The goals of the award program are to recognize the talent, dedication, and hard work of urban school educators and students; educate the public about the accomplishments and potential of urban schools; provide a benchmark of excellence that motivates the reform efforts of urban schools and districts; and deepen the knowledge base of best practices for promoting urban school transformation.

In announcing its winners, the organization called this year’s competition the most competitive field of applicants it has had to review. From the list of 27 finalists, William Dandy in Fort Lauderdale was selected as one of 14 best of the best among schools across the country that had achieved phenomenal successes.       

In making that decision, NCUST officials conducted one-day site visits to each finalist school, looking for evidence of high achievement, rigorous curriculum, excellent instruction and enthusiastic engagement. The schools in which they found the greatest evidence of these elements became winners of the 2012 award and with it a cash award of $2,500.  Winners will be recognized at the Excellence in Urban Education National Symposium, May 23-25 in San Diego, CA.

Sixty-two elementary, middle and high schools in 40 districts and 17 states have won the awards. William Dandy Middle was a finalist and winner in 2008 and becomes the first school in the nation to be a two-time winner of the award in the history of the NCUST.

Photo: Joe Johnson