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Denver Charter School Network Wins Broad Prize for Closing Achievement Gaps

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A Denver-based network of charter schools has won the 2018 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools.

The Broad Prize, launched by Los Angeles-based billionaire philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad, annually recognizes charter school management organizations that have made significant progress in closing achievement gaps between low-income minority students and their wealthier peers.

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DSST Public Schools operates 13 charter schools in Denver, educating more than 5,000 students. While the majority of the charter network's students are from low-income minority families, 100 percent of its graduates have been accepted into four-year colleges and universities, according to a press release from the Broad Foundation and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. The Broad Prize Review Board also said DSST's efforts to cultivate a diverse student body helped clinch the award.

The other two finalists were Achievement First and Uncommon Schools.

The Broad Foundation has been influential in shaping the charter school sector both in Los Angeles and beyond. Although most charter schools nationally are independent from networks, CMOs account for 26 percent of all charters and that number continues to grow, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. That growth has been fueled with money from philanthropists like Broad as well as the federal government.

The announcement was made Monday at the 2018 National Charter Schools Conference. Hosted by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, it's largest annual gathering of charter school advocates and leaders in the country. It's taking place this year in Austin, Texas.

This is the first year the prize has been announced since Eli Broad has stepped down from the day-to-day running of his foundation.

The winner receives $250,000 to put toward college readiness efforts for its students.

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