The National Center for Urban School Transformation at San Diego State University has named five Brownsville schools as winners of 2020 Best Urban Schools awards including a gold, three silver and a bronze designation.
The Brownsville Independent School District has garnered Best Urban Schools awards at various schools since 2015. The awards program is run by the National Center for Urban School Transformation at San Diego State University.
This year, AX Benavides Elementary won a gold award, while Gallegos, Gonzalez and Hudson elementary schools earned silver awards and Hanna Early College High School won a bronze designation.
NCUST announced the winners during a virtual awards ceremony from San Diego State on Tuesday. School principals and BISD administrators viewed the ceremony live at the Robert B. Buchannan Performance Center at Hanna.
The awards are based on stringent eligibility criteria.
“Typically, when schools learn about the high level of academic results they must demonstrate, they realize they don’t qualify” and don’t enter, Joseph F. Johnson Jr., NCUST executive director, has said.
Johnson characterized Tuesday’s ceremony as an attempt to “add an exclamation point after your magnificent efforts to model both educational equity and excellence for our nation.” He said the awards recognize students as “the ultimate reason why we all engage in this work” and said all stakeholders at the awarded schools demonstrated how to “transform schools into places where all students learn.”
In a normal school year the ceremony would have been held in May in San Diego. This year it was delayed because of the global coronavirus pandemic and held remotely.
BISD Superintendent Rene Gutierrez noted that BISD earned more Best Urban Schools awards this year than any other school district in the nation. “BISD is here to provide a quality education to all students,” he said.
Benavides third-grader Madison Schwangler said the teachers at her school had taught her things that will be helpful later in life, among them “to be kind, respectful and responsible.” Madison, the 2020 speech contest winner at Benavides, gave her speech during the awards ceremony.
“What I love mostly about my school is that the teachers and staff always encourage us to be who we are and follow our dreams,” she said.
WATCH THE CEREMONY: