A Houston-area school district where 84 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch on Sept. 16 won the nation’s top prize in public education, winning $1 million for making strides in student achievement, reports the Associated Press. The Aldine Independent School District, which has been a finalist for four of the last six years, was honored for showing consistent student improvement over the last 10 years. The prize money goes to scholarships for graduating seniors who show financial need and academic improvement. The Broad Prize for Urban Education is given annually to an urban district that shows the strongest student performance, while closing achievement gaps between ethnic and racial groups. At the Aldine district office, where school officials and employees watched a live webcast of the announcement from Washington, D.C., the news was met with cheers, applause, and a few tears. "The people who went to the district were impressed by what was happening in classrooms, community support, and governance," said Eli Broad, founder of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. "It’s an example that if everyone works together, they can make things happen and they have."

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