Guilford County Schools has paid a Denver consulting firm almost $40,000 to do a simulation of the Broad Prize for Urban Education judging, according to a district news release.
The release says the researchers who did the Broad-based "diagnostic report" described Guilford as "a rising district nationally," but noted that it "still has more work to do before it can join the elite ranks of Broad Prize winners."
This year's winner is Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, where Guilford County Superintendent Maurice "Mo" Green got his start as an administrator. He was Peter Gorman's second-in-command before taking the job in Greensboro in 2008.
Like real Broad Prize judges, staff from RMC Research Corp. analyzed data and did a three-day visit that included classroom visits and focus-group interviews. The group rated Guilford on the Broad Prize Framework for School District Excellence and suggested improvements, such as more rigorous curriculum and more support for teachers.
The $38,600 cost, which includes follow-up services, was split between a Broad Foundation grant and money raised by the local Businesses for Excellence in Education.
Guilford, North Carolina's third-largest district after Wake and CMS, was one of four in North Carolina that was eligible for this year's Broad Prize, based on size and having at least 40 percent of students from minority groups and eligible for federal lunch aid to low-income families. Wake, with a 33 percent poverty level as measured by lunch subsidies, was not eligible.