ABC News' Mary Bruce Reports: The White House and the Education Department announced today the six finalists in the first annual Race To The Top Commencement Challenge. Launched in February, the competition invited public high schools to submit applications showing their commitment to improving education and graduating students college- and career-ready. At stake for the winners is the opportunity to have President Obama deliver the commencement address at their high school this spring.
“I congratulate the six finalists for demonstrating effective approaches to teaching, learning and preparing students to graduate ready for college and a career,” President Obama said in a written statement. “The quality of the applications we received is a testament to the exciting work happening in schools throughout the country, and I look forward to visiting and speaking at the winning school later this spring.”
Over the coming weeks, each school’s students will create a short video highlighting how the school best meets the Challenge’s criteria. The videos, along with portions of the school’s written applications, will be featured on the White House website and the public will have an opportunity to vote for the schools they think should win. Obama will then select the ultimate winner from a narrowed list of three finalists.
“These six schools represent just a few of the stories of success that are happening all across the country,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement. “We won’t accomplish the President’s national goal of leading the world in college completion by 2020 without the hard work and dedication of the school leaders, teachers and students exemplified by our six final high schools.”
The six finalists are:
• Blue Valley Northwest High School (Overland Park, Kansas)
• Clark Montessori Junior High and High School (Cincinnati, Ohio)
• Denver School of Science and Technology (Denver, Colorado)
• Environmental Charter High School (Lawndale, California)
• Kalamazoo Central High School (Kalamazoo, Michigan)
• MAST Academy (Miami, Florida)