New Pozen Prize to Recognize Excellence in Charter School

October 10, 2013

Pozen Prize logoBoston Foundation President and CEO Paul S. Grogan and philanthropist Robert Pozen announced the Pozen Prize for Charter Schools Wednesday, an annual $80,000 award that will recognize a Boston-area charter school for sustained academic excellence.

The prize, which will be announced by June of 2014, is meant to complement the EdVestors “School on the Move” award, which is given each year to a Boston public district school that has made exemplary progress in educating all of its students.

Mr. Grogan told a group of educators and charter school officials that the success of Boston charters has been too impressive to ignore. “We were dazzled and excited when our good friend Bob Pozen stopped by to talk about the prize he and his wife Elizabeth wanted to establish,” he said. Noting that more than 70 percent of Boston charter schools are rated Level 1 – the highest possible ranking – Mr. Grogan called the charter school movement “fundamental to the prospects for district turnarounds.”

Robert Elizabeth Pozen Prize Robert Pozen is a former top executive of Fidelity Investments and MFS Investment Management, who now serves as a Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Business School and a Senior Research Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Elizabeth Pozen is a retired psychotherapist who is now focusing on her career as a figurative artist.

Mr. Pozen said people should not view charters as “separate and competitive with regular schools,” but instead “another alternative way for parents and students to get a quality education.” He cited longer school days, added emphasis on arts and science and gifted teachers as essential ingredients in the success of charters, and added that he hoped the prize would “encourage charter schools to try out new things.”

Marc Kenen, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, thanked the Pozens and the Boston Foundation for establishing the prize. “These kinds of prizes will promote even more collaboration and bring us into the mainstream,” he said. “The goal is to help all children succeed.”

Commonwealth Charter schools (charters run independently of local school districts) with three strong years of performance on the state’s MCAS exams will be invited to apply for the Pozen Prize, said Elizabeth Pauley, Education to Career Program Director at the Boston Foundation. She and other Foundation staff will assist a team of volunteer judges who will consider the applications, visit the schools, interview staff and do qualitative and quantitative analyses to determine the winner.