1. Headline
  1. Headline
TODAY
updated 4/23/2010 2:37:30 PM ET 2010-04-23T18:37:30

The White House and the Department of Education have announced that voting for the winner of the first annual Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge will begin Monday, April 26.

From 8 a.m. ET on Monday, April 26 through 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 29, the public will have an opportunity to review and rate a 3-minute video and short essay from each of the six high school finalists at www.WhiteHouse.gov/Commencement. President Obama will select the national winner from the three high schools with the highest average ratings. The Commencement Challenge winner will be announced on Tuesday, May 4, 2010 and the president will visit the winning high school to deliver the commencement address later this spring.

Voters are encouraged to rank the finalists based on the criteria of the Commencement Challenge, including:

  • Educational success of the school as an example for other high schools around the country;
  • The ability of the school to engage students in learning and to foster personal responsibility and academic excellence, and
  • The success of the school in preparing students to graduate college- and career-ready, to help meet the president’s 2020 goal that America have the highest proportion of college graduates of any nation in the world.

The Commencement Challenge, launched in late February, invited the nation’s public high schools to submit applications showing their dedication to providing students with an excellent education that will prepare them to graduate ready for college and career choices. Applications were judged based on the schools’ performance, four essay questions and supplemental data.

The six finalists were selected for their dedication to academic excellence and for showing how they are helping prepare students tograduate college and career ready, and prepared to meet the president’s goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.

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)

Complete details of the voting and selection process appear below:

Rating the finalists
On Monday, April 26, 2010 at 8 a.m. ET, public review and rating of the six high school finalists in President Obama’s High School Commencement Challenge will begin at www.WhiteHouse.gov/Commencement. A 3-minute video and short essay from each school will highlight how it best satisfies the criteria of the Commencement Challenge. Visitors to the website can view each finalist’s video and written submission, presented in random order. For each school, visitors are encouraged to watch the video and read the essay question before deciding on a rating. Visitors will be allowed to rate the finalists on a scale of 1-5 (with 1 as the lowest rating and 5 as the highest). After a rating is submitted, the next school’s video and essay question will be presented for review and rating until all six schools have been viewed.  The ability to rate videos will end at 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 29, 2010.

Rating criteria
Voters are encouraged to rank the finalists based on the criteria of the Commencement Challenge including:

  • Educational success of the school as an example for other high schools around the country;
  • The ability of the school to engage students in learning and to foster personal responsibility and academic excellence;
  • and the success of the school in preparing students to graduate college- and career-ready, to help meet the president’s 2020 goal that America have the highest proportion of college graduates of any nation in the world.

Determining the winner
At the end of the rating period (April 26, 2010 at 8 a.m. ET to April 29, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. ET), the three schools with the highest average ratings will be submitted to President Obama for final selection. The winner of the Commencement Challenge will be announced on Tuesday, May 4, 2010.

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

TODAY's Takeaway
  1. TODAY

    Savannah overshares; Billy Crystal brings ‘700 Sundays’ to TV

    4/18/2014 8:29:08 PM +00:00 2014-04-18T20:29:08
  1. Doomed South Korean ferry’s captain taken into custody

    The captain of the sunken ferry in South Korea was taken into custody Friday and is facing five charges, including criminal negligence.

    4/18/2014 8:35:55 PM +00:00 2014-04-18T20:35:55
  2. Did South Korea ferry’s sharp turn cause it to sink?
  3. Teen ferry survivors comforted in devastated town
  1. Courtesy of Shawn Stock

    'You helped me': After 23 years, Desert Storm veteran thanks pen pals

    4/18/2014 8:51:52 PM +00:00 2014-04-18T20:51:52
  1. Courtesy of Kristen Hazelwood Jo

    Kids scared of the Easter Bunny? Well, look at him!

    4/18/2014 7:18:23 PM +00:00 2014-04-18T19:18:23
  1. This weekend on TODAY: Apps to keep teens from texting and driving

    Janice Lieberman takes a look at three new apps that are designed to keep your teens safe behind the wheel. Also, Ed Weeks from “The Mindy Project," the right way to cook a perfect Easter ham and more.

    4/18/2014 4:41:45 PM +00:00 2014-04-18T16:41:45