Magnet Schools of America Newsletter
          March 2017
35th National Conference - Register Now! 
The 35th National Conference on Magnet Schools is on the horizon.
In just five short weeks, Magnet Schools of America will head to the City of Angels to Catch a Rising Star April 26-30 at the Westin Bonaventure Los Angeles. Register now!
During the conference you will have many opportunities to learn, exchange ideas, and take part in the annual celebration of magnet schools. 

Throughout the event, numerous professional development sessions will be held that cater to all magnet school professionals and grade levels. Below are a few examples of the exciting sessions you can plan to attend.
Blended Learning: Personalized Learning in a STEM Environment

What is Blended Learning and how can it create a personalized learning plan for students? This session will demystify the idea of blended learning and personalized learning. Audience members will have the opportunity to discuss their ideas and share their experiences while brainstorming how to enhance the student experience through blended and personalized learning.

Design Thinking through MakerSpaces

Making is quickly becoming an integral part of the education process as it allows students to apply knowledge and content to real-life problems. In this session, participants will be guided through the creative process that Eastern Technical High School used in designing and implementing a comprehensive makerspace for all students. 

Create a BUZZ with Partnerships

Brevard Public Schools has cultivated some high leverage partners since receiving MSAP funding, and those partnerships are creating gains for students. These have created a BUZZ in the community and beyond. Come to this session to learn how to create, cultivate, and sustain partnerships and the management required behind the scenes!  

MSA Los Angeles - School Tours 
The Millikan Musical Theatre program
is one of the most respected in the state.
In addition to conference sessions, attendees will visit some of Los Angeles Unified School District's most popular magnet programs.  See up close what makes these schools stand out among the rest!
Currently, over 70,000 students attend one of the district's 214 magnet programs. Here is a preview of the 25 magnet schools that will be on full display during the national conference. 
Elementary School

Wonderland has instituted a social, emotional and academic community-building practice that promotes active speaking and listening through storytelling.  Instructors and school leaders also work with expert trainers and coaches in the Reading and Writing Project from the Teachers College at Columbia University and UCLA math project for Cognitively Guided Instruction in Mathematics. 
Millikan Middle School  
Performing arts classes combine instruction in technique and history coupled with performance opportunities that strengthen community partnerships. The Musical Theatre and costume design classes at Millikan are truly unique and culminate in participation in major productions and statewide competitions. 
Van Nuys High School

Consistently ranked as one of America's best high schools, a US News and World Report Silver Academic Achievement school, and one of the largest advanced placement programs in California. Van Nuys HS holds one of the highest exam pass rates and highest SAT scores in LAUSD. 
To sign-up and participate in magnet school tours you must be registered for the national conference. To see a full description of all the tours that will take place, please visit 
Flying Colors
A monthly column focusing on MSA members

Mr. Matthew Waynee of LAUSD's Cinematic Arts and Engineering Magnet School (CAE), has an illustrious background. He proves the old idiom, "those who can, do; those who can't, teach," false - he does and teaches (well). From his first years post undergrad in Teach for America (TFA) teaching at a rural high school in Texas, to his ongoing work in the film industry and his dedication to his current role as a Cinematic Arts teacher at CAE, Mr. Waynee's career is quite a balancing act and his success proves that it's all worth it. 

Matthew Waynee was named National Magnet School Teacher of the Year at MSA's 34th National Conference last spring in Miami, FL. He was honored, in part, for his colorful resume and his success inside and outside of the classroom. He also goes above and beyond for his school. Not only has Waynee added new classes to CAE's course offerings but he's also garnered new funds to support these programs by writing and winning grants. Finally, he's enhanced his students' classroom experiences by building community and professional partnerships.

A Hollywood screenwriter, University of Notre Dame and USC Alumni, TFA alumni, and college professor, Matthew Waynee brings a wealth of experience to his classroom. Mr. Waynee began teaching full time at CAE three years ago and has lead the development of a rich cinematic arts focused curriculum by expanding course offerings from one film class to courses in Acting, Creative Writing, Digital Photography, Media Studies, Film History, Broadcast Journalism, Filmmaking 1 & 2, Cartoon and Animation, and more.

Waynee says, "In every course I teach I seek to make the content relevant to my students' interests and to keep the technology they use current so that students are prepared for the media workforce should they choose to pursue a career in film." Keep Reading...

2017 Regional Principals of the Year

MSA is pleased to announce
the recipients of its Regional Principal of-the-Year Awards for 2017. Through a competitive application process, these individuals are annually selected from MSA's eight regions. They will be recognized during Magnet Schools of America's 35th National Conference in Los Angeles, CA April 26-30, 2017. They are all eligible to be selected as the National Magnet School Principal of-the-Year on the last day of the conference.

These school leaders are recognized for setting high expectations within their schools and communities. They have demonstrated a strong commitment to theme-based education and maximizing learning opportunities for all students. Congratulations to all of these outstanding magnet school leaders! 

Region IGrace Nathman, Quinnipiac Real World Math STEM School,
New Haven Public Schools, Connecticut

Region IIMurray G. 'Buddy' Parker III, Western School of Technology & Environmental Science, Baltimore County Public Schools, Maryland

Region IIIRosette Brown, Ronald McNair Magnet Middle School, Brevard
Public Schools, Florida  

Region IV - Felecia M. Locklear, Brooks Museums Magnet Elementary School, Wake County Public School System, North Carolina

Region VDeMarcus Green, Vera Kilpatrick Elementary School, Texarkana Arkansas School District, Arkansas 

Region VIThomas E. Sims, Dickinson Fine Arts Academy, South Bend Community School Corporation, Indiana 

Region VII - Gregory Croomes, L'Ouverture Career Explorations and Technology Magnet, Wichita Public Schools USD No. 259, Kansas

Region VIIIPam Perkins, Salvador Magnet School, Napa Valley
Unified School District, California 

2017 Regional Teachers of the Year 
It is our honor to announce the 2017 Regional Teachers of-the-Year. These awards  recognize outstanding magnet school teachers who exemplify excellence in the classroom. The recipients of the awards will be recognized during Magnet Schools of America's National Conference in Los Angeles, CA. They  are all eligible to be chosen as the National Magnet School Teacher of-the-Year. 

We are proud to acknowledge these magnet educators for their dedication and tremendous skill in the classroom. They are also recognized for their demonstrated leadership within their schools and communities. 
Congratulations to all these superb magnet school educators!
Region I  - Andrea Sias, Global Experience Magnet School, Bloomfield Public Schools, Connecticut 

Region II - Bethany A. Birago, Western School of Technology & Environmental Science, Baltimore County Public Schools, Maryland

Region III - Danielle Miller, University High School, Orange County Public Schools, Florida 
Region IV - Sonya Drum, Washington Gifted and Talented Magnet Elementary School, Wake County Public School System, North Carolina 

Region V - Michael Dudas, Ball High School, Galveston Independent School District, Texas 

Region VI - Richard Gutierrez, Fairview STEM Magnet School, Lansing School District, Michigan

Region VII - Stephanie Doshier, L'Ouverture Career Explorations and Technology Magnet, Wichita Public Schools Unified School District No. 259, Kansas 

Region VIII - Anne Fennell, Mission Vista High School, Vista Unified School District, California
Lessons Learned
By Ron Hustvedt: 2014 National
Magnet School Teacher of the Year  

If you've been living in the real world for any number of years you can probably rip off a bunch of different cliches about the need for change, embracing it, how it's an opportunity for growth and so on and so forth. 

Change is scary and often those cliches are tossed at us by people who are about to impose it upon us as they see fit. That's not how it has to be, however, and Gandhi dished out the best advice when he told us to "Be the change you want to see in the world." My hope is that your magnet program has the staff, leadership and structure to be able to make this a reality. 

It's not a simple process, but it's certainly a necessary one and while it's messy, with many heads and hands involved it can turn out quite elegantly in the end. The STEM magnet school where I teach at in Elk River, Minnesota (suburb northwest of Minneapolis) recently went through a significant change with our school themes because we felt it was time to do so and necessary to reinvigorate our program. 

The changes we made to our themes comes not at a low point in our overall school performance, but a high point. Our school was recently recognized as a top performer in the state and we have seen powerful growth in statewide assessment measures. Our commitment to having a diverse student body continues and our school population of students of color is double the district average with ongoing recruitment efforts showing further growth. 

Key to that process was having a group of teachers, newer to our program, attend the MSA conference last year in Miami. We are bringing a different group of teachers, myself included, to Los Angeles this year for the MSA conference and are excited for more fresh ideas to keep our momentum building. I look forward to seeing all of you in Los Angeles April 26-30 and invite you to share with me your magnet school story. Keep Reading...

Mobilizing for Magnet Schools

U.S. Congressman David Jolly visits a magnet school in Pinellas County. 
Between April 8 - April 23 the United States Congress will be on a two week recess. This means your elected officials will be in their home states and districts. They will be using this time to meet with their constituents to learn about their priorities and interests. We encourage you to invite them to
tour your magnet school.

Members of Congress will be looking for opportunities to make public
appearances and observe innovative education programs like yours. Their schedules fill-up quickly, so please reach out to them as soon as possible.

We have created this step-by-step guide that includes tips for hosting a
successful school tour, a sample invitation letter, as well as talking points and background materials to use during their visit.

Now is a crucial time to be engaged and proactive! When Congress returns to session after the recess it will determine the fate of future federal magnet school funding. Currently, the Magnet Schools Assistance Program, is slated for elimination in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Therefore, we need your help to educate our nation's political leaders about the most successful form of public school choice before they return to Washington, DC. You can make a real difference!

Please plan to open your school doors and showcase how your magnet program is preparing students for the future!

Magnet School Principal Openings  

Hartford Public Schools is pleased 
to announce the following two principal positions.

Principal, Sport and Medical Sciences Academy

Sport and Medical Sciences Academy (SMSA) is a college-preparatory middle & high school with a focus on sport and medical sciences. Students receive a rigorous foundation in language arts, mathematics, and science. These disciplines are applied in the core curriculum with hands-on, experiential learning. Our core beliefs - dedication, responsibility, discipline, and respect (Dr.Dr.) - are embedded into students' educational experiences to promote development of social consciousness and leadership skills.

Principal, Montessori Magnet School at Annie Fisher 

In our multi-age classrooms, academic disciplines are not subjects to be studied, they are lenses through which we examine the world and society. In this environment children develop a life-long love for learning. Care of the environment and responsibility to community are natural outcomes of our beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces. As part of the Hartford Public Schools' Montessori Initiatives, we are proud to offer Education for Life for children.

Learn more about these positions on our  job openings webpage

Coding is an essential skill for students

With the MobileMakersEdu 
program students create
mobile apps as they learn
to code. 

Even more, kids become empowered to solve and eliminate problems they face - in ways they never would've imagined. For example, Mobile Makers students have built: an app that manages the casting call process for a high school musical (no more embarrassing bulletin board posts for ALL to see!), an app to track the school's basketball teams stats, an app to pre-order at their school's coffee shop.

The MobileMakersEdu curriculum and professional development brings relevant, current iOS programming language to students. Students' projects are 'tangible' - not just lines of code. It's authentic and relatable to kids, not just theory. Not only that, students build real-world skills -- 90% of MME students believe the class helped with problem solving skills across the board.

Test drive MobileMakersEdu at a virtual workshop

"One of the best workshops I have ever attended" ... Teacher, workshop attendee, 1/17

Register Now Button April 6, 2017, 2 PM - 4 PM CST

1. Explore App Development with Swift curriculum
2. See how to develop a basic mobile app
3. Learn how this class integrates with other CS courses    & pathways

*No prior computer science, programming or coding skills required* 

To learn more contact us at or Join us for an upcoming webinar: Learn how our students make iphone apps - yours can too!

Magnet Funding Opportunities 

The McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation's Teacher Development Grants support small teams of teachers in the formation and implementation of K-12 classroom instruction. The grants provide opportunities for teachers to integrate innovative instruction strategies that encourage critical inquiry, and to observe the effects of those strategies on students. Application Deadline: April 15, 2017 

Through its Living in a Material World program, the ASM Materials Education Foundation will award twenty grants of $500 each in support of hands-on curriculum-based K-12 projects that involve student observation, communications, mathematics, and science skills and enhance student awareness of the materials around them. K-12 teachers are eligible to apply. Application Deadline: April 21, 2017 

NEA Foundation Learning and Leadership Grants -  The program provides grants to public school teachers and public education support professionals to fund participation in high-quality professional development experiences. The grant amounts are $2,000 for individuals and $5,000 for groups. Application Deadline: June 1, 2017

Crayola, in collaboration with the National Association of Elementary School Principals, is accepting applications for the 2017 Creative Leadership Grant program. The program will award up to twenty grants of $2,500 each for innovative, creative, leadership-building programs in elementary schools. In addition, each program will receive an in-kind grant of Crayola products valued at $1,000. Application Deadline: June 23, 2017 

Toshiba America Foundation is accepting grant applications from K-5 grade school teachers for innovative science or math projects in their own classroom. The foundation awards individual grants of up to $1,000 in support of hands-on science or math education projects. Application Deadline: October 1, 2017 

Magnets in the News

Whereas most of the energy in the school choice debates has focused on vouchers and charter schools, relatively little attention has been paid to another important choice model that serves as many students as charters and has been in existence for longer-magnet schools.

For students on coach Rachel Kuntz's Lego Leaders team, building is just the start of the challenge. At a typical session, students rapidly tap commands into a pad on the back of a robot built of Legos, then watch hopefully as it rolls into a maze of strange constructions and rolls back after completing a task. 

A U.S. Poet Laureate brought the love of literature to Davis Bilingual Elementary Magnet School just ahead of the Tucson Festival of Books. Renowned poet and children's book author Juan Felipe Herrera visited the school on Friday.

Celentano Biotech, Health and Medical Magnet School is celebrating all things Dr. Seuss this week and I felt lucky enough today to join in that celebration reading to the students some of their Dr. Seuss favorites.

Zac West came to Alabama to take a break from his busy career as a costume designer. He's ended up on a working vacation, providing support for Beverlye Magnet School's upcoming production of "Willy Wonka, Jr." a version of "Charlie and The Chocolate Factory."

Teachers at Johns Hill Magnet School are game to try anything during professional development, even creating a tableau about East and West Germany during the Cold War.


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Schools Students Want. Schools Students Need. 

MISSION: Providing leadership for high quality innovative instructional programs that promote choice, equity, diversity, and academic excellence 
for all students.

Group Rate
Ends Soon!

The National Conference 
will be held at the Westin Bonaventure. Be sure to reserve your room by
Wednesday, April 5 
and take advantage of our discounted group rate.

Regional Director

We are now soliciting applications from individuals who are interested in running for  Regional Director 
positions for regions 
1,3,5, and 7.

If you would like to 
run for a position, please apply by April 7th.

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