Magnet Schools of America Newsletter
           April 2017
35th National Conference on Magnet Schools
Get ready for next week's 35th National Conference on Magnet Schools hosted by Los Angeles Unified School District. We promise, MSA Los Angeles 2017 will be an amazing experience that you don't want to miss! 

During the annual event, attendees will experience a multitude of professional development and networking opportunities. The conference will feature keynote speeches, awards ceremonies, breakout sessions, magnet school tours, student performances, scholarship announcements, and exhibitions. Through its national merit awards program, MSA will also recognize the accomplishments of our nation's most exemplary magnet schools. 

Conference Breakout Sessions

Start planning your time during the national conference by reviewing the
list of sessions that will be occurring throughout the event. 

Guest Speaker

An original Freedom Writer whose story is told in part in the 2007 hit movie, Freedom Writers, Manny Scott has energized over a million leaders, educators, volunteers, and students worldwide with his inspiring messages of hope.

School Tours

During the event, attendees will visit some of LAUSD's premier magnet programs. In all, the district offers 214 magnet programs that serve over 70,000 students.  To see a full description of all the magnet school tours that will take place, please visit  If you are registered for the conference and still need to sign-up for a school tour click here  

Regional Meetings & Annual Business Meeting

On the second day of the conference catch up with colleagues and discuss regional news and events. During the afternoon, plan to attend our Annual Business meeting where you will be able to hear about ongoing Magnet Schools of America national activities. 

Red Carpet Afterparty

The national conference will culminate with a Red Carpet Afterparty that will be held at the Wesitn Bonaventure
. The final event will include food, drinks, music and dancing. We will also announce our top merit awards, District Award for Magnet Sustainability, and National Principal and Teacher of the Year Awards. 

MSA is proud to recognize the 35th National Conference Supporters:

Flying Colors
A monthly column focusing on MSA members

LAUSD's Student Integration Services
Office Director, Keith Abrahams. 
Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is the second largest school district in the nation. It boasts a diverse student population, a multitude of schools (approximately 900), and reaches beyond the city limits to serve students in 31 smaller, surrounding municipalities. What makes LAUSD even more unique is their focus on racial integration. 

In order to meet the needs of their diverse student population, prevent racial isolation, and prepare students to navigate an increasingly more globalized society, LAUSD's Student Integration Services Office finds ways to provide more choices to students and their families. The office serves as a support system in matters concerning the socioeconomic and cultural diversity represented by the district's student population - this includes compliance and policy issues as well as the creation and support of magnet spaces within the district.

The office's director, Keith Abrahams, has been involved with LAUSD for 31 years (including his years in the system as student). He says that, "LAUSD has a large population of high achieving students from low socioeconomic backgrounds." His office works hard to support this population and see to it that they are continually engaged and achieving at high levels. Much of what the Office of Student Integration Services does is incredibly personal to Abrahams. His experience as a student in the district informs his approach to supporting diversity across the district today. Keep Reading...

Meet the Candidates for Regional Director

During the 35th National Conference on Magnet Schools members of Magnet Schools of America will vote for Regional Directors from MSA's odd numbered regions. Voting will take place in-person during Regional Meetings held on Friday morning April 28.  Before attending the meeting and placing your vote, please take time to review the profiles of the candidates running for these elected positions listed below.
Region 1
  • Art Arpin, Educational Consultant, East Hartford, CT 
Region 3
  • Evonne S. Alvarez, Principal, New World School of the Arts, Miami, FL
  • Robert Cox, Supervisor, Magnet Programs, Hillsborough County Public Schools, Tampa, FL
  • Peggy Dupee, Assistant Principal, Center For Wellness and Medical Professions, Pinellas County Schools, Largo, FL
  • Maria S. Hersey, Ph.D., Principal Advisor, Global Education Advisors, Jupiter, FL
  • Tammy Summerville, Ed.D., Director of Magnet Schools, Huntsville City Schools, Huntsville, AL
Region 5
  • Theresa Porter, Director of Magnet Programs, East Baton Rouge Parish School System, LA
Region 7
  • Kim Burkhalter, Ed.D., Director, Equity/Diversity and Magnet Programs, Wichita Public Schools, KS
MSA Bylaws Updates 

The Board of Directors of Magnet Schools of America is recommending changes to MSA's Bylaws. Please see this copy of the Bylaws with the proposed added language highlighted, and deletions crossed through. Also see these explanations of each proposed change.

These proposed changes must be approved by the membership of MSA. They will be voted on during the Annual Business Meeting on April 28, 2017 during the National Conference in Los Angeles. If you would like to propose an amendment and will not be in attendance to do so at the Business Meeting,  or if you have any comments or questions about the proposed changes, please feel free to send an email to MSA's Executive Director, Todd Mann at the following email address:

Building Support for Magnet Schools

This month Congressman Joe Courtney submitted a joint letter on behalf of Magnet Schools of America to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee requesting additional funding for the Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP). 

It was signed by 25 other influential Members of Congress including the Ranking Member of the House Education and Workforce Committee Bobby Scott, the Chair of the Congressional STEAM Caucus, several members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

This letter is used in the annual budget process to gauge congressional support for federal education programs. Through grassroots messaging and in-person meetings with congressional leaders, members of Magnet Schools of America and staff were able to secure signatories to this important letter.

Please see a copy of the letter to see if your Member of Congress pledged their support for magnet schools this year.

Education Grants and Funding 

Money bag with dollar sign and money tree growing out of top isolated on white
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 

Kinder Morgan Foundation supports K-12 programs that promote the academic and artistic interests of young people in cities and towns across North America where Kinder Morgan operates. Grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded for academic programs, including tutoring; arts; and environmental education programs. Application deadlines are the tenth of every other month beginning in January. 

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 

Career Opportunities

The San Antonio Independent School District is launching a new Office of Innovation and is looking for a talented individual for the following position.

Senior Director, Office of
Access and Enrollment (OAE)

Reporting to the Chief Innovation Officer, the Senior Director of the OAE's core responsibilities will include, but will not be limited to managing the annual application, selection, and notification process for a diverse and growing portfolio of innovative 21st century school models (i.e. STEM; Montessori; IB; in-district charter schools; magnets; etc.) and other strategic access and enrollment initiatives. Full Announcement

Director of Musical Studies 

Center for Creative Arts in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is seeking a director of the musical theatre program. This is a full-time teaching position with the Hamilton County Department of Education, and includes a full benefits package and all school holidays/breaks (including summers off). 

Center for Creative Arts is located in a thriving mid-size city and is an award-winning public arts magnet middle and high school offering a full academic program with extensive coursework in: acting, communications, dance, instrumental music, musical theatre, technical theatre, visual art, and vocal music. Full Announcement

Magnets in the News
Minority student enrollment surged by nearly 50 percent there in the past five years, mirroring the growth in kids of color across Minneapolis Public Schools magnets.

New York schools have a problem, as do many other schools across our nation. Our children are so segregated from others who aren't of similar backgrounds that they have difficulty relating to the world at large.

There's a new type of learning in Springfield that's getting the attention of the governor and the nation. It's known as the empowerment zone and consists of 8 middle and high schools in the district.

Austin's top magnet schools, the nationally-recognized Liberal Arts and Science Academy and Kealing Middle School, will welcome a more diverse group of students to their campuses beginning this fall.

Students from Tucson's Palo Verde High Magnet School will head to Houston next week to put the robot they built to the test against others from around the world. Palo Verde's robotics team won a regional competition in Phoenix Saturday. A $5,000 award from NASA will help pay for their trip to Texas.

Reading, writing and reality: Today's students are growing up in a world where facts aren't what they once were. But California's schools are helping students navigate the era of "fake news" and "alternative facts," thanks in part to the Common Core State Standards.

Dunn, a senior at Wake Forest University and defensive end on the football team, and Wake education professor Alan Brown have spent the school year at Paisley IB Magnet School working with a group of eighth-grade boys - all bright, but unengaged academically - in an after-school sports literacy club.


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