Magnet Schools of America Newsletter
    January 2018
Where Policy and the Classroom Intersect

It is not too late to register for the National Policy Training Conference February 7-9, 2018 in Washington, DC.  When you attend the conference you will have the opportunity to join other magnet school professionals in the nation's capital for three days of sessions, workshops, and networking activities that will keep you informed and prepared to navigate the education policy environment this year. 

High-Profile Speakers 
  • Randi Weingarten is the President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). She has been the leader of the 1.7 million member teachers union since 2008 and is a well recognized national voice for educators and defender of public education.
  • Jason Botel, Acting Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education will discuss 11 new priorities that the Administration plans to use when allocating $700 million in competitive grants this year. 
  • U.S. Congresswoman Virginia Foxx is serving her second year as chair of the House Committee on Education the Workforce.  Rep.  Foxx  is a prominent champion of career and technical education and will discuss the growing skills gap in the American workforce and how magnet schools can help prepare students for competitive careers. 
Key Education Policy Issues 

Crossfire Debate: Delivering on the Promise of School Choice
  • School choice has been heralded as the panacea for improving student achievement and increasing opportunities for low-income and minority students. Leading national voices on this hot topic will debate how school choice is delivering on its promise, where it's falling short, and what steps can be taken to improve public school choice options.
Aligning the Standards of Excellence with the Every Student Succeeds Act 
  • The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides flexibility to states for measuring student achievement and holding schools accountable for their performance. During this session, learn how the Five Pillars of Magnet Schools and the Standards of Excellence align with ESSA and how the national certification process can facilitate school improvement and help your schools meet state required performance benchmarks.
Programmatic Changes to MSAP From FY 2010 to FY 2017: A Trend Analysis
  • Competitive preference priorities and programmatic allowances for the Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) have changed over time. This presentation will examine these changes and review trend data from four cohorts. The MSAP team will discuss the effects and implications of the changes and highlight past cohorts' successes and challenges.
Conference Location

The conference will be held at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Washington, DC. M ake your room reservations  now! 

Marriott Marquis
901 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

The National Policy Training Conference is supported by:  

February is Magnet School Month 

This February join the celebration of National Magnet School Month. There are many  ways for you to participate and get involved! 

Be sure to download a copy of the Magnet School Month  logo and post it on your school website, and highlight it on social media. You can also use it in marketing and events materials.

If you haven't already, download our magnet school month proclamation
and have your state and local school district adopt it. Contact your governor's office, state legislators, and your local school board members and ask them to pledge their support. 

National Magnet School Month:

Week 1 - Awareness Week

Help us create excitement about National Magnet School Month by sending out press releases, writing blogs, posting messages on Facebook and Twitter, writing letters to the editor, and contacting your local media outlets.

Post Your Tweets: #MagMonth and @MagnetSchlsMSA 

Week 2 - Scream Your Theme Week

This is your time to shine by organizing special activities and events at your school and in your community that screams your magnet theme.

Week 3 - Bring Your Elected Officials to Work Week

Invite your federal, state, and local elected officials to your school so they can see it in action. Here's a guide to get you started. 

Week 4 - Show Your Appreciation Week

Finish National Magnet School Month strong by showing appreciation for the people that make your magnet school successful. Think of creative ways to say thank you to your principals, teachers, magnet coordinators, and staff.

Empower your teachers to bring relevant mobile app development & coding to students

Over 7 million job postings list coding as a required skill - which is more than half! Yet, coding isn't treated as a core competency by many schools. A former Yahoo executive put it best: "in a competitive job market, computer skills are as important as speaking another language and that computer coding is a skill more aligned with liberal arts than math or science." 

So, how do you start? How can you provide coding courses that both meet the need of the jobs in the market while providing an authentic experience to students? Let MobileMakersEdu help. 

As a unique and comprehensive program, MobileMakersEdu brings an authentic, experiential learning opportunity by helping you offer mobile apps development courses. Schools reported seeing over 300% growth in their Computer Science (CS) enrollment after implementing the MobileMakersEdu program, and students say it's often their favorite course. 

Part of a 4-year pathway - or easily integrated into your current CS pathways - the program provides teacher training, curriculum, and professional development on mobile app development. Students walk out of the course having built working mobile apps and go on to find success in AP CS courses, advanced programming courses, or even entrepreneurship courses.  

"It's one of my favorite courses so far, and I would take it again." 

~ Student survey, 2018

"App development has opened new opportunities for my students and myself. The problem solving skills they gained isn't like anything I have witnessed in my ten years of teaching. No matter what their career path, the skills gained will benefit them in the future." 

~ Paul H, High School Teacher

Money for Magnets

The Toshiba America Foundation is accepting applications from middle and high school teachers who are passionate about making science and mathematics more engaging for their students. Grant proposals for amounts of up to $5,000 are accepted on a rolling basis.

Learning and Leadership Grants 

The NEA Foundation is inviting applications for its Learning and Leadership Grants program. It provides funding to public school teachers and public education support professionals. Grants may be used for high-quality professional development experiences such as summer institutes or action research; or grants to groups to fund collegial study, action research, lesson study, or mentoring experiences for new faculty or staff.

The grant amount is $2,000 for individuals and $5,000 for groups. All groups must include partner information.  Application deadline:  February 1, 2018

Steelcase Education is accepting applications to its Active Learning Center Grants program. Grants awarded include furniture, a design review, installation, onsite training, and a Learning Environm ent Evaluation tool . Applicants may choose from four classroom styles for up to thirty students. Award packages are valued at up to $67,000.  Application Deadline: February 2, 2018

The McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation 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 strategies that encourage critical inquiry into their  classrooms and observe the effects of those strategies on their students. 

To be eligible for a grant, applicants must be a licensed K-12 teacher employed in a public school in the U.S. Apply early! The application system closes when it reaches 350 submissions. Submissions accepted January 15 - April 15, 2018

Teacher Vision Grants

American Electric Power (AEP) is accepting applications from pre-K through 12th grade teachers for mini-grants in support of classroom projects. AEP will award grants of up to $500 for projects that promote science, mathematics, technology, electrical safety, the balanced study of energy and the environment, and energy efficiency. Applicants must live or teach in the AEP service area or in a community with a major AEP facility. Application Deadline: February 23, 2018

The Rogers Foundation has issued a Request for Proposals for its Gift of Imagination program Grants of up to $25,000 will be awarded in support of any K-12 program or initiative in Clark County that increases student participation in, or exposure to, the arts or music. Priority will be given to schools that apply directly for funding. Application Deadline: March 23, 2018 

The  Ezra Jack Keats Foundation  is accepting applications from public schools and public libraries anywhere in the U.S for its mini-grants program. Grants of up to $500 will be awarded to help educators create special activities outside the standard curriculum and make time to encourage their students. Application Deadline: March 31, 2018

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. 

Through its Living in a Material World program, the ASM Materials Education Foundation will award twenty $500 grants for hands-on, curriculum-based K-12 projects that involve student observation, communications, mathematics, and science skills to enhance student awareness of the materials around them. 
K-12 teachers are eligible to apply. Application Deadline: May 25, 2018 

Magnets in the News

North Carolina is one of the national leaders in a school movement that since the 1970s has promoted diversity and educational choices for families, according to a new study on magnet schools.

Want to get your kid into Miami's top arts school? It's growing thanks to this designer

Khan - a  celebrity designer who has dressed BeyoncĂ©, Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton, to name a few - said the idea is to train a future generation of designers and entrepreneurs in an effort to revitalize Miami-Dade's fashion industry.

Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences in Chicago, Illinois. Located on the last working farm within Chicago's city limits, this magnet school has an interdisciplinary college-prep and agricultural curriculum with authentic assessments of student work and internships for all students. 

Pressure from consumers and new regulations have pushed the aquarium fish industry in a more sustainable direction, said Eric Litvinoff, the magnet school's director of aquaculture. "Now we're starting to see hobbyists who are starting to ask the question: 'Where did the fish come from?'" he said. "People are saying, 'Oh, it would be nice if it was  aquacultured .'"

What if Durham Public Schools had a college preparatory program that routinely sent students to top universities? Wouldn't parents and students beat down the door to enroll?

School leaders at Bishop Woods Architecture and Design Magnet School say the way students learn in the school's second year as a magnet school is through hands-on, project-based instruction - or by seeing and by doing. 

Governor Ivey said she wants the state's cybersecurity sector to be as robust and well-regarded as its aerospace program. She plans to achieve that goal with the formation of the Alabama School of Cyber-Technology and Engineering, which will be based in Huntsville -home of the Marshall Space Flight Center.

Third-graders who spend a class session in a natural outdoor setting are more engaged and less distracted in their regular classroom afterward than when they remain indoors, scientists found in a new study.

* Do you have exciting news to share about the magnet schools in your community? Please send them to: 


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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.

Celebrating Choice

January 21-27, 2018

Held every January, 
National School Choice Week is the world's largest celebration of opportunity 
in education.

To learn more, visit:

Mark Your

36th National 
Conference on 
Magnet Schools 

Chicago, IL
April 25-29, 2018

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