Magnet Schools of America Newsletter
     July 2018
Standing on Top of the Mountain -
MSA's Simpson Awardee for 2018

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, East Career and Technical Academy ( East Tech) in Las Vegas, Nevada stands tall as one of only 15 Magnet Schools of America nationally certified Demonstration Schools and the Dr. Ronald P. Simpson Distinguished Merit Award winner for 2018 - MSA's highest honor. Known as "The Mountain" by students, faculty and staff, East Tech empowers its learners to climb to the top and reach for success in an ever-changing technological world.
With eight different programs of study - construction tech, IT, culinary arts, health information management, medical professions, mechanical tech, education, and hospitality - East Tech attracts students from different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds to come together to study under one roof. And it pays off: East Tech outperforms its Nevada peers with a graduation rate of 99.6 percent - a particularly incredible feat as many East Tech students are the first in their families to graduate from high school.
Jayme Rawson, East Tech's Achievement Coach, reiterated this accomplishment at the Magnet Schools of America 2018 National Conference. "Our graduation rate far outpaces the graduation rate across the district and the state," she said. "We're very proud of that. We don't have magical kids - we have a magical place."
With 75 percent of the student body made up of first-generation college students, East Tech is particularly proud of its ability to prepare students for life after high school - through college, careers and beyond. Each of its eight program areas are centered in project-based learning and include tailored, real-world simulations, field trips to industry hubs and robust internship programs. 

All programs offer college credits for Career and Technical Education (CTE) coursework, and many students also receive a Certificate of Skill Attainment upon successful completion of their program of study. 

The school also partners with professional institutions across the state including Sunrise Hospital, PepsiCo, MGM, Clark County Water District, and Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance - all of which provide opportunities for students to explore workplace settings and evaluate their own potential professional track. Keep Reading>>

Meet the MSA Board  

MSA recently inducted the 2018-2020 Board of Directors, consisting of an Executive Committee, Specialized and Regional Directors, and Past Presidents. They provide not only a wealth of experience but in some cases critical historical perspectives to help make decisions that fulfill the mission of the organization.
The elected Executive Committee has expertise in curriculum design, intercultural responsiveness, sustainability, magnet theme implementation, MSAP grant management, leadership development, diversity, and integration. They serve in other organizations such as Human Relations, Civil Rights, Civic Education, Education Excellence and the USDOE. These leaders have advanced degrees in the fields of English, Music, Science, Gifted Education, Theatre, and Education Leadership. They are published authors and have won awards for service, leadership, scholastic activities, and peace efforts.

President - Susan King, a retired magnet administrator and MSAP project manager, advises districts on federal grant evaluation and compliance monitoring. King was the Treasurer of the Consortium of Magnets/Public Choice Schools, the forerunner of the Florida School Choice Consortium.


President Elect - 
Dr. Kim Morrison, Mount Airy City Schools Superintendent, has brought in federal funds and implemented STEAM district wide. Morrison has won two state leadership awards and was a finalist for the AASA national, "Women in School Leadership Award."

Immediate Past President - Sara Wheeler, Magnet Director for Lexington District 5, has won state and national awards in law related education. She has been the MSAP project director for four grants in two South Carolina districts.

Secretary - Dr. Donna Elam has won state, national, and international awards and has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for her work in Youth Development and Student Achievement .

Treasurer - Scott Thomas, Principal of Echo Park Elementary School, served as the Educational Equity Coordinator in his district and as the President of Magnet Schools of Minnesota.  


Parliamentarian - Dr. Robert Strickland,
Administrative Director of School Choice and Parental Options for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, is author of a series of textbooks and won the Founder's Award from the Educational Theatre Association.

The Board also includes directors and three previous presidents. The Specialized Directors (three elected and three appointed) include district and school level personnel and an experienced consultant. They have advanced degrees in Arts, Special Education and Education Leadership. They are experts in magnet administration, MSAP implementation, and Montessori and International Baccalaureate programs. 

The Regional Directors were elected by the membership at the national conference and include school and district level personnel as well as an educational consultant. Their degrees include Science, Biology, Sociology, Behavior and Social Sciences, Communication and Journalism, Computer Technology, Applied Arts, and Psychology. The Past Presidents include a former Executive Director, and two consultants.
Additional information can be found on the MSA website.

Specialized Directors -

Dr. Beth Cochran
Wake County, NC
Naisha Baidy 
Brooklyn, NY
Dr. Maria Hersey
Jupiter, FL
Dr. Michelle Frazier
Chicago, IL
Dr. Monika Wiley 
Jonesboro, GA
Prentiss Whitley
Houston, TX

Regional Directors -

Region 1 - Art Arpin 
East Hartford, CT
Region 2 - Corrine Roche
Baltimore County, MD
Region 3 - Evonne Alvarez
Miami-Dade, FL
Region 4 - Kim Marion
Durham, NC
Region 5 - Theresa Porter 
East Baton Rouge, LA
Region 6 - Ronald Hustvedt
Elk River, MN
Region 7 - Phyllis Cottner
Wichita, KS
Region 8 - Jayme Rawson
Clark County, NV
Voting Past Presidents -

Doreen Marvin 
William Magnotta 
Dr. Robert Brooks
Make the Commitment to 
Become  Nationally Certified

The National Institute for Magnet School Leadership (NIMSL) is continuing to accept applications to participate in the Standards of Excellence National Certification Program until July 30, 2018Be sure to sign-up to be identified as one of the premier magnet schools in the nation! The next cohort will begin the certification process this August and run through June of 2019. 

As your school participates in the nine-month certification process, it will submit evidence demonstrating how it meets each of the multiple indicators included in the Standards of Excellence. This includes providing specific examples of how your school incorporates best practices, promotes school diversity, improves student achievement, closes the achievement gap, integrates innovative theme-based curricula in all classes, and encourages parent and community involvement.

Schools that meet all the criteria within the Standards of Excellence will become nationally certified. Those that exceed the criteria will be recognized as Demonstration Schools. All schools that become nationally certified will be able to promote their prominent status in their community!

Do you have questions about National Certification? Please watch this  informational webinar to see if your school is ready to be certified. 

Coming this Fall - Register now! 

Register by the Early Bird Deadline  September 4, 2018  and SAVE!


Join us this October in Columbia, South Carolina as we take a "Deeper Dive" into the Five Pillars of Magnet Schools:
  • Diversity
  • Innovative Curriculum & Professional Development
  • Academic Excellence
  • High Quality Instructional Systems
  • Family and Community Partnerships
In collaboration with Lexington Richland School District 5 and Richland School District 2, we have an impressive line-up of speakers planned and award winning magnet schools to showcase. The conference will feature plenty of networking opportunities to share best practices and a close look at exemplary local magnet programs offered in the host districts during school site visits. 

Throughout the conference magnet school innovation and excellence will be on full display. Here is sample of what the region has to offer.      
  • 2018 Magnet School Superintendent of the Year
  • 2018 National Magnet School Principal of the Year
  • 2018 National Magnet School Teacher of the Year
  • 2018 Elementary Magnet School of Merit Award of Excellence
  • Five Demonstration Schools
  • Twenty-Four Certified Magnet Schools
  • Twenty-Five Merit Schools of Excellence
  • Forty-One Merit Schools of Distinction
Money for Magnets

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

The  Society of Aviation & Flight Educators is accepting applications for its K-12 Classroom Teacher Grant program.  Grants of up to $250 will be awarded to classroom teachers to incorporate aviation-themed lessons into their regular curriculum. Application Deadline: August 31, 2018

Project Learning Tree is accepting applications from schools for environmental service-learning projects through its GreenWorks! grants program. It is designed to help students make their schools more green and healthy by implementing recycling programs, conserving water and energy, improving air quality, or establishing school gardens and outdoor classrooms. Application Deadline: September 30, 2018

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, 2018

Through its Learning and Leadership program, the NEA Foundation awards grants of up to $2,000 to public school teachers, and public education support professionals for participation in high-quality professional development experiences such as summer institutes or action research. It also awards grants of up to $5,000 in support of group projects related to collegial study, including study groups, action research, lesson study, or mentoring experiences for faculty or staff new to an assignment. Application Deadline: October 15, 2018

American Electric Power (AEP) is accepting applications from pre-K-12 teachers for mini-grants in support of classroom projects during the 2018-19 school year.
Through the Teacher Vision Grant Program, AEP will award grants of up to $500 to projects that have an academic focus and a goal to improve student achievement. Priority will be given to projects that promote science, mathematics, technology, electrical safety, the study of energy and the environment, and energy efficiency. Application Deadline: February 22, 2019

Magnet Schools Making News

Florence Falatko's fifth-grade students at Cromwell Valley Elementary Magnet School do not learn mathematics sitting at their desks, taking notes as their teacher lectures at the whiteboard.  Instead, her students manage mock stock portfolios to learn decimals; they draw up blueprints for their dream houses...

Recent Northwest School of the Arts graduate and Blumey Award-winner ReneƩ Rapp won the "Best Performance by an Actress" award at the 10th Jimmy Awards on Monday night. Rapp was given the honor for her role in the magnet school's production of Big Fish. This year's Jimmy Awards were hosted by Tony-winner Laura Benanti and was held at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre.

More than 60 years after the Supreme Court's landmark ruling in  Brown v. Board of Education , most public schools in America's major cities  remain starkly divided  by race and class. But, the magnet schools in Hartford, CT, are exceptions. 

 "Cyber has an acute shortage of workers around the world, but particularly here in this country, so the more students we can get interested in the high school level, the better the chance we have of getting them through a program while they're still in high school."

Fourth and fifth graders of PS 140Q worked with teams of engineers, construction project managers, and designers as part of a STEAM  initiative to help create the park, allowing students to have agency in the decisions made for, as well as pride in, an area they would be spending their time in for fun, excitement, and relaxation.

New Waco ISD Tech Summit shows off blended learning possibilities

A small robot, about a cubic inch in size, glowed brightly as it rolled around desks and expanded minds during Waco ISD's inaugural Tech Summit on Thursday. Dozens of teachers attended the event at University High School to learn new classroom tools and earn professional development hours.

Eliot Arts  has  a rich history and a bright future. Its dedicated and diverse teachers are highly educated and experienced, inspiring and engaging students in relevant, rigorous curriculum. Eliot Arts' teachers connect traditional subjects with real-world experience using an arts-integrated approach; rather than teaching core classes in isolation, students learn math, science, social studies, and English through arts-infused demonstrations and performance tasks.

Southern Arizona's largest school district is making it easy to register your kids for the 2018-2019 school year. This is the Tucson Unified School District Enrollment Bus!

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


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Earlier Submission


October 23, 2018


November 20, 2018


November 20, 2018


December 11, 2018


January 15, 2019


Applications will be 
available at the beginning 
of the school year.

Mark Your

Fall Technical
Assistance Conference

October 3-5, 2018

DoubleTree by Hilton
Columbia, SC


Policy Training

February 6-8, 2019

Marriott Marquis
Washington, DC


37th National 
Conference on Magnet Schools

April 10-13, 2019

Baltimore Marriott Waterfront
Baltimore, MD

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