Magnet Schools of America Newsletter
     June 2018
This Summer - 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. 

Fall Conference - 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 with fellow magnet school leaders and educators. The event will also include a close look at exemplary local magnet programs during interactive 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
Legislative Update

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations released a draft bill detailing funding for the U.S. Department of Education and all its programs for the next fiscal year beginning on October 1. The legislation includes a $43 million increase for USDOE. In total, the department would receive $70.9 billion to support K-12 education, special education services, and higher education/student loan programs. 

The legislation would also provide $105 million for the Magnet Schools Assistance Program(MSAP), sustaining the $7.3 million increase provided to the program last fiscal year. The release of the bill is the first major step in the legislative process. It must still be approved by the full House chamber, the U.S. Senate, and ultimately be signed by the president. We encourage you to contact your legislators and urge them to support magnet school funding in next year's budget. 

In a major development for school integration efforts, the bill would also eliminate two long standing provisions that have been in place since the 1970s that prevent federal dollars from being used to support the transportation of students to carry out racial desegregation plans. These provisions are in direct conflict with the Every Student Succeeds Act, which now authorizes the use of MSAP funds to support transportation services in a limited manner.

Dr. Erica Frankenberg, a school integration expert at Penn State University stated in Next City, "studies show magnet schools that offer free transportation are more likely to attract African-American families, and magnet schools that do not provide free transportation are more likely to be segregated." 

Last fiscal year, Congress provided a temporary year-long waiver to allow MSAP grantees to use their funds for transportation. This new action by the committee to eliminate the prohibitive provisions all together is a permanent solution. Magnet Schools of America has been working with the National Coalition on School Diversity in Washington, DC to achieve this goal over the last year. To lend your support, we ask that you sign this petition to Congress. 

A School Turnaround Success Story

Radcliffe Quad undergrad housing at Harvard University.
Fairdale High School is a public school in Louisville, Kentucky. About three-quarters of its students qualify for free or reduced price lunch. In 2011, just 20 percent were deemed college- or career-ready. 

Last fall, Fairdale High School sent its first student to an Ivy League university. She was raised by a single mom in Louisville's west end and, like many of Fairdale's kids, grew up with numerous barriers to education. Now, she's attending Harvard, studying political science. She's going to be a lawyer. The best part: She's not alone in showing what Fairdale students are capable of if they're given the right kind of help - and expectations. 

I was Fairdale's principal until I became an assistant superintendent for Jefferson County Public Schools in November 2016. In the half-decade I led Fairdale, we improved our college- and career-readiness rate by 38 percentage points and increased our graduation rate to 89.4 percent. Adopting a rigorous, college-level curriculum has been a key part of our turnaround.

To create such a curriculum, we turned to Cambridge Assessment International Education, a department of the University of Cambridge in England, which had developed a program that gives students the opportunity to earn an Advanced International Certificate of Education. The certificate is a widely recognized international diploma. But it wasn't the fancy certificate that most impressed us about their approach. Keep Reading>>

Summer Learning and Development

Reimagining Education Summer Institute Offers
Professional Development for Magnet School Educators

The Reimagining Education: Teaching and Learning in Racially Diverse Schools Summer Institute at Teachers College, Columbia University offers the latest thinking on how to teach students from different racial and ethnic backgrounds within one school and classroom. 

From July 16-19, 2018, over 350 teachers, principals, superintendents and policy makers will gather with Teachers College faculty experts to gain the knowledge and tools to foster inclusive learning environments in which all students learn from one another. 

Registration fees are $275 for a day pass, eligible for 0.75 Continuing Education Units (CEUs), and $795 for all four days, eligible for 3 CEUs. 

To register, contact For more information, visit:

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. 

Crayola, in collaboration with the National Association of Elementary School Principals, is accepting applications for the 2018 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 22, 2018 

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

"When life decides to be relentless or harsh or painful, I am confident you have the skills to combat those moments," LaFreniere said. "And when life is kind and beautiful and thrilling, I know that you will be able to soak those moments in, to be a part of the beauty and share that with others."

Kids aren't the only ones attending camp this summer at the Scott Family Amazeum. The grown-ups are going, too . The  Amazeum this week is hosting its first Maker Boot Camp, where 21 educators from Arkansas and Oklahoma are learning about different tools and material often used as part of classroom tinkering activities.

The high school was once ranked the lowest 'F' in the state. A movement is already happening on campus. It recently become a magnet school and its ranking is now a 'B'. Over the next year, we're going to follow the students and teachers of Andrew Jackson High.

"Every  arts  school has its own needs," says HSPVA Principal R. Scott Allen. This one, for example, is really two schools in one since students attend traditional classes as well as pursue and practice their arts specialty. However, the duality has always shared the same hallways, common spaces and school schedule, rather than dividing the day into traditional instruction versus specialty pursuits.

Jonas has taught biology and biotechnology at Tucson High for the past five years. He also coordinates the Garden and Sustainability Club, and Science and Nature in Tandem for Youth - a week-long ecology field course at the Southwest Research Station in the Chiricahua Mountains.

Quick - how do you signal a turn on a bicycle? Teachers and school staff brushed up on that and much more Monday at a hands-on training meant to help more Minnesota students walk and bike to school . The  training, run by the organization Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, gave the educators lessons and tips for teaching students the rules of the road when it comes to walking and biking.

Nearly 1 in 4 high-achieving, low-income students apply to college completely on their own. One approach to  make  this whole process easier - pair students up with someone who can help, a mentor or adviser, virtually. Elissa Nadworny of the NPR Ed team reports.

School may be out for the summer, but  class  was in session last week for teachers and Polk State College Education students who participated in TeacherBot Boot Camp. The program is designed for elementary and middle school teachers to receive hands-on training in robotic building and programming from FIRST LEGO League partners that they can take back to their classrooms.

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


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

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

Job Opening

Coordinator of Magnet Schools Assistance Program Grant Project 

New Haven Public 

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