Magnet Schools of America Newsletter
November 2017
National Policy Training Conference 

Register now for MSA' annual National Policy Training Conference February 7-9, 2018 in Washington, DC. Meet us where policy and the classroom intersect! 

Don't miss a Magnet Schools Assistance Program briefing hosted by Dr. Anna Hinton and the MSAP team, and a Crossfire inspired school choice debate featuring Richard Kahlenberg from the Century Foundation and Michael Petrilli from the Thomas Fordham Institute.  

The policy conference will also include  powerful keynote presentations, congressional speakers, panel discussions and workshops focused on ESSA implementation, Capitol Hill meetings, and networking opportunities. Learn more

Conference Location:

The National Policy Training Conference will be held at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Washington, DC. Be sure to make your room reservation by
January 15, 2018 to take advantage of the conference group rate.

Event Registration:

Register for the conference by the Early Bird deadline January 11, 2018 and save. Don't forget, members of Magnet Schools of America receive a discount!


The Policy Training Conference is supported by:  
MSA National Awards 

Apply for a National Merit Award and take center stage in Chicago!
Magnet Schools of America's 
2017-2018 national awards season is 
upon us and deadlines are quickly approaching. Please review each of our programs below and submit a winning application today! 

All MSA members  are eligible to participate. Winners will be recognized at the 36th National Conference in Chicago, IL April 25-29, 2018.

The national merit awards program celebrates MSA membership schools through a competitive process. Open to members only, the awards provide an annual opportunity for schools to be recognized for what they have accomplished.

These awards are given to magnet schools that demonstrate high academic standards, curriculum innovation, successful school integration and diversity efforts, and the delivery of high-quality educational services to all students. 

There are two categories of merit awards: (1) Magnet Schools of Excellence, the most prominent merit award given to magnet schools, and (2) Magnet Schools of Distinction. The top rated magnet schools in the Excellence category are eligible to receive MSA's most prestigious awards including the Dr. Ronald Simpson Award, which includes a $5,000 cash prize, the Donald Waldrip Award, MSA Presidents Award, and others that recognize the nation's preeminent elementary, secondary, and new and emerging magnet schools.  

Application Deadline EXTENDEDTuesd ay, December 5, 2017

Clark County School District Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky receives the National Superintendent of the Year Award in Los Angeles. 

National Magnet School Superintendent of the Year 

This annual award was created in 2015 and recognizes an exceptional superintendent that has embraced magnet schools as a priority in the portfolio of school choice options. This individual also demonstrates leadership at the national, state, and local levels in support of magnet schools.

Application Deadline: Monday, January 16, 2018  

This award was established in 2009 and recognizes a remarkable magnet school leader who has succeeded in providing innovative programs that promote equity, diversity, and academic excellence for all students. This individual will be chosen from a cohort of regional principals of the year.

To be selected as a regional magnet principal of the year, candidates must be nominated by their district level magnet director. Once nominated, candidates must submit a narrative application and recommendation letters.

Application Deadline: Monday, December 12, 2017 

2017 National Magnet School Teacher of the Year Anne Fennell from Mission Vista High School
National Magnet School Teacher of the Year  
The Magnet Teacher of the Year Award was established in 2010 and recognizes an extraordinary full-time teacher who exemplifies excellence in the classroom and is acknowledged by their peers, parents, and students for their contributions made to their profession. This individual will be chosen from a group of regional teachers of the year. 

Regional teachers of the year are selected from MSA's eight regions through a competitive application process. To be chosen, candidates must first be nominated by their district level magnet director. Once nominated, they are
asked to submit a narrative application that describes their professional and educational background, teaching philosophy, community and family engagement efforts, and successes in the classroom. 

Application Deadline: Monday December 12, 2017

Magnet Schools of America is proud to sponsor its 12th Annual National Student Poster Contest as part of the celebration of National Magnet School Month in February. We encourage all elementary, middle, and high school magnet students to participate. Certificates and cash prizes will be given to the top posters in each grade level category.  

Submission Deadline: Friday, January 22, 2018

An Innovative Approach Connecting 
Students to the Workforce

Connecting curriculum choices to career plans and career fairs to employers requires innovation. Metro Nashville Public Schools, recently used YouScience with its Academy students to help students identify their best-fit careers. Freshman from the 13 Academies took YouScience in advance of their upcoming Career Fair to identify careers based on both their aptitudes and interests. Administrators are using the YouScience analytics to help these students optimize their remaining high school years by aligning their curriculum choices with their best-fit career recommendations. 
YouScience uses fun, engaging 'brain games' to capture real measures of students' aptitudes. A proprietary algorithm matches student's natural and stable abilities to over 500 careers, showing students their best-fit recommendations to explore. Unlike other interest based tools, YouScience creates analytics for counselors and administrators based on student performance measured results. This allows faculty, students, and parents to make data-based decisions about curriculum choices, college, and technical programs.
"My Freshman Seminar teacher had my classmates and I use YouScience to help us start determining what paths or careers would be best for us to obtain. During the use of YouScience I have found a lot of careers that are best fits for me. While searching through the careers I found a best fit for me might be Law Enforcement. I have always seen myself as a Lawyer, and am now aware that this is actually a good fit for me too." 

- Naeisha B., Metro Nashville Public Schools
"The YouScience assessment really surprised me a lot! This is an awesome tool to use." 

- Mariliz N., Metro Nashville Public Schools

This program was recently featured on  NPRFor more on YouScience or to learn about the special pricing for MSA Schools go to:

Money for Magnets

Money bag with dollar sign and money tree growing out of top isolated on white NewSchools Venture Fund is accepting applications from teams of educators and entrepreneurs with bold ideas for reimagining pre-K-12 learning. The fund will award grants totaling up to $8 million for programs focused on creating innovative district and charter schools; building technology tools to better support student learning; and/or cultivating pipelines of diverse leaders in education. 

Funding will range between $50,000 and $200,000 and include participation in a cohort experience to help teams refine their designs and prepare for launch within the next one to two years. Initial submissions are due by January 12, 2018.

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is inviting applications from North Carolina public school teachers to its Promoting Innovation in Science and Mathematics (PRISM) Award program.  The annual PRISM Award provides public school teachers in the state with the opportunity to receive up to $3,000 in funding toward the purchase of STEM-related materials and up to $1,500 for any necessary training for those materials. Application Deadline: December 5, 2017

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.

American Electric Power is accepting applications from pre-K-12 teachers for classroom projects during the 2018-19 school year.

Through the Teacher Vision grant program, AEP will award mini-grants of up to $500 for projects with an academic focus and a goal to improve student achievement. Priority will be given to projects that promote science, mathematics, technology, electrical safety, the balanced study of energy and the environment, and energy efficiency.

To be eligible, applicants must be a pre-K-12 teacher who lives or teaches in an AEP service area or in a community with a major AEP facility. 
Application Deadline: February 23, 2018

Technology and entertainment blog The Beacon is inviting submissions of technology-focused lesson plans for its Technology Teacher Grant competition.

Prizes of up to $1,000 will be awarded for lesson plans in any subject that teach K-8 students why technology is important (and how to use it). Plans must encourage participation and engagement with in-class demonstrations and hands-on learning opportunities. Application Deadline: December 9, 2017

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

Magnets Making News 

Students learn to be more than farmers at Chicago Ag

If you think a curriculum that can involve shoveling manure and identifying off flavors in milk is a hard sell to Chicago teens, guess again. A magnet school, every year Chicago Ag gets around 3,000 applications for 180 spots in its freshman class.

Even after taking out gifted magnets, LAUSD magnets outperform charter schools on state standardized tests

For the third year in a row, student performance at magnets topped those at charters, all LA Unified schools, and the state average. The results are from the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress tests, which are also known as Smarter Balanced Assessments.

Groton school pilots engineering curriculum for kindergarten

The school has been teaching Engineering is Elementary curriculum at higher grades for a few years, but West's class is now one of about 30 in the country - and the only one in Connecticut - piloting the new kindergarten curriculum.

Scotlandville High blazed trail for popular STEM programs with engineering program launched 35 years ago

"We definitely consider ourselves to be the trailblazers," said Jackson, who is in his second year as assistant principal. "Some of those other schools actually have come to visit us to try to see how we do what we do."

Valley high school students get a head start in the world of medicine

At age sixteen, Audrieanna Hernandez is already working to become a rehabilitation therapist. The senior at Duncan Polytechnical High, a magnet school within Fresno Unified is in the Medical Academy of Science and Health (M.A.S.H) Program. It is paving the way for hundreds of Central Valley students like Hernandez to be leaders in the medical field.

Local magnet school exceeds 100 percent on state test

Students in the Dougherty County School System performed extremely well during statewide testing earlier this year. Students took the College and Career Ready Performance Index, CCRPI, and the results came back for 2017. Robert Cross Magnet Middle School scored 101.5 percent.

Farm Program Lets Vegas Students Learn Hands-On From Animals

Life sciences teacher Kimberly Law helped start an animal program more than 10 years ago with a couple of snakes, which were offered as a way for students to gain a hands-on, real-life study of the subject. Her class, which she began teaching full-time in 2012, has since expanded to include an "animal lab" classroom with exotic birds, reptiles and rodents. 

Awareness grows around sensory processing issues

Certain classrooms at Ramsey Magnet School of Science in Coeur d'Alene offer soft lights and special seating that let kids wiggle while learning.  At Spokane Public Schools, some classes have flexible seating options - from exercise balls to specialty cushions - and softened lights.

New school for gifted students to open in Orange next year

The school, for gifted students in grades 2 to 5, will be run as a magnet program, so it will be open to children from across the county and will operate without an attendance zone. A lottery will be used if there are more applicants than the 434 available seats.

Students embrace STEAM, hands-on learning

"What makes you a magnet school?" Part of the response BurlingĀ­ame received was that the school practices "looping," which keeps students with the same teacher for two years. The goal of looping is to help struggling students and allow teachers to really know their students.

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


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On behalf of  Magnet 
Schools of America,
may you have a wonderful time this Thanksgiving, with friends and family. Enjoy!

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