Magnet Schools of America Newsletter
           April 2018
Let Your Light Shine at the
36th National Conference 
Are you ready to Let Your Light Shine at the 36th National Conference on Magnet Schools hosted by Chicago Public Schools April 25-29, 2018? The national conference promises to be an exciting journey of ideas, collaboration, networking and enlightenment. From engaging breakout sessions to an electrifying keynote speaker, this is one brilliant opportunity you don't want to miss!

The conference will also feature magnet school tours, student performances and galleries, scholarship announcements, and exhibitions. In addition, through its national merit awards program, MSA will recognize the accomplishments of our nation's most outstanding magnet schools and announce a new National Superintendent,  Principal and Teacher of the Year. 

Keynote Speaker

Investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones covers racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine, and has spent years chronicling the way official policy has created-and maintains-racial segregation in housing and schools. She was named a 2017 MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow (one of only 24 people, globally) for "reshaping national conversations around education reform." 

CPS Magnet School Tours

During the event, attendees will visit some of Chicago's premier magnet programs. In all, the district offers 130 magnet programs that  feature specialized themes , including math and science, fine arts, world language, International Baccalaureate, Montessori, humanities, and more.

Meet Your Candidates for Regional Director

During the national conference members of Magnet Schools of America will vote for Regional Directors from MSA's even numbered regions. Voting will take place in-person only during Regional Meetings held on Friday morning April 27.  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 2
  • Corri Roche, Supervisor, Magnet Schools Assistance Program Grant, Baltimore County Public Schools,
Region 4
  • Cari Sluder-Kupec,  Director, Magnet Schools, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Tennessee 
  • Kim Marion,
    Program Manager, Magnet Schools & Gifted Programs, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, North Carolina
Region 6
  • Lucilla Davila, EdLd, Associate Superintendent of Magnet Schools, Minneapolis Public Schools, Minnesota
  • Ron Hustvedt, Middle Grades Social Studies Teacher, Salk Middle School-STEM Magnet, Minnesota
  • Jeff Peterson, Principal, Summit View Elementary School, Wisconsin
Region 8
  • Jayme Rawson, Achievement Coach, East Career and Technical
    Academy, Nevada
2018 Regional Principals of the Year

MSA is pleased to announce  the recipients of its Regional Principal of-the-Year Awards for 2018. Through a competitive application process, these individuals are annually selected from MSA's eight regions. They are all eligible to be selected as the National Magnet School Principal of-the-Year on the last day of the national conference in Chicago.  These school leaders are recognized for setting high expectations within their schools and communities. They have demonstrated a strong commitment to theme-based education and maximizing learning opportunities for all students. 

Congratulations to all of these outstanding magnet school leaders!

Region I - Arria Coburn, The Springfield Renaissance School,
Springfield Public Schools, Massachusetts

Region II - Erin O'Toole-Trivas, Parkville Middle School,
Baltimore County Public Schools, Maryland

Region III - Raul Calzadilla, Jr., Air Base K-8 Center,
Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Florida

Region IV - Michael Lofton, Spring Hill High School,
School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties, South Carolina 

REGION V - Theresa Cowling, North Heights Entrepreneurial Leadership Magnet, Texarkana Arkansas School District, Arkansas

Region VI - Jeff Peterson, Summit View Elementary,
School District of Waukesha, Wisconsin

Region VII - Matt Creasman, Northeast Magnet High School,
Wichita Public Schools, Kansas

Region VIII - Richard Sanchez, Mansfeld Magnet Middle School, 
Tucson Unified School District, Arizona

2018 Regional Teachers of the Year

It is our honor to announce the 2018 Regional Teachers of-the-Year. These awards recognize magnet school teachers who exemplify excellence in the classroom. They are all eligible to be chosen as the National Magnet School Teacher of-the-Year in Chicago. We are proud to acknowledge these magnet educators for their tremendous skill in the classroom. They are also recognized for their demonstrated leadership within their schools and communities.

Congratulations to all these superb magnet school educators!

Region I - Jennifer Dowker, Nathan Hale Arts Magnet School,
New London Public Schools, Connecticut

Region II - Susan Ellerbee, Randallstown High School,
Baltimore County Public Schools, Maryland

Region III - Dale J. Adamson,Howard D. McMillan Middle School,
Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Florida

Region IV - April Guenzler, Brooks Magnet Elementary School,
Wake County Public School System, North Carolina

Region V - John Hayman, Southeast Middle School,
East Baton Rouge Parish School System, Louisiana

Region VI - Margaret Koreman, Franklin Fine Arts Center,
Chicago Public Schools, Illinois

Region VII - Shannon Rains, McLean Science & Technology Magnet,
Wichita Public Schools, Kansas

Region VIII - Megan Franke, Las Vegas Academy,
Clark County School District, Nevada

New Haven magnet student among few in
the world to ace AP Chemistry Exam 

A huge congratulatory note to Prastik Mohanraj from Connecticut's Engineering and Science University Magnet School (ESMUS) in New Haven. He recently learned that he was one of only three students in the world to score a perfect score on the AP Chemistry Exam last year. 

Mohanraj credits his science teacher for helping him to prepare for the exam and encouraging him to strive for a perfect score. He also credits his magnet school for helping bolster his lifelong passion for biology and chemistry. 

Prastik has excelled academically since enrolling at ESUMS and has won national awards in history, math, and debate.  He also recently authored an academic paper on astrophysics that was published in the Cornell University Library Journal

Outside of the classroom, he enjoys coaching disadvantaged students for math competitions and participating in science fairs.  Prastik has expressed interest in pursuing a future career as a chemical or biomedical engineer, or possibly attending medical school with the goal of becoming a doctor. 

Money for Magnets 

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: May 25, 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. 

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, 2018

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 

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 

Magnet Schools Making News

"The kids are capable of so much more than we even know so just setting these high expectations for them and letting them rise and grow. We don't even realize what they can do. And the things they come up with are amazing just by giving them that opportunity and that freedom to kind of drive them own learning." 

The Academy for Academics & Arts has been named a Nationally Certified Magnet School by Magnet Schools of America (MSA), the national association  for  magnet and theme-based schools. AAA is among 38 schools located in twelve states to successfully complete a rigorous nine-month evaluation process. 

A Maine high school aimed at pumping out future ship captains, oceanographers, marine biologists and other seaworthy professionals is close to picking its first crop of students.

"Throughout history, libraries have been where we go to learn, discover, plan, experiment and connect. The way we do those activities now looks very different from the past and so our school libraries have evolved too," said Walker Middle Magnet School Media Specialist Sara LaBarbera. 

Nadia Wolff, a sophomore participating in the dual degree program at Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design, balances majors in both textile design and literary arts.  After attending an art magnet school in Miami for high school, Wolff was selected to be a recipient of the prestigious Presidential Scholar in the Arts award, allowing her to continue to focus on her passion and future. 

A group of more-than-impressive North Las Vegas elementary school students  are  heading to the Robotics World Championship in Houston. All the teams are expected to build their robots out of LEGO┬« and then make the robots go on missions to do different things in order to collect points.

Nina Agostine Smith Talks Shaping Young Artists and Directing MEMPHIS at Waterbury Arts Magnet School 

Director, teacher, arts mentor, Nina Agostine Smith is all of this to her students as she guides them through the process of putting together a professional level production that is set to thrill audiences in Waterbury's iconic Palace Theatre.

Cowling said she believes it is important to communicate the school's culture and vision in every aspect of the school day. "One of my goals is to encourage and support my staff as we work together towards academic success for all students. It takes shared responsibilities and strong relationships with staff and students to truly impact student achievement."

Pasco students bring compassion to community problems

Six-year-old Allison Prianos rolled her way onto the stage in a shiny red wheelchair, curls spilling down her neck. She paused for a moment in front of a large screen. Then she stood up, signaling the start her very first "Design Talk" at Sanders Memorial Elementary School.


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Vote for your favorite poster!


Make sure to vote in the 

12th annual magnet school student poster contest. The winner will be announced during the 36th National Conference in Chicago.


The last day to pick your favorite poster is this 

Friday, April 20. 


View the posters 

online now!



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