Magnet Schools of America Newsletter
    March 2018
36th National Conference - 
Let Your Light Shine! 

Join us for the 36th National Conference on Magnet Schools  April 25-29, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Be sure to register soon and take advantage of the regular online rate, which ends April 6.

The national conference will 
be hosted by Chicago Public Schools (CPS). It is the third largest school district in the country and enrolls more than 380 ,000  students. CPS currently has 130 magnet programs that feature specialized themes , including math and science, fine arts, world language, International Baccalaureate, Montessori, humanities, and more. 

During the conference, attendees will have the opportunity to visit some of Chicago's most popular magnet programs. See up close what makes these schools stand out among the rest!

Featured Magnet School Tours:
  • The Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, located on the historic "Last Farm in Chicago," is a diverse magnet school open to all residents in the City of Chicago who are interested in studying the agricultural sciences.  
  • As Chicago's first magnet high school, Whitney M. Young Magnet High School has consistently ranked among the four highest-achieving high schools in Illinois since opening in 1975. Notable alumnae include First Lady Michelle Obama and NASA Astronaut Joan Higginbotham.
  • Mark Sheridan Math & Science Academy focuses on science, math and overall academic excellence, while integrating a fine arts and technology curriculum. It has been recognized as a Spotlight School by the Illinois State Board of Education, a School of Distinction by Chicago Public Schools and a National Title I Distinguished School.

In order to sign-up for a school tour you must first register for the national conference. Once completed you will receive an email with instructions for choosing a tour. For a list of tour options click here


Hotel Accommodations:

Hyatt Regency Chicago
151 East Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601

$229.00 per night + tax (single/double)

888.421.1442 (toll free)

Group Block Rate Closes:
Monday, April 2, 2018

To take advantage of the conference group rate, please mention that you are attending the 36th National Conference on Magnet Schools. You can also make your hotel reservations online

Conference Supporters:


2018 Nationally Certified
Magnet Schools Announced

Magnet Schools of America (MSA) is proud to announce the 2018 cohort of nationally certified magnet schools. These 38 schools located in 12 states (AL, CA, CT, FL, GA, LA, MN, NC, NV, SC, TN, and TX)  successfully completed a nine-month evaluation process and demonstrated through evidence, reflection, and strategic action that they have established the Magnet School Standards of Excellence in their schools. 

To become nationally certified, schools submitted a detailed application and participated in a rigorous evaluation. The application process required schools to submit evidence demonstrating how they met each of the multiple indicators included in the Standards of Excellence. This included providing specific examples of how the school was promoting school diversity, closing the achievement gap, integrating a theme-based curriculum throughout the school, and encouraging parent and community involvement.

Among the new cohort of nationally certified schools, five were identified as National Demonstration Schools. These schools exceeded the criteria outlined in the Standards of Excellence and are models that should be closely studied and replicated. The Demonstration Schools will serve as innovation laboratories for others to learn best practices in theme-based education.

"The certification process validates the highest caliber schools and programs we have in public education. It has been very encouraging for MSA evaluators to see the outstanding curriculum, professional educators, and learning environments that are provided for students in these magnet schools," said Kelly Bucherie, Director for Magnet School Leadership, Magnet Schools of America.

For the first time, all certified schools will be recognized during a ceremony held at Magnet Schools of America's 36th National Conference in Chicago.

For more information about the Magnet Schools of America Standards of Excellence Certification Program, please visit:

Case Study: High Impact Learning Environments in Brevard County, FL

Brevard County Schools magnet program experienced the transformational power of modernizing learning spaces through combining magnet school reform with high impact learning environments. 
Palm Bay Magnet High, McNair Magnet Middle, and Stone Magnet Middle utilized Magnet Schools Assistance Program funds to energize media centers, classrooms, maker spaces and "incubation labs." The district partnered with MeTEOR Education for instructional and interior design, installation and instructional support. 

The first phase involved walk-throughs at each school. A fter a thorough discussion of instructional goals, MeTEOR designed spaces aligned with each school's unique vision. The media center and incubation lab at the high school enabled diverse student groups to engage, collaborate, create projects, and incubate ideas through the 17 pathways for career/technical education. The incubator lab now hosts community groups to showcase the project. 

Every middle school classroom was designed to foster student-led inquiry and collaboration. Schools utilized ideation from some of the best universities in the country including Yale's TEAL (Tech Enabled Active Learning Space), FUSE labs as featured at Northwestern University and aviation labs drawing from Brevard's rich history in aeronautics.
Faculty magnet best practices became a guideline for changed instructional practice. Instructional shifts incorporated strategies to support the most pertinent sections of grant project designs and were non-negotiables for teaching and learning. The design and planning process was interactive and collaborative, creating buy-in at all levels. The entire community embraced these new spaces. 

To learn more about MeTEOR Education and how they can help you transform your learning spaces, please email Kim Bolser at:

Building Congressional 
Support for Magnet Schools

In 2016, MSA gave Congressman Joe Courtney its inaugural Champion of Magnet School Excellence Award. Demonstrating his continued leadership, the Congressman recently led an effort on Capitol Hill to build additional support for federal magnet school funding by circulating an appropriations request letter among his colleagues. The letter seeks the authorized funding amount for the Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP).

The letter was sent to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee on March 19. It  was signed by 33  influential Members of Congress including the Ranking Member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, Bobby Scott; the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Cedric Richmond; several members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus; STEAM Caucus; and Appropriations Committee. 

This type of formal letter is used in the annual budget process to gauge congressional support for different federal education programs. Through in-person meetings with congressional leaders, MSA members and staff were able to secure signatories to this letter.  We are proud to announce that all three recipients of our Champion of Magnet School Excellence Award were signatories, including this year's awardee Congresswoman Barbara Lee. 

Please see the list below to see if your Member of Congress pledged their support for magnet schools this year. 

Davis, D. (IL)
Scott (VA)
Wilson (SC)
Kelly, R. (IL)

Design Matters! Camp

Tennessee Camp for High School Students Brings Design to the Studio

Design Matters! Camp, July 15-21, 2018, is an immersive summer experience for curious and creative high school students who believe design transforms the world. The camp is directed by the College of Architecture and Design at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

For ten years, Design Matters! Camp has introduced students to architecture, interior architecture and design, exposed students to design education at a prominent university and helped students understand the multitude of professions that rely on designers. It's a camp for problem-solving, out-of-the-box thinkers, and no previous design experience is required.

During the week, students spend each day engaging in lectures, designing in studio, working with advanced technology, learning from college professors and students, visiting architectural sites and interacting in teambuilding and campus activities, including painting the famous UT Rock. DM!C also gives students a glimpse of college life and the culture of collaboration in UT's design college.

This year, campers get one additional day at no additional charge. Students can stay overnight or sign up for day camp, and camp scholarships are available. Early-bird registration ends April 21.

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.

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

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 Making News

Faced with 200 Northeast Magnet High students leaving classes Wednesday to protest school violence, Creasman's response to the disruption had three components.

Pilot who flew around the world urges Baton Rouge middle schoolers to aim high

At the age of 23, Barrington Irving entered the record books as not only the youngest person to fly a plane around the world by himself, but the first African-American to do so.

Most people have probably called their dad a clown once or twice, but for junior Sophia Rosman, it's no joke. Her father, Michael Rosman, has worked as a professional comedy juggler in a circus for over 20 years. Sophia is a professional special events entertainer. She has performed at the White House, on the Ellen Degeneres Show, and hundreds of other venues.

Magnet schools exert their pull on Lansing students

A student who loves to act doesn't have to wait until graduation to grab hold of their dream. The engineers and the health specialists don't have to stand by until college to begin polishing their areas of expertise. An interest in international language doesn't have to be delayed until they reach adulthood. Lansing magnet schools allow for immediate immersion into specific interests.

15-year-old Dylan  Lamouroux's  father, Jesse, watched as he learned to baste a chicken breast at Northwest Career and Technical Academy Friday. Instead of parents bringing their kids to work, parents got a look at what their teens were doing in school this week. The magnet school includes programs in culinary arts, medical professions, teacher education, mechanical technology, construction technology, engineering  and  design. 

Ten students from  a St . Louis Public Schools magnet school won the top prize in a Hackathon event on February 24, taking home a $10,000 prize for their app, aimed at helping St. Louis students understand their educational options. 

While teaching at San Marcos High School, Davis saw a significant discrepancy between the technology his students were expected to access and what was available at home. "These students, who could barely afford clothes, were expected to use expensive proprietary programs that they could not reasonably or sustainably have at home," Davis said.

District's magnet schools give students, parents more choice

At East Aiken School of the Arts, paintings, drawings  and  sculpture turn the halls into an art gallery. At Jackson STEM Magnet Middle School, using technology, students create apps and learn to think critically, giving them an edge  on  the workforce of the future. 

CCA students have performed with national touring company productions of Porgy and Bess and Barry Manilow. The school offers programs in communications, music, dance, theatre and visual arts. Damon Gillespie, a graduate of Chattanooga Center for Creative Arts, is one of the stars of the new NBC television show "RISE."   

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


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Join the MSA
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Magnet Schools of America is accepting applications 
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to the Board of Directors 
for 2018-2020. 

The open positions are for:
Regional Directors: Regions II, IV, VI, and VIII

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