Magnet Schools of America Newsletter
       September 2018
Recognizing Magnet School Excellence
National Awards Applications - NOW LIVE!
Merit award application deadline of October 23 is quickly approaching! See other awards programs for additional important dates.

Magnet Schools of America's  2018-2019 national awards season is here. Please review each of our programs below and start preparing a winning application now!  All MSA members  are eligible to participate. Winners will be recognized at the 37th National Conference in Baltimore, MD April 10-13, 2018.

The Merit Awards program is just that, an awards program that is based on a snapshot of the school and a narrative application describing the program. It is different than national certification, which is a more rigorous nine-month process that ensures the school should be certified for four years under the Standards of Excellence.  Both the merit award and national certification program are based on MSA's five pillars but are different in their approach to recognition and school improvement. 

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 President's Award, and others that recognize the nation's preeminent elementary, secondary, and new and emerging magnet schools.  

Application Deadline: Tuesday, October 23, 2018

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: Tuesday, December 11, 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 including recommendation letters.

Application Deadline: Tuesday, November 20, 2018 

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: Tuesday, November  20, 2018

Magnet Schools of America is proud to sponsor its 13th 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: Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Experience Southern Charm at its Best!

There is still time to join us October 3-5, 2018 in Columbia, South Carolina for MSA's annual Fall Technical Assistance and Training Conference as we explore the best practices of the Five Pillars of Magnet School Excellence. 

In collaboration with School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties and Richland School District 2, the event will feature exceptional speakers, informative sessions, and many networking opportunities.  The fall conference will also offer a close look at nationally recognized magnet programs offered in the  host districts during school site visits

Featured Speakers

Maree Sneed will lead a distinguished panel that will tackle the complex issue of promoting school diversity under new legal constraints.
Dr. Stephen Hefner
MSA's 2018 Magnet Superintendent of the Year

Dr. Baron R. Davis
Superintendent, Richland School District Two, SC

Dr. Christina S. Melton
Superintendent, School District Five of Lexington 
& Richland Counties, SC

Maree Sneed
Senior Counsel, Hogan Lovells

Magnet School Shark Tank

Back by popular demand, MSA will host its own version of the hit television show Shark Tank where educational companies you may not have heard of will demonstrate how their products can enhance your schools and classrooms. 

Expert Led Sessions

In addition to an exciting panel led by education/magnet legal expert Maree Sneed, we'll also be featuring the  following presentations and more!
  • Utilizing Grants to Make a Difference for Students and Teachers
  • 6 M's of Culturally Responsive Instruction
  • Leaping from STEM to STEAM
  • Leadership for Change and Innovation
  • Sustaining Success in Magnet Schools: An Effective Practice Trifecta

DoubleTree by Hilton Columbia

2100 Bush River Road
Columbia, SC 29210
(803) 731-0300

Be sure to call the hotel for free shuttle service from the airport.

Make your room reservation now!
Reservations - (803) 744-0142

Evening Around Town

Experience southern hospitality at its finest at The Vista - Columbia's entertainment hub. Eat, Shop and Explore. A complimentary shuttle from the DoubleTree to The Vista will be provided by Experience Columbia.
MSA Legislative/Policy Update
Mobilizing for Magnet Schools

We encourage you to be active during the upcoming election season and help us build nationwide support for magnet schools. There are many ways you can participate in this important ritual of democracy. 

Between October 15 and Election Day on November 6, the U.S. Congress will be on recess. This means your elected officials will be on the campaign trail in their home states and districts. They will be using this time to meet with their constituents to learn about your policy priorities and to ask for your vote.  

With the new school year in full swing, this gives you the perfect opportunity to invite your elected officials to tour your school. This is the most powerful way to showcase magnet school innovation. If you are unsure about the process of hosting a school tour, we have created this step-by-step guide to help you organize a successful site visit. 

House and Senate Agree to Budget Deal for FY 2019

This month, the U.S. Congress agreed to a budget deal that will fund the U.S. Department of Education for the next fiscal year beginning October 1. The agreement provides $71.4 billion for programs at USDOE.  This amount is $581 million more than fiscal year 2018 and $8.2 billion more than the President's budget request. The agreement includes $105 million for the Magnet Schools Assistance Program. This sustains the $7.35 million increase to the program that was provided last year. According to the Department of Education, this will allow additional off-year grants to be awarded soon. 

The agreement also carries with it a significant shift on the use of federal funds for student busing to combat segregation. Once enacted, the bill would drop a decades-old rider that prohibits the use of federal funds for transportation costs for school desegregation. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said she was "very pleased" the "anti-busing" language, which has been part of appropriations legislation since at least 1974, was eliminated.

Strength in Diversity Act 

Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut and Congresswoman Marcia Fudge from Ohio have introduced The Strength in Diversity Act. This bill formally authorizes a competitive grant program that was created during the Obama Administration, but was canceled by the current Secretary. The program would provide  $120 million for grants to support local efforts to promote integration and  increase socioeconomic diversity in schools.  

According to a press release from the bill sponsors, grants could fund  plans to address socioeconomic and racial isolation;establish public school choice zones; create innovative school programs including magnets to attract students from different neighborhoods and areas; and recruit and train new teachers.

Money for Magnets

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

Through its Field Trip Grants program, Target awards grants of up to $700 to K-12 schools nationwide to defray the cost of field trips. It is accepting grant applications between August 1-October 1, 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. 

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

Amy Delano, whose children go to T.S. Cooley, said the accelerated education her children receive at T.S. Cooley Elementary Magnet School helps prepare them for their future. "We laugh in our house that if you can make it through fifth grade, the program here, that you're college ready," Delano said. 

Charlotte's boldest bid to undo school segregation is about to become reality

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, a national symbol of successful desegregation in the 1970s, has since become an icon of resegregation. Some 20 years after a white parent's lawsuit toppled the district's race-based desegregation plan, a combination of neighborhood schools and family choice has created a pattern that's familiar across America, with white and affluent families abandoning a broad swath of schools in the city while flocking to the suburbs.

We should be proud that for two years running, those increases have been driven in large part by students of color, who have been traditionally under-represented in taking AP courses and exams," said Governor Malloy.

Adia Brightman always wanted to be a teacher...While pursuing that dream at college, the first special education class she took really inspired her. She felt as if she could make a positive impact  with  children who had special needs.

What If a DNA Test Could Show How to Teach a Student With Dyslexia?

The New Haven, Conn., school district is working with a team of education, genetics, and neuroscience researchers from Yale University in what may be the first attempt to design so-called "precision" gene-based education help for an academic disorder, dyslexia.

"My time here allowed me to get the hands-on experiences that I needed to solidify my belief that I wanted to now go into large animals. I was able to get comfortable working with cattle. I also raised dairy goats," Valeria Lantigua said. Lantigua completed the program in 2017 and is now putting her knowledge to use in the real world at the University of Florida. 

"So let's get ready to listen," says a voice over the classroom loudspeaker. It's a calm but firm voice, the sort of voice you know you can rely on. "Put your feet on the floor. Put your hands in your lap or on your desk. Sit up nice and tall. Close or focus your eyes. And find your breath moving in your body." This is how thousands of Cincinnati-area students begin their school days. 

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


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Schools Students Want. Schools Students Need. 

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 & Training 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

Teaching Tolerance Educator Grants
Teaching Tolerance Educator Grants support educators who embrace and embed anti-bias principles throughout their schools. 

These grants, ranging from $500-$10,000, support projects that promote affirming school climates and educate youth to thrive in a diverse democracy.

The grants fund projects on three levels: school, classroom and district.

Know a teacher 
who deserves 

Sanford Programs is awarding 50 truly inspirational teachers
across the nation with the Sanford Teacher Award. 

It will choose one winner to receive the $50,000 grand prize and 49 remaining finalists to receive an award of $10,000 each.

Nominate an inspiring 
teacher now!

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