Magnet School Merit Awards Program

Application Deadline

November 5, 2019 (Must be a PAID 2019-2020 MSA Member by September 30, 2019)

Applications are open — read the guidelines and apply here!

For a printer-friendly copy of the merit application packet, click here.

EXCELLENCE + INNOVATION + DIVERSITY + COMMUNITY

All magnet schools share the philosophy of executing innovative programs with a dedication to diversity and an unwavering commitment to academic standards – because that is the Magnet School ‘standard.’

The Magnet School of Merit Awards elevates that standard to recognize member magnet schools/programs that demonstrate an exemplary commitment to academic standards, curriculum innovation, desegregation/diversity efforts, specialized teaching staffs and parent and community involvement.

The 2018-2019 Merit Award categories are:

  • (1a) School of Excellence – Whole School Magnet
  • (1b) School of Excellence – Program Within-a-School*
  • (1c) School of Excellence – New & Emerging
  • (2a) School of Distinction – Whole School Magnet
  • (2b) School of Distinction – Program Within-a-School*
  • (2c) School of Distinction – New & Emerging

*Program Within-a-School programs must consist of at least twenty percent (20%) of the student population involved in the program OR a minimum of 200 students.

The Magnet School of Excellence is the top merit award category and is only awarded to a select group of magnet schools.

The Magnet School of Distinction is the second highest award of recognition.

To receive a merit award member schools must submit an application that is scored by a panel of educators. Cash awards are provided to the top Magnet Schools of Excellence.


TOP NATIONAL AWARDS

The Dr. Ronald P. Simpson School of Excellence Award is considered the most prestigious award for magnet schools in the nation and includes a $5,000 cash award presented to the winning school.

This award recognizes the work of Dr. Ronald P. Simpson, one of the founding members of Magnet Schools of America who worked in the Kansas City (Missouri) Public School System. He also served as the second MSA president from 1994-1995.

Magnet Schools of America created national awards for elementary and secondary Magnet Schools of Excellence, both include cash awards of $2,500. The elementary Magnet Schools of Excellence award is sponsored by Magnet Schools of America and is named after Dr. Donald Waldrip, founder and MSA’s first Executive Director.

The New and Emerging Magnet School of Excellence Award is recognized nationally for its leadership and commitment to magnet schools, the Washington, DC Law Firm Hogan Lovells is the sponsor of this $1,000 cash award.

*ALL PREVIOUS MONETARY AWARD RECIPIENTS are NOT eligible to receive cash awards for five years after the initial award, but are eligible for the Excellence and Distinction award categories.  Exception: A New and Emerging School, having completed its fourth year, may be eligible for other cash awards in their category. 

GUIDELINES

You must follow the Criteria & Requirements outline (next tab)  to complete the narrative section of the application.  Special attention should be given to “describe and highlight” those exemplary and unique aspects of the magnet school which are above and beyond program components found in traditional, non-magnet schools. For example, “having an active Parent Teacher Association (PTA)” is not considered a unique level of parent and community involvement specific to magnets.  Please spell out all abbreviations and acronyms, EXAMPLE: Supplemental Educational Services (SES).

DIRECTIONS

Be sure to read all information carefully for the award appropriate to you.

  • Whole School or Program Within-a-School
    • Program Within-a-School programs must consist of at least twenty percent (20%) of the student population involved in the program OR a minimum of 200 students.
  • Magnet School of Merit or New & Emerging School of Merit
    • New & Emerging Magnet School category is designed for magnet schools in their second or third year.

ALL applications are to be submitted online at www.magnet.edu on or before November 5, 2019.

  • SIGNATURES PAGE*: Complete with the Principal and Superintendent/Designee signatures at the time of submission. (Template can be found in the application packet);
  • GENERAL INFORMATION*: Complete online during the submission process;
  • ABSTRACT*: Complete online during the submission process;
  • APPLICATION*: Each narrative section will be completed online AND data tables uploaded as PDF (Template can be found in the application packet);
  • LETTERS OF SUPPORT*: Two current letters of support for the award, one from a parent or parent group, AND one from a partnering organization (upload online as a PDF or request letter directly via online platform);

*REQUIRED

Criteria 1: PROGRAM OVERVIEW (15 pts)

Program Overview:

  1. A summary of how the vision for the school is related to the theme and aligns with the goals, objectives, and educational activities for the school. No more than 250 words (5 pts);
  2. How the magnet theme is integrated throughout the school in core classes as well as electives and co-curricular activities. No more than 500 words (5 pts).
  3. How the program/school promotes equitable access to all demographic groups, including but not limited to English “Language” Learners and students who receive special education services. No more than 300 words (5 pts).

Criteria 2: DEMOGRAPHIC PROFILE (WS = 20 pts | PWAS = 25 pts)

Demographic Profile:

  1. A description of the student diversity plan (if there is a diversity goal) or a description on how student diversity is leveraged and maximized. No more than 500 words (10 pts).
  2. How student enrollment reflects the diversity plan. No more than 400 words (10 pts).
  3. Are students selected by a lottery process that does not include academic criteria? Explain in no more than 75 words (1 pt bonus).
  4. For programs within-a-school, a description on how students in the program and school have academic opportunities to interact. No more than 500 words (5 pts).
  5. Current programs within-a-school enrollment by racial/ethnic categories, and totals (# & %).
  6. Current school enrollment by racial/ethnic categories, and totals (# & %).
  7. District enrollment by by racial/ethnic categories, and totals (# & %).
  8. Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL) eligibility for students in the district/school/program (# & %), optional.

DEMOGRAPHIC DATA TABLE TEMPLATES available via googlesheet (unprotected).
Make a copy or download, print and upload as PDF.

    • Program Within-A-School Demographic Data Table – TAB: Demographic PWAS
    • Whole School Demographic Data Table – TAB: Demographic WS

Criteria 3: INNOVATIVE INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES (30 pts)

Innovative Instructional Strategies:

  1. A description of how the innovative instructional practices are implemented. No more than 400 words (10 pts).
  2. How professional development activities enhance instructional delivery, and are aligned with the magnet theme; For example: What are you doing to support your Magnet theme, teachers and all other instructional staff to understand the Magnet-theme philosophy/goals and objectives, No more than 350 words (10 pts).
  3. How diversity (ethnic or socio-economic) is infused into the magnet school/program curriculum–not just festivals and/or holidays. No more than 300 words (10 pts).

Criteria 4: STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT (20 pts)

Student Achievement – Reading or Math OR other areas determined by your State Department of Education:

  1. School, district, and state achievement data for enrolled students is disaggregated by race for the last 4 academic years. School must indicate new assessments and provide documentation from the state when data is unavailable. If your state no longer allows the publishing of test information disaggregated in conjunction with FRL, an aggregated template is provided (for New & Emerging schools, report data for the years covered in the application) (5 pts);  Must use provided template.
    Student Achievement Data Table Templates available via googlesheet (unprotected)
    Make a copy or download, print and upload as PDF.

    • Disaggregated Student Achievement Data Table – TAB: Student Achievement_DISAGGREGATED
    • Aggregated Student Achievement  Data Table – TAB: Student Achievement_AGGREGATED

  2. Explanation of the student achievement data; include attendance rates and graduation rates for high school (if applicable) for 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-2018 and 2018-2019. No more than 950 words (15 pts).

Criteria 5: PARENT AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT (10 pts)

Parent and Community Involvement:

  1. How partnerships formed with parents, community groups, industry partners and other organizations connect to and support student learning and are aligned to the magnet theme (beyond fundraising). No more than 250 words (8 pts).
  2. Current (2018 or 2019) letters of support for the Magnet Schools of America Merit Award from:
    • an active parent or parent group (1 pt); and
    • an active industry partner/partnering organization (1pt).

Criteria 6: AWARDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS (5 pts)

Awards and Achievements:

  1. Significant achievements and school awards received during the last three years as covered by the application (receiving a grant is not considered a significant achievement for this specific category). No more than 200 words (5 pts).

ADDITIONAL MATERIALS & SIGNATURES

NOMINEE (SCHOOL/PROGRAM) INFORMATION

  • School/Programtext field
  • School URL/Website text field
  • Type of Magnetcheckbox/dropdown; select one
    • Whole School Magnet (WS)
    • Program Within-A-School (PWAS)
  • Grade Level(s)text field
    • Whole School (WS)
    • Program Within-A-School (PWAS)
  • Elementary, Intermediate, High – checkbox, select all that apply
  • Magnet Theme(s)text field
  • School Address – text field
  • School Telephonetext field
  • # of Years as a Magnettext field
  • School Districttext field
  • System: Rural | Suburban | Urbandropdown; select one
  • Principal and Principal’s Emailtext field
  • Magnet Coordinator/Lead Teacher and  Magnet Coordinator/Lead Teacher’s Emailtext field
  • District Enrollment #’stext field
  • Whole School Enrollment #’stext field
  • Program Within-A-School Enrollment #’s (required for PWAS applicants) – text field
  • Are students selected by a lottery process: YES/NO?checkbox/dropdown
    If no, describe selection process and any variables that impact on magnet school enrollment/acceptance.
  • Does the school use academic criteria (i.e., test scores, GPA, etc) for admission? YES/NO – checkbox/dropdown
  • Are you a Certified Magnet School? YES/NO checkbox/dropdown (not a criterion)

ABSTRACT

A 125 word description of your magnet program. Please make sure all information provided in the abstract is supported in the application. This abstract will be posted on the MSA website for winning entries and may be used for other publications. No more than 125 words.

SIGNATURES PAGE

Download blank signatures page HERE. Two signatures needed:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LUlcRz5CZXkWupwyrJ5R3jSEqzO0O4MaWMEWqgiqyxU/edit?usp=sharing

  • Nominee/Principal Assurance
  • Superintendent/Designee

Upload as PDF during the online submission process.

2019 National Magnet School Merit Award Winners

National merit awards are given to magnet schools that demonstrate a commitment to high academic standards, curriculum innovation, successful desegregation and diversity efforts, and strong parent and community involvement. To be considered for a merit award, member schools must submit an application that is scored by a panel of educators.

There are two categories of merit awards: (1) Magnet Schools of Excellence, the top merit award given to only a select group of magnet schools and (2) Magnet Schools of Distinction, the second highest award of recognition. The highest ranked magnet schools in the Excellence category are eligible to receive MSA’s highest national awards listed below.

  • Miami Lakes Educational Center (Miami-Dade County Public Schools in Miami Lakes, FL) received the Dr. Ronald P. Simpson Distinguished Merit Award, which is named after MSA’s founding member. It is sponsored by American Education Solutions, Inc.
  • Energy Institute High School (Houston Independent School District in Houston, TX) received the Dr. Donald Waldrip Award, which is named after MSA’s first Executive Director. The Waldrip Award is Magnet Schools of America’s second highest honor.
  • Davis Bilingual Magnet Elementary (Tucson Unified School District, in Tucson, AZ) received the President’s Magnet School of Merit Award of Excellence. The President’s Award is Magnet Schools of America’s third highest honor bestowed on behalf of the President of MSA.
  • MacFarlane Park Elementary (Hillsborough County Public Schools in Tampa, FL) received the Elementary Magnet School Merit Award of Excellence.
  • Wake STEM Early College High School (Wake County Public School System in Raleigh, North Carolina) received the Secondary Magnet School of Merit Award of Excellence.
  • Reedy Creek Magnet Middle Center for the Digital Sciences (Wake County Public School System in Raleigh, North Carolina) received the New & Emerging Magnet School of Merit Award sponsored by Hogan Lovells, LLC

2019 Merit Awardee Profiles

Dr. Ronald P. Simpson Distinguished Award – American Education Solutions, Inc.

Miami Lakes Educational Center (MLEC) is an “A-rated” high school built around six rigorous, career- themed academies (Cambridge, Communications, Entrepreneurship, Health Science, Information Technology, and Applied Technology). Their 1216 students enroll in the required core curricula as well as career/technical courses they select within an academy and strand. The strands create a personalized school-within-a-school learning environment for their students. Their goal is to provide students with advanced academics, literature, mathematics, science, and social science choices— while incorporating training in real-world career skills, such as dental assisting and engineering, associated with the specific objectives of each academy and strand. Upon graduation, students will earn a diploma, industry certification and college credits that will accelerate their entry into their chosen college or career path.

Dr. Donald R. Waldrip Award –

Energy Institute High School is the first of its kind in the nation! Energy IHS is a whole school S.T.E.M. magnet program where instruction is delivered completely through project based learning. They are devoted to providing unique opportunities for students through project based learning, technology integration, and authentic industry partnerships. Their energy theme exposes students to careers in the energy industry, problems the industry is working to solve, and the global soft skills students need to be successful post high school.

President’s Magnet School Merit Award of Excellence –  

Davis Bilingual Magnet elementary school has proudly promoted a “Spanish Immersion” Bilingual model for more than thirty-seven years. All teachers hold a Bilingual Endorsement and participate in on-going training in culturally responsive teaching and bilingual methodology. In order to provide a broad foundation for meaningful language learning, enrichment classes are provided for students in Art, Music, Gardening and PE using Spanish as the vehicle for instruction, while offering opportunities for cultural celebrations and transdisciplinary connections. The Tucson community embraces the program as one in which cultural diversity, “familia,” traditions and language learning are celebrated.

Elementary Magnet School of Merit Award of Excellence –

MacFarlane Park Magnet Elementary is nestled in the heart of West Tampa, located in the school district of Hillsborough County, Florida. Their 373 students in kindergarten through fifth grade, represent 34 nationalities, and are inspired to explore beyond their national borders and embrace 21st century learning. Their teachers develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who contribute positively to help shape the life of the school, community, and all of humanity. Special features of their instructional program include strings, world language, an increased focus on geography and culture, environmental issues, peace education, service and conflict resolution.

Secondary Magnet School of Merit Award of Excellence –

The Wake STEM Early College High School is a small public school of choice; a joint project between the Wake County Public School System and North Carolina State University. The theme of the school is College and Career Readiness through a STEM lens. All high school coursework focuses around the NAE’s Grand Challenges for Engineering making each course relevant to the future of society while embedding the “4 C’s of Education”. During the third year of high school,
students begin coursework at NCSU where they are integrated into the classes with the current student body. Through consistent involvement with local business leaders students learn and demonstrate career readiness skills preparing them for future success.

New and Emerging Magnet School Merit Award of Excellence  Hogan Lovells, LLC

The theme of Reedy Creek Magnet Middle School Center for the Digital Sciences is defined by: Embedding computational thinking pedagogy into all curricular areas; offering a menu of digital sciences electives to all students, including a multi-leveled robust mechatronics program; providing technology and software in classrooms and creativity suites to support projects; and fostering unique partnerships with industry leaders that enhance student and teacher learning and engagement. This coming together of unique electives, theme-related co-curricular activities, and core classes taught through the lens of computational thinking prepares students for their futures in a digital world. Working in a digital learning environment, students learn and practice collecting data, breaking it down, analyzing it, looking for patterns, and finding creative and innovative steps to solve problems.

 


2019 Schools of Excellence (Download PDF)

2019 Schools of Distinction (Download PDF)

2018 National Magnet School Merit Award Winners

National merit awards are given to magnet schools that demonstrate a commitment to high academic standards, curriculum innovation, successful desegregation and diversity efforts, and strong parent and community involvement. To be considered for a merit award, member schools must submit an application that is scored by a panel of educators.

This year, 389 magnet schools applied for national merit awards, making 2018 the most competitive year in the award program’s history. There are two categories of merit awards: (1) Magnet Schools of Excellence, the top merit award given to only a select group of magnet schools and (2) Magnet Schools of Distinction, the second highest award of recognition. The highest ranked magnet schools in the Excellence category are eligible to receive MSA’s highest national awards listed below.

  • East Career and Technical Academy (Clark County School District, NV) received the Dr. Ronald P. Simpson Distinguished Merit Award, which is named after MSA’s founding member. It is sponsored by American Education Solutions, Inc.
  • Van Nuys High School (Los Angeles Unified School District, CA) received the Dr. Donald Waldrip Award, which is named after MSA’s first Executive Director. The Waldrip Award is Magnet Schools of America’s second highest honor.
  • Liberty Elementary STEM Museum Magnet (Broward County Public Schools, FL) received the President’s Magnet School of Merit Award of Excellence. The President’s Award is Magnet Schools of America’s third highest honor bestowed on behalf of the President of MSA.
  • Farmington Woods International Baccalaureate PYP Magnet Elementary (Wake County Public School System, North Carolina) received the Elementary Magnet School Merit Award of Excellence.
  • Young Women’s Preparatory Academy (Miami-Dade County Public Schools, FL) received the Secondary Magnet School of Merit Award of Excellence.
  • McCaw STEAM Academy (Clark County School District, NV) received the New & Emerging Magnet School of Merit Award sponsored by Hogan Lovells, LLC.

 

2018 Merit Awardee Profiles

Dr. Ronald P. Simpson Distinguished Award – American Education Solutions, Inc.

East Career and Technical Academy is a Magnet Schools of America Nationally Certified Demonstration School. It is a Title I School and the only five-star high school in Nevada that serves a free and reduced lunch student population of over 60 percent. Students at East Tech enroll in one of eight themes such as construction technology, culinary arts, health information management, or marketing and hospitality. All of these programs are divided into three houses to promote a smaller learning community environment. It is part of the Clark County School District in Nevada.

Dr. Donald R. Waldrip Award –

Van Nuys High School offers three magnet programs: medical; performing arts; and science, technology, and math. Each magnet program is infused with a college preparatory core curriculum of mathematics and sciences regardless of study. The arts include a variety of creative opportunities including dance, theater, voice, music, film, and stage technology. It is part of the Los Angeles Unified School District in California.

Elementary Magnet School of Merit Award of Excellence –

Farmington Woods Elementary embraces inquiry based learning with a focus on global understanding. It seeks to empower critical thinkers through a rigorous IB curriculum that fosters lifelong learning, international mindedness, and citizenship. It is part of the Wake County Public School System in North Carolina.

Secondary Magnet School of Merit Award of Excellence –

Young Women’s Preparatory Academy is the first single-gender public school in Miami. It was established in 2006 as a one-to-one technology leadership magnet school for 6-12th grade girls. The school’s leadership theme is based on Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. It is part of Miami-Dade County Public Schools in Florida.

New and Emerging Magnet School Merit Award of Excellence  Hogan Lovells, LLC

McCaw STEAM Academy engages students in the critical areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math with a focus in geological science. The goal of the school is to help students become innovators and critical thinkers while developing a growth mindset that begins with goal setting. This all takes place during an extended day that allows students to participate in Makerspace, Robotics, and Fine Art Labs as well as engage in the Design Thinking Process in its Discovery Center. It is part of the Clark County School District in Nevada.

President’s Magnet School Merit Award of Excellence –  

Liberty Elementary is a STEM museum magnet school that seeks to prepare students to become problem solvers who can compete in a global society. It integrates STEM instruction and activities throughout the school day. Students at Liberty Elementary demonstrate their content knowledge by completing semester long cross-curricular STEM projects that are showcased twice yearly when the school is transformed into a museum. It is part of Broward County Public Schools in Florida.


2018 Schools of Excellence

2018 Schools of Distinction


Learn how to become a Nationally Certified Magnet School

Raise the level of performance consistent throughout school districts nationwide and creates a platform from which all magnet schools can flourish. Magnet Schools of America’s national certification process is designed to recognize the hard work of the best magnet schools in the nation and to help them as they grow.

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