Success Stories


Standing on Top of the Mountain

Standing on Top of the Mountain

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, East Career and Technical Academy (East Tech) in Las Vegas, Nevada stands tall as one of only 15 Magnet Schools of America nationally certified Demonstration Schools and the Dr. Ronald P. Simpson Distinguished Merit Award winner for 2018 – MSA’s highest honor. Known as “The Mountain” by students, faculty and staff, East Tech empowers its learners to climb to the top and reach for success in an ever-changing technological world.

A Conversation from the Classroom

A Conversation from the Classroom

This month, we had the opportunity to talk with Jillian Schulte, Magnet Coordinator and 21st Century Learning Specialist for the Kenwood Leadership Academy, which is part of the Cedar Rapids Community School District in Iowa. The purpose of the conversation was to learn about the district’s new leadership magnet school that is based on Steven Covey’s Leader in Me program.

A Journey Toward Certification

A Journey Toward Certification

In 2012, a group of Magnet Schools of America's board members, and volunteers from the membership, took on the task of examining the MSA five Pillars and drafting the Standards of Excellence. Through thirty-six months of drafts and a certification pilot study with six membership districts, the final ten Standards of Excellence were presented to the organization's membership. The purpose of these standards was to drive the process and work for becoming a nationally certified magnet school. Each of the standards have several performance indicators with a rubric that allowed schools to measure their status against exemplars.

Supporting and Celebrating Diversity

Supporting and Celebrating Diversity

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is the second largest school district in the nation. It boasts a diverse student population, a multitude of schools (approximately 900), and reaches beyond the city limits to serve students in 31 smaller, surrounding municipalities. What makes LAUSD even more unique is their focus on racial integration.

Those Who Can, Teach

Those Who Can, Teach

Mr. Matthew Waynee of LAUSD’s LAUSD / USC Media Arts & Engineering Magnet (USC MAE), has an illustrious background. He proves the old idiom, “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach,” false - he does and teaches (well). From his first years post undergrad in TFA teaching at a rural high school in Texas, to his ongoing work in the film industry and his dedication to his current role as a Cinematic Arts teacher at USC MAE, Mr. Waynee’s career is quite a balancing act and his success proves that it’s all worth it.

Elementary Engineering: Architecting a Lasting Curricula

Elementary Engineering: Architecting a Lasting Curricula

2016 has been a busy year for the students, teachers and leaders of Douglas L. Jamerson Junior Elementary School (DLJ) in Pinellas County. The school has earned a number of awards, including MSA's School of Excellence Award, they were named the top Elementary STEM program in the nation by the Future of Education Technology Conference, they are a National PTA School of Excellence, and they have also been named a Five Star School by the Florida Department of Education.

Implementing the Empowerment Method

Implementing the Empowerment Method

Kathleen Decker, principal at Walter Bracken, Walter Long, and Hollingsworth STEAM Academies in Clark County School District, (CCSD), located in Las Vegas, Nevada, is not new to success. She was named MSA Principal of the Year in 2013 for her vibrant leadership skills and ability to turn around Walter Bracken, which in 2001 was a failing school. Since her initial MSA recognition, two more schools have been placed under her leadership. One ingredient of her success with all three schools is her use of the empowerment method.

Alumni Voice: Maya Rhodan

Alumni Voice: Maya Rhodan

Maya Rhodan grew up in the Southside of Chicago, Illinois. She began her magnet school career in elementary school at Murray Language Academy, a K-8 magnet school offering French, Japanese, Mandarin, and Spanish Language studies to its students.Immediately following her time at Murray Language Academy, Maya attended Whitney M. Young Magnet High School. Maya shares her alma mater with another esteemed alumna, First Lady Michelle Obama.

From Struggling School to Stellar School: Martin T. Reid’s School Turn-Around Tale

From Struggling School to Stellar School: Martin T. Reid’s School Turn-Around Tale

In 2009, Martin T. Reid joined Arthur & Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts. Armed with a strong educational background, a B.S. from Florida A&M University, M.S. from Nova Southeastern University and an Ed. S. from The University of Miami, plus years of experience teaching and leading as a principal, Mr. Reid was ready for any challenge that Mays, a tough urban school with inner city problems.

How Going 'All In' on a Theme Makes for a Joyful and Fun Learning Experience  at Douglas Elementary

How Going 'All In' on a Theme Makes for a Joyful and Fun Learning Experience at Douglas Elementary

Derek Burns, the principal at Douglas Creative Arts and Science Magnet Elementary School, insists that, “If you don’t go all in, it’s not going to work.” The “it” he is referring to here is Douglas’ magnet theme, the creative arts and sciences. Mr. Burns is heading into his third year at Douglas and he believes that allowing his faculty and staff the freedom to be creative, and modeling a strong commitment to infusing Douglas’ creative arts and sciences theme into everything they do, are the keys to building and sustaining a successful magnet school.


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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