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2017 Technical Assistance & Training Conference

Magnets by Design (MbD)

October 4 – 6

The Hyatt Regency

Join us for the annual technical assistance and training conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota October 4-6, 2017.  Experience a journey through the opportunities and services members are requesting from MSA’s National Institute for Magnet School Leadership!  This technical assistance conference will provide teachers, school and district leaders, and school advocates a unique lens into the world of the Standards of Excellence and beyond.  Sessions will include magnet entrepreneurship, strategic opportunities, innovative magnet, and leveraging diversity.  Hear from industry experts with behind the scenes examination on critical components of an exemplar magnet school/program and what earning certification requires.

A closed (complimentary) coaching session will be offered to schools currently in the Standards of Excellence Certification.

Five Pillars for Magnet Schools:
– Diversity
– Innovative Curriculum Development
– Academic Excellence
– High Quality Instructional Systems
– Family and Community Partnerships

Day 1 – Wednesday, October 4, 2017 (11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.)

Registration and Check-in begins at 11:00 a.m.

1:00PM – 2:05PM   Opening Session

2:10PM – 3:20PM   Session 1

  • Beyond the Classroom: Five Strategies for Building Community Partnerships

    “Strong community partnerships are a crucial component of magnet programs as they afford students the opportunities and experiences necessary for them to become fully immersed and engaged in their program. Done well, the formulation of community partnerships can expand the classroom experience where students can see their work as authentic and make learning more relevant. Learn five strategies that will help you establish an initiative to engage local business and industry leaders in partnerships that will serve as a critical step towards building a strong magnet program, engaged students, and a talented workforce.”

  • Magnetpolooza: A Compendium of Magnet Effective Practices

    This workshop will engage attendees in an overview of the NIMSL professional development offerings that support the Standards of Excellence – Innovative Curriculum and Professional Development and Academic Excellence. These standards define the essential elements and characteristics of high-quality magnet programs. Making a shift in their thinking and practice, work-session attendees will:

    • Examine barriers and opportunities,
    • Explore concrete, real-world examples of innovations, and
    • Design unique solutions to support theme-based education in a diverse and authentic innovative landscape.

3:20PM – 3:30PM   Break

3:30PM – 4:25PM   Magnet “Shark Tank”

  • YouScience is a next generation online career guidance program that captures real measures of aptitudes through a series of brain games. Students get in-depth information on their unique talents, and can explore careers that best-fit their abilities.  YouScience also gives students personalized language to help them with application essays and resumes. It’s easily accessed by smartphone so students can share their results with parents. Additionally, YouScience makes it easy for faculty. Student analytics are provided to counselors and administrators, giving you insights to get students into the right programs, pathways, and post-secondary programs based on their abilities.
  • The Renzulli Learning System is an interactive online teaching tool that provides an individual profile for each student’s academic strengths, interests, learning styles, and preferred modes of expression. A one-of- a-kind search engine then matches personalized and differentiated resources to each student’s profile. The program enables teachers to quickly and easily select and infuse high engagement resources into any and all standard curricular activities and enables educators to differentiate instruction and enhances academic performance. Renzulli Learning has been used by millions of students and more than 100,000 teachers in schools across the globe.
  • Creative Learning Systems provides schools with custom-built Smart Labs as an effective way to rapidly deploy school-wide STEM programming to prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow. Numerous magnet schools across the country are already implementing SmartLabs to differentiate their programs. SmartLabs are turnkey and come with everything you and your students need, from environment to proven curriculum engaging students for years to come. We put relevant technology in the hands of students of all ages and abilities, including ESL. Engage your students in personalized learning that will change the way they learn for the rest of their lives!

4:25PM – 4:35PM   Break

4:35PM – 5:45PM   Session 2

During this session, Magnet Super Heroe’s will engage in Master Planning for Innovation (MPI) strategies to re-engineer processes, engage critical stakeholders, and to enable cohesive, collaborative work focused on magnet school goals and MSA Standards of Excellence.This session will allow learning innovators to discover their superpowers. Your superpowers allow you to leverage effective tools, nurture talent, and drive creativity and innovation. Magnet Super Heroe’s have the capacity to develop skills, gather meaningful insight, initiate master plans, and execute strategies successfully. Super Heroe’s fill the gap between planning and execution by:

    • Propelling responsive and effective change strategies,
    • Creating new ways to engage stakeholders,
    • Maximizing internal staff super powers and capacity,
    • Increasing value propositions, and
    • Reinventing services and supports.

5:45PM – 7:00PM   Networking Reception

Magnet “Shark Tank” Demonstrations:

  • Creative Learning Systems @ 6:00PM
  • The Renzulli Learning System @ 6:20PM
  • YouScience @ 6:40PM

Day 2 – Thursday, October 5, 2017 (8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)

Registration and Check-in begins at 8:00 a.m.

8:00AM – 9:00AM       Breakfast on your own

9:10AM – 10:20AM     Session 3

  • Leveraging Diversity Through An Anti-Bias Framework and Perspectives For a Diverse America

    Leveraging our school diversity is critical to the function of magnet schools, and to improve student interaction, we will explore a new resource for schools. Perspectives For A Diverse America (PDA) was created by Teaching Tolerance, a division of the Southern Poverty Law Center for schools and teachers to use alongside Common Core. This resource is an invaluable tool that Glacier Hills Elementary School of Arts & Science and ISD 196 have used to align core curriculum with the Anti-Bias Framework and Central Text Anthology. Participants will have an opportunity to develop their own learning plan using the tool. 

  • The Magnet Trifecta: Leveraging National, State and Local Partnerships to Sustain Magnet Schools

    Creating strategic partnerships with national, state and local leaders can advance magnet schools as a vital component in the landscape of school choice. Learn how South Carolina is embracing magnet schools as part of its Office of School Choice and Innovation and how one district is leveraging this opportunity. Participants will learn how to translate these opportunities into funding to support magnet schools from three perspectives:

    1) Barbara Turner, School Choice Education Associate, South Carolina Department of Education will provide an overview of how the role of magnet schools has evolved in South Carolina. Ms. Turner will explain what the South Carolina Department of Education Office of School Choice and Innovation is doing to support the growth and sustainability of magnet schools throughout the state.

    2) Sara Wheeler, Magnet Director, School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties and President of Magnet Schools of America (MSA) will provide an overview of how national partnerships can be leveraged at the state level to support magnet schools through coordinated advocacy and communication efforts. Ms. Wheeler will provide an account of how her role as a MSA Board Member was influential in elevating the role and expansion of magnet schools in South Carolina and how this has benefited her school district.

    3) Allison Kirby, Grant Writer, School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties will provide an overview of how the district is assisting its magnet schools to sustain funding for theme-based education by leveraging these partnerships into viable funding streams.

10:20AM – 10:30AM   AM Refresh   Sponsored by American Education Solutions

10:30AM – 11:10AM   Magnet “Shark Tank”

  • Meteor Education Connecting the Dots – from High Impact Learning Environments to High Impact Classroom Strategies to tools that facilitate learning.The research tells us collaborative teaching and learning can increase student learning by 20%. In spite of sweeping education reform, only 10% of schools are “future ready” and 70% of change initiatives fail. As districts and schools consider strategies to modernize their learning environments and teaching strategies,  what are best practices supported by research that have the most impact on student achievement and teacher engagement? Join us for a brief discussion and synopsis of how Meteor can help.
  • MobileMakersEdu supports schools in bringing mobile iOS app development to high school students. As an Apple Professional Learning Provider, MobileMakersEdu empowers teachers of any discipline to teach the iOS Swift coding language to their students.  Their comprehensive program includes year-long curriculum, teacher training, access (membership) to a professional learning community, and support from working iOS developers all year long. The courses are attractive to a range of students as the language is relatable, and the apps students build run on devices they know and use.  The courses align to AP CSP and are designed to prepare students with the basics needed to be successful in AP CS A, or simply to provide a base knowledge of coding. This program enables schools to offer ALL students an entry point to skills required for future success in college or career. Take advantage of the special financing terms offered to MSA members. Contact us at {}

11:10AM – 11:30AM   MSA’s new Report on magnet Schools in the US

11:30AM – 12:30PM   Networking Lunch

12:30PM – 1:40PM     Session 4

  • IB PYP Student Ambassadors in Action: Creating a Climate and Culture to Champion Diversity & Excellence

    Technical: process for selecting students; setting expectations for students, staff, and students’ parents; supervision and mentoring of students; scheduling student meeting times to respect core instruction; determining affinity groups and aligning them with needs of the school community; determining projects & aligning work to Programme of Inquiry, and Learner Profiles and Attitudes; bridging Student Ambassador experiences with SEL systems and processes that support students with special needs and their families (ex: IEPs, 504s, MTSS, etc.).

  • Vision Mapping: Leveraging Talent to Gain District Support for Magnet Schools

    Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) has been offering magnet schools for over 35 years. Develop a Vision Map, in this session, to leverage support for your magnet school(s) and learn about essential systems, protocols, and processes used in WCPSS to sustain strong magnet schools. Presentation specifics will focus on budget expenditures, securing essential positions, non-evaluative program instruments, program implementation plans, and much more!

1:40PM – 2:10PM       Break   Sponsored by American Education Solutions

Magnet “Shark Tank” Demonstrations:

  • MeTEOR Education
  • MobileMakersEdu

2:10PM – 3:20PM       Session 5

  • The Road to Equity, Diversity & Excellence

    Join us for an engaging look at the collaborative route Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools designed to increase equitable access to high-quality magnet programs and school choice options. Using findings from a study visit conducted by Magnet Schools of America as a roadmap, the Office of School Options and Innovation, started the journey along the road to increase equity, diversity and excellence within district policies that impact magnet programming. Join us to explore the delays, detours as well as the destination celebrations along this journey to excellence.

  • The Power of Progressive Education (CANCELLED)

    This presentation will take you through the framework of progressive education and provide an understanding of progressive pedagogy. The power of having interdisciplinary units of study that are whole child focused and rooted in experiential authentic learning and assessment opportunities to actively engage and grow both the learner and facilitator.

3:20PM – 3:50PM       PM Break   Sponsored by American Education Solutions

3:50PM – 4:30PM       Closing Session

  • Merit Award Q & A Forum

Day 3 – Friday, October 6, 2017 (6:50 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.)

School Site Visits

6:45AM – 7:15AM       Breakfast

7:15AM – 7:30AM       Line-up and depart for Schools

8:00AM – 11:30AM     School site visits

11:30AM – 11:40AM   Line-up and depart for Hotel

12:00PM – 12:15PM    Return to hotel

Safe travels

Friday, October 6, 2017


Richfield Dual Language School (RDLS) K-5
Richfield Public Schools, MN

RDLS serves children in PreK-5 as a dual immersion magnet school.  Students learn from highly qualified bilingual teachers who provide instruction in Spanish part of the day and English part of the day with the intention of developing bilingual and bicultural individuals. Students achieve academically in both Spanish and English while developing cultural understanding. RDLS features:
– Highly-qualified and fully bilingual staff with diverse cultural and language backgrounds
– Classroom teachers, specialists and support staff attend to each student’s unique learning needs and work together to help every student excel
– A warm, welcoming community extends genuine care and support to each student and family

Whittier International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) K-5
Minneapolis Public Schools, MN

Whittier’s prestigious IB Primary Years Programme is a comprehensive approach to teaching and learning through which students become inquirers, critical thinkers and communicators via integrated units of study. IB PYP model develops the individual talents of learners and helps them relate experiences inside the classroom to the realities of the world outside the classroom, encouraging empowered citizenship and action. Whittier is one of three IB PYP schools within Minneapolis Schools, and is part of the K-12 IB pathway.


Seward Montessori School K-8
Minneapolis Public Schools, MN

Based on theories and practices developed by Maria Montessori, Seward implements an individualized, self-directed approach using specifically designed Montessori materials, supporting students progressing at their own rate. Seward helps students draw upon their varied gifts and talents in order to become self-motivated and independent. Students learn in traditional, multi-age classrooms from Children’s House (pre-kindergarten) through E2 (4th/5th grades); middle school classrooms continue the spirit of self-motivated independence outside of the Montessori framework. Seward is one of two Montessori framework magnet schools within Minneapolis Schools.

North Academy of Arts & Communication | North STEM Academy 9-12
Minneapolis Public Schools, MN

North High is a small, college-preparatory school that consists of two academies Arts and Communications (NAAC) and Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (NSTEM). Students enrolled in NAAC have opportunities to excel in dance, theater, radio, video production, visual arts, music, and public speaking. The North STEM Academy offers incoming ninth graders a project-based learning approach as a means to studying Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. North’s mission is to ensure that all students acquire the knowledge and skills to succeed in college and their chosen career path.


Glacier Hills Elementary School of Arts & Science K-5
District 196, MN

Glacier Hills Elementary offers an interdisciplinary approach to a rigorous core curriculum. Students engage in innovative and challenging instruction designed to enhance their natural curiosity and creativity. Teachers empower students to inquire, express and discover their unique abilities through a variety of experiences. Additional in-depth study of scientific concepts through authentic lab opportunities and quality integration of the arts provide students with a differentiated academic environment. Our media resource center, computer lab, 3D printers, laser cutter and wireless mobile labs extend the learning for all students. (Students will not be in session)

Cedar Park STEM Elementary
District 196, MN

Students at Cedar Park use their innate ability to explore, experiment, problem solve and invent through engaged and sustained learning. The technology enhanced classrooms, environmentally conscious science and engineering labs, and outdoor learning areas provide opportunities for students to experience learning in active, real life environments. The inquiry based instructional program nurtures our students’ spirit of curiosity, questioning, reflection, and respect for evidence. Offsite field studies expand our students’ knowledge of the natural world and develop a level of personal responsibility for environmental stewardship. Community partnerships support and extend the relevant and engaging educational environment of Cedar Park STEM. (Students will not be in session)

Valley Middle School of STEM 6-8
District 196, MN

Valley Middle School of STEM is a magnet school that embeds the study of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics into a collaborative and diverse learning environment. Students receive a comprehensive education with a strong emphasis on experiential, hands-on, and inquiry-based learning that mirrors the world around them. Through interactive lessons, teachers assist students in forming their identities as lifelong learners and problem solvers. (Students will not be in session)


MSA Member Non-Member
Early Bird
Register on/before September 11
$629 $779
Register between September 12 – 27
$679 $829
After September 27
$729 $879

*If you have any questions, please email or call (202) 824-0672.

Policies & Procedures (please read carefully!)

Online registration ONLY

Cancellations and requests for refunds must be submitted in writing via email to no later than September 11, 2017.  A $150 administrative fee will be assessed on all cancellation and refund requests, if made on/before September 11, 2017.  Absolutely no refunds will be considered after this deadline (September 11, 2017).  Faxes and verbal cancellation/refund requests will not be accepted.

A $50 fee will be assessed after September 11, 2017 to transfer registration from one individual to another.  Registration transfer requests must be submitted in writing via email to by October 1, 2017.

Registration fees may not be credited to membership or future MSA events.

Payment must be received within 21 days of registration.

Please mail all checks to: Magnet Schools of America | 1909 K Street, NW Suite C-140 | Washington, DC 20006

All registrations with purchase orders (PO): please include current PO number in the billing section of the online registration form, along with a copy of the PO (file may be uploaded). If your PO has not been generated, please email a copy of the document to or fax to 202-737-0100 within 10 business days of registering.

Credit Card payments may be processed online during the registration process OR CLICK HERE TO PAY ONLINE. Onsite payments and purchase orders may be accepted at Onsite Registration with a credit card guarantee. Only cash, credit/debit card or corporate/district pre-printed checks will be accepted.

The Hyatt Regency Bloomington-Minneapolis

3200 E 81st St
Bloomington, MN 55425
(888) 421-1442

$173 per night plus tax (single/double)

  • CHECK-IN: after 3:00 PM
  • CHECK-OUT: 11:00 AM

*The group block expires on Friday, September 15, 2017, so please make your reservation today.  Room rate is not guaranteed for all nights and is based on availability.

All reservations must be secured with a valid credit card along with a first night’s deposit.  Checks and major credit cards are acceptable to establish prepayment.  All credit cards used to prepay the room deposit will be charged immediately.  Individual reservations must be cancelled no later than 24 hours prior to intended arrival in order to avoid cancellation charges.

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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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