Magnet Schools of America Newsletter
April 2016
Growing by Leaps and Bounds

Doreen MarvinAs we hit the home stretch toward the end of another fantastic school year, I would like to express my gratitude for the tremendous work you do as magnet school educators. Over the last two years, it has been my honor and privilege to serve as the president of Magnet Schools of America (MSA). Over this period, I have watched our organization blossom and grow by leaps and bounds.

For example, this year MSA will usher in a new era by launching the first ever national magnet school certification program based on the five pillars of magnet schools and the National Magnet School Standards of Excellence. These standards define the essential elements and characteristics of high-quality magnet programs, and will provide benchmarks for schools and districts to use when aspiring to develop or improve their magnet schools. 

This year, we solidified our leadership team by hiring Executive Director, Todd Mann and expanded the role of our Director of Magnet School Leadership, Kelly Bucherie. They both have done a marvelous job providing new vision and direction for MSA. We also have welcomed new professional staff, Fawzia Ampaware, Jynaya Joiner, and Elaina Hundley to our national office to help raise our levels of service to members and to the field of magnet school choice. I want to thank our Director of Operations, Judy Shen who will be celebrating her ninth year as a MSA employee, and our Legislative Manager, John Laughner who has been with the organization for six years. Their service has been tantamount to our ongoing success. In addition, the Board of Directors continues to work tirelessly on behalf of the students in our magnet schools. Please join me in thanking the staff and the Board for their expertise and dedication.

One of the highlights of my term as president, was welcoming the U.S. Secretary of Education John King to our national policy conference in Washington, DC last February. This was the first time that a Secretary of Education has talked to our group in person. This symbolizes the high regard held for magnet schools and our association. During the same conference, it was also inspiring to hear civil rights icon, Representative John Lewis pay tribute to the magnet school community for their efforts to promote school integration. We should never forget his message of hope and words of encouragement to keep fighting for our schools and students, because so much is at stake. 

In line with this sentiment, our association was able to achieve recent legislative victories. Last year, we were able to ensure that the Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) was reauthorized during the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act. This will ultimately lead to additional funding for magnet schools. As a group, we were also able to protect this program from the very real threat of elimination last year. During this moment of uncertainty, we were able to organize at the grassroots level and express our strong support for MSAP by sending thousands of letters to our elected officials in Congress. 

Currently, the organization is undertaking a public relations campaign that includes press outreach and completing research about magnets in each state. We also continue to nurture our relationships with partners that share our commitment to public education, and equity and access for all students to high-quality magnet schools.  
As we prepare for the national conference in Miami, I am proud to report that excitement for MSA is at an all-time high. This year, we had a record number of Merit Award, Principal of the Year and Teacher of the Year applications. Presenting these awards to our members has been one of my most fulfilling duties as president. Before I pass the torch to our very capable President-Elect, Sara Wheeler, I want to thank you again for all that you do on behalf of our students and communities.
All the best!

Doreen Marvin
President, Magnet Schools of America

MSA Miami 2016 - Riding the Wave!


The 34th National Conference on Magnet Schools is just 14 days away! Join us May 3-7, 2016 at the InterContiental in Miami, Florida.

During the conference, we will hold numerous professional development sessions, networking events, and magnet school tours hosted by Miami-Dade County Public Schools. We promise, MSA Miami 2016 will be an unforgettable experience that you don't want to miss!  

Guest Speakers

Alberto Carvalho, Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools

JD Hoye, President of National Academy Foundation (NAF)

Tristian Stobie, Director of Education at Cambridge International Examinations

Breakout Sessions

During the conference, numerous breakout sessions will be held that focus on the five pillars of magnet schools (diversity; innovative curriculum and professional development; academic excellence; high quality instructional systems; and, family and community partnerships). They will cater to all magnet school professionals in all grade levels. 

School Tours
During MSA Miami 2016, attendees will visit some of Miami-Dade County Public Schools' most popular magnet programs. In all, the district offers over 375 magnet programs in over 100 schools, with a total enrollment of 64,175 students. To see a full description of all the magnet school tours that will take place, please visit


The national conference will culminate with an Extravaganza held at the historic Olympia Theater in downtown Miami. This final event will include guest speakers, student performances, the announcement of our top national awards, and a final opportunity to network with fellow colleagues and peers.

Mobilizing Support for Magnet Schools

Last February, MSA gave Congressman Joe Courtney its inaugural Champion of Magnet School Excellence Award for his support of magnet schools in the nation's capital. Demonstrating his continued leadership, the Congressman submitted a magnet school funding letter with his colleagues to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee.  

It was signed by 22 other influential Members of Congress including the Ranking Member of the House Education and Workforce Committee Bobby Scott, the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus G.K. Butterfield, and several members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Appropriations Committee. 

This type of funding letter is used in the budget process to gauge congressional support for federal education programs. Through grassroots messaging and in-person meetings with congressional leaders, members and staff of Magnet Schools of America were able to secure signatories to this letter.

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

Magnet School Funding Letter -Signatories

Rep. CourtneyRep. 
S. Davis 

Rep. TakanoRep. 
F. Wilson 

B. Lee 
D. Davis

Be sure to also thank your representative for signing on to the 
magnet school funding letter in our Grassroots Action Center

Promoting STEM Education

kids_fieldtrip2.jpg Last week, the U.S. Department of Education released a "Dear Colleague" letter outlining ways that states and local school districts can maximize federal education dollars to provide students with increased access to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education opportunities during the 2016-2017 school year. It also provides guidance how these entities will be able to leverage new resources authorized under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). 

The letter provides specific examples how state education agencies (SEAs) and local education agencies (LEAs) can use existing federal formula grants to support STEM education. It outlines how a SEA or LEA can use Title I funds for field trips and to purchase STEM materials, devices, or STEM-focused digital learning resources; Title II funds to train educators on new STEM concepts and approaches, and Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education funding to develop a comprehensive STEM pathway program. It also emphasizes that Magnet Schools Assistance Program grants may be used to support STEM focused instructional activities. 

Additionally, the department's letter references how SEAs and LEAs will be able to use new Title IV block grants for Well Rounded educational opportunities under ESSA. This includes using these funds to increase access to STEM education to student groups who are underrepresented in STEM fields. This could take the form of using Title IV grants to support the creation of STEM-focused specialty schools, like magnet programs.

Meet Your Membership 
Coordinator Elaina Hundley

Elaina Hundley recently joined MSA as our Membership Coordinator. She is excited to serve as a point person to all members, to cultivate new memberships, and to coordinate with MSA's staff to continually improve and customize member benefits and services. 

Elaina completed her Bachelor's Degree in Literature at American University and shortly thereafter worked as a Program Assistant to the College of Arts and Sciences Peer Advising Program. The following year she served as an Academic Advisor at the University of the District of Columbia where she worked with students from all walks of life. These experiences and others have shaped her passion for student services and enthusiasm for strong customer care. She also has event planning, marketing, writing and editing experience under her belt.
She decided to join MSA because she is fascinated by the impact schools have on society, is interested in learning more about education policy, and is invested in expanding her expertise to include non-profit development, communications, and member services experiences.

You may contact her at 

High School Music Faculty Opening

Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts (CCA) would like to announce a faculty opening in the area of Instrumental Music. CCA is an award-winning, fine arts magnet school in a thriving, mid-sized city. This is a position for a licensed teacher and involves teaching winds, percussion, and chamber orchestra courses to 6th -12th grade students. It is not a marching band position, but such credentials will be considered. CCA has been named a magnet school of distinction and school of excellence by Magnet Schools of America and an exemplary school by Arts Schools Network. 

Learn more about the school at or contact Cathy Carroccio at 

To read the full job announcement, please click here

Support for Students and Educators 

Grants of up to $4,000 will be awarded to elementary schools to support the professional development of teachers in mathematics. Costs may include honoraria and expenses for consultants, materials, substitute teacher time, and conference or workshop registrations. While the program does not fund the purchase of technology, proposals including professional development in the use of technology to enhance student learning are encouraged. 

Application Deadline: May 6, 2016

The Dominion K-12 Educational Partnership program awards grants of up to $2,500 to encourage the development of new programs aimed at strengthening math and science education through the study of energy and/or the environment. In 2016, the foundation will award approximately $1 million in educational partnership grants in its service areas in Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia.

To be eligible, applicants must be a public or private elementary or secondary school. Application deadline May 31, 2016

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. 

The program provides support to public school teachers, public education support professionals, and/or faculty and staff in public institutions of higher education through grants to individuals to fund participation in high-quality professional development experiences such as summer institutes or action research; or to groups for collegial study (including study groups, action research, lesson study, or mentoring experiences for new faculty or staff).

The grant amount is $2,000 for individuals and $5,000 for groups engaged in collegial study. Application Deadline June 1, 2016 

The foundation is accepting grant applications from pre-K-12 educators who need financial assistance to maintain or implement an arts education program in the 2017-18 school year. Grants of up to $1,000 will be awarded to support new or evolving programs that integrate the arts into educational programming.

Application packets will be accepted starting July 1. To be accepted, application packets must be postmarked no later than September 30, 2016

Magnets Making News 

At Ridge View High, IHS is open to students in grades 9 through 12. Each year, they study a different area of health science and conduct independent research to build management and communication skills, self-direction and perseverance.

A nondescript building next to the sprawling campus of the Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center hides one of LA Unified's greatest accomplishments. The building could easily be passed over as a radiology center or an administrative center, as there are no athletic fields or obvious indicators other than a small sign out front to let passersby know it is in fact a high school.

When Rockdale County native Jodie Wu wants to reach customers for her business she doesn't rely on internet marketing, direct mail, print ads, commercials, phone calls or signage. Instead, she gathers up a sales force of representatives and sends them deep into the Tanzanian bush where they visit villages, schools, and local markets to sell her product.

Diana Favata remembers back to only a few years ago when Riverhills Elementary was a struggling school. The students' annual state test scores ranked near the bottom among Hillsborough County's public schools. Thankfully, that scenario has become a mere memory since the fall of 2013 when the school revamped its focus to attract a more diverse population and opened its doors as a magnet school.

Max Lamantia and Devin Schafer, seniors at Central Magnet School in Murfreesboro, came up with the concept of a new type of nail to solve the issue of nails' tendency to work themselves out of wood over time. The problem, as old as nails themselves, stems from natural fluctuations of the material they are hammered into due to factors such as heat and humidity.

District administrators say they hope magnets help reverse years of falling enrollment and funding. Opened in August, Johnson was the first step in a long-term district strategy to open several new magnet schools at every academic level over the next few years, said Trace Pickering, associate superintendent of innovation, school improvement and technology.


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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.

MSA Standards
of Excellence Certification Program

Do you want to be one of the FIRST schools in the nation to be certified?

Magnet Schools Change Lives! We all know magnet schools are a cut above the rest with a focus on excellence, diversity and innovation for students. 

To that end, we will launch the first national magnet school certification process during MSA Miami 2016 and you don't want to miss this opportunity - we will take the first 100 schools who submit a full application. We want you to be on 
that list! 

Be recognized as one of the best magnet schools in the nation through the Standards of Excellence Certification Program.

Have questions? Attend
one of the informational sessions 
held during the National Conference to learn how to become a nationally certified magnet school.

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