MSA Structure and By Laws
Magnet Schools of America is a professional association that is driven by its members representing nearly 2000 magnet schools nation wide, as well as members of the community including, parents and families, school district leaders, businesses partners and institutions of higher education. The Board of Directors, many of whom currently work in or with magnet schools, govern MSA. The executive committee is made up of the Treasurer, Secretary, Parliamentarian, President, President-Elect, and Past President. MSA also has a regional structure with eight regions, each with a regional director who serves on the board. The Executive Director and staff serve in the National Office, based in Washington, DC.
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A Brief History
In the 1960's in the United States, some options to traditional public schools sprang up as a protest against racially segregated schools. The history of magnet schools is tied to the 1960's protest over school desegregation and the educational reform model of public school choice as a way to address educational inequity.
In the 1980's, Magnet Schools of America (MSA) was organized as a for-profit organization, incorporated in the State of Texas, sponsoring conferences. In the early 1990's, a small group of magnet leaders met and organized an Association of members. In 1994, MSA was approved by the IRS as a 501(c) 3 not-for profit, professional educational association. Originally located in Houston, TX, MSA relocated its office to Washington, D.C. in 2000.
Today, MSA sponsors programs, events, technical assistance, student scholarships, professional development, and leadership through the National Institute for Magnet School Leadership (NIMSL). There are approximately 4,000 magnet and theme-based schools across the U.S., and are experiencing a reniassance as districts reconsider magnet schools as a means to attract new students, provide choice and innovation, and turn around low-performing schools.
Services Provided by Magnet Schools of America
Technical assistance is provided to schools and districts on a fee for service basis through the National Institute for Magnet School Leadership (NIMSL). Services can be tailored to meet the individual needs of schools and districts through our exclusive network of national magnet school experts. Please contact Crystal Moore at (202)824-0672 or Crystal.Moore@magnet.edu for more information and consultation.
Magnet School Design
Community engagement across sectors, surveys, and developing a clear and strategic focus for implementing new or re-designed magnet schools is essential for developing high performing, value added magnet schools. Magnet Schools of America can help your district with community engagement design, facilitation, and collecting/reporting of survey data to determine what magnet themes are best suited for your community based on your unique setting and capacity. School diversity is an essential component to a thriving magnet school; we can assist with technical, legal, and best practices for meeting your goals.
As you implement your magnet theme, you may need advice on best practices for implementing successful magnet schools which may include staffing, leadership, instructional focus and assessment. We can also assist with informing your School Board about magnet schools, provide research, and advise you in writing your MSAP grant.
Magnet School Reorganization and Invigoration
Some magnet schools are “magnets” in name only while others have been magnet schools for so long, they begin to look more and more like every other school in the neighborhood. Magnet Schools of America will assess your schools vital statistics which include community value, leadership, curriculum, instructional focus, parental support, and make recommendations based on the viability and opportunity for the school to be a world class magnet school.
Magnet School Leadership
Leading a magnet school requires a unique set of skills that often take years to refine and develop. Our network of selected, top performing, magnet school principals can mentor and coach principals through tough situations unique to magnet schools like transforming the culture of a school, implementing a new instructional focus like inquiry, or supporting other areas of development. Magnet Schools of America also provides technical assistance for identifying a magnet school principal and can also assist with the search process.
Curriculum & Instructional Practices for Magnet Schools
Magnet schools must have an instructional focus and curricular design that is different from its neighboring schools. Magnet Schools of America can assist with identifying instructional practices, support implementation, and/or train staff in the following areas: Inquiry, Curriculum Mapping, Backward Design, Project Based Learning, and Culturally Responsive Teaching to name a few. Instructional design that promotes cross-cultural dialogue, complex problem solving, asset-based reflection and critical thinking is a critical asset and needs to be a strong component of any thriving magnet school.
Recruitment & Retention of Magnet School Staff
Teaching in, or leading a magnet school takes a special kind of person. Magnet Schools of America is affiliated with hundreds of districts and can assist with the search process. We can also provide technical assistance to develop job descriptions for project managers, principals, magnet coordinators, and teachers.
Many districts seek to ensure a diverse learning environment by maximizing the opportunity and choices families have. Magnet schools serve as an ideal option for many districts looking to promote choice, diversity, and opportunity but aren’t sure how to plan logistics, policy, or strategic planning. Review of attendance areas, lottery process, and enrollment guidelines, transportation policies.
Educational Equity Planning
Districts faced with disparities in student achievement may not realize that students may also face barriers to opportunity based on policies and practices that get in the way of realizing your district mission. As external experts, we can gain a clearer sense of the organizational culture, ask clarifying questions, and help you hone your focus to raise the bar and close the gap by using process oriented strategies that help you efficiently identify opportunities achieve your goals. By taking a comprehensive, big picture look at your district’s ability to meet the needs of your highest and lowest performing students while addressing the issues of predictability and disproportionality of student achievement, we examine student data in partnership with your executive team to help prioritize and then design a strategy based on your needs.
Magnet School Evaluation
Districts with a single or multiple magnet schools should be reviewed by an external group of experts with “fresh eyes” to affirm what’s going well and what could be improved. By working closely with district officials, teachers and principals, we can develop helpful recommendations to make your existing magnet schools even better, or, possible consolidation, duplication, or elimination of programs.
Cultural Competency Assessment and Development
Cultural competency assessment and training should be done in a manner that is based on strengths, be supportive and validating while providing a clear roadmap for the organization and individuals. Qualified Administrators use the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) to assess the school’s ability to respond to cultural difference while understanding their own cultural assets and how they impact the teaching and learning process.
Community Engagement & Focus Groups
Wondering what your families are thinking about your magnet schools? What do they want to see improved, changed, or stopped? In partnership with your district, Magnet Schools of America consultants can handle delicate topics unique to magnet schools and ask the all-important follow-up questions that get at the roots of concerns or issues because we have the critical, in-depth understanding of how magnet schools work. Audience response systems may also be used to provide instant feedback to the audience which can also be used to inform your community while seeking their input.