Standards of Excellence

Certification Program

Magnet Schools of America (MSA) is ushering in a new era through its national certification process 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 provide the necessary benchmarks for schools and districts to aspire to when developing or working to improve their magnet schools. Parents and students can be confident that each nationally certified magnet school, no matter where it is located, is held to these same high standards.  

Why should you become a nationally certified magnet school?

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 and continue to provide high-quality, innovative instructional programs that promote choice, equity, diversity, and academic excellence for all students.

When you apply for certification, you are looking at your school through the “lens of excellence.” You will be self-evaluating, providing documentation, and in some cases writing SMART Goals in the areas that need improvement. You are asking that your school be rated as one of the premier magnet schools in the nation. Such a designation will be invaluable to your marketing efforts and ability to seek support for your school.

How does my school become nationally certified? 

To become nationally certified, MSA member schools must submit a detailed application and participate in a rigorous evaluation conducted by the National Institute for Magnet School Leadership (NIMSL)The third cohort of schools will begin the certification process August of 2017 and run through June of 2018.

To learn more about the Magnet Schools of America Standards of Excellence Certification Program, please contact Kelly Bucherie, Director of the National Institute for Magnet School Leadership at