e-Choice Articles

Creating an Enriched Learning Environment

John Laughner, Legislative and Communications Manager, Magnet Schools of America, Posted 10/21/2013

Mabel Hoggard Math and Science Elementary has the distinction of being the first elementary magnet school in Las Vegas, Nevada. With the support of a Magnet Schools Assistance Program grant it was converted into a magnet school in 1993 as part of the Clark County School District's desegregation efforts. Keep Reading..

A Recipe for Success

John Laughner, Legislative and Communications Manager, Magnet Schools of America, Posted 8/20/2013

It is important to recognize the dedication and sacrifice of our nation’s teachers. Most of their hard work often goes unnoticed as they spend countless hours outside of the classroom preparing lesson plans, grading homework assignments, meeting with parents, volunteering at school events, participating in professional development, learning new curriculum, and at this time of year preparing their classrooms. I recently had the chance to speak with our National Teacher of the Year, Tere Pujol Burns on her first day back from the summer break to gain her perspective at the start of a new school year. To keep reading, click here 

Regaining S.T.E.A.M.

John Laughner, Legislative and Communications Manager, Magnet Schools of America, Posted 7/17/2013

As we approach the Summer S.T.E.M. and Leadership Institute and the beginning of a new school year we thought it would be appropriate to write a story about a magnet school that is starting anew by implementing a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) program. After years of consistent low performance, the Vine Magnet Middle School in Knoxville, Tennessee was identified as a school in need of transformation. Located near the Knoxville downtown area, where poverty and racial isolation is all too familiar (85 percent of the school’s students qualify for free or reduced lunch and 90 percent are African American), it is the lowest performing school in the district and one of the lowest performers in the state. To keep reading, click here 

Partnerships: Critical to the Success of Magnet Schools

Doreen Marvin, President Elect, Magnet Schools of America, Posted 6/18/2013

Magnet Schools of America provides leadership for high quality innovative instructional programs that promote choice, equity, diversity, and academic excellence for all students.  MSA serves schools and staff through the framework of public school educational choice.  Through discussions with MSA members about institutional knowledge of best practices, the Board of Directors developed and refined the Pillars of Magnet Schools.  These Pillars are the foundations upon which magnet schools thrive and demonstrate excellence for all students.  While the full scope of the Pillars (Diversity, Innovative Curriculum and Professional Development, Academic Excellence, High Quality Instructional Systems, and Family and Community Partnerships) can be found on the website (www.magnet.edu), this article will focus on one of the Pillars- Family and Community Partnerships. To keep reading, click here 

Strong School Culture Creates Academic Success

John Laughner, Legislative and Communications Manager, Magnet Schools of America, Posted 4/29/2013

A representative from the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) recently called the national office to sing the praises of a dynamic magnet school principal who was getting dramatic results at one of the city's low performing schools.  The principal, Dr. Roberto Padilla of West Prep Academy, recently finished his doctoral dissertation at Fordham University focusing on ways to turn around low-performing schools. He has started implementing some of the policies from his research at his school. To keep reading, click here 

Funding Education Isn't a Partisan Issue, it's Patriotic

Scott Thomas, Executive Director, Magnet Schools of America, Posted 12/19/2012

The fiscal cliff is very real and will have a profound impact on the education of children in the U.S. at a time when we need more strategic investment in our schools, not further fiscal burden and cuts to education.A recent EdWeek article explains the educational impact of the "fiscal cliff" and demonstrates how deep the problem really is for schools: "And entitlement spending carries its own implications for K-12. Education advocates are keeping a particularly close eye on Medicaid, which helps low-income people gain access to health care. Medicaid, along with K-12 education, is a key driver of spending at the state level. If the federal government were to significantly scale back its share of Medicaid spending, that could ultimately put the squeeze on schools, said Michael Leachman, the director of state fiscal research for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. ["If states had to absorb that kind of big cost shift, that just makes it that much harder for them to restore their school funding,"] he said. What's more, about half of Medicaid recipients are children." To keep reading, click here 

School Leadership: Principal Lessons from a Merit School of Excellence

Dr. Robert Brooks, Past President, Magnet Schools of America, Posted 11/28/2012

In a previous eChoice article, School Leadership: A Snapshot, my message was that each school year offers a new opportunity to foster change in your school culture, faculty, staff, and students. A principal's leadership style influences the entire school community, and in my experience, the new school year is one of the best times to review your leadership style and new initiatives with faculty and staff. To keep reading, click here 

How To Teach Students Who Don't Look Like You: Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies

Bonnie M. Davis, Ph.D., Posted 11/28/2012

It was the opening day of school. I was explaining the guidelines for a semester course on world literature to the juniors and senior sitting in front of me. "We will read hard stuff," I said, "such as Toni Morrison, Mahfouz, Marquez, and others." The students look impressed as I explained the rigor of the course and my expectations for their work. Suddenly, two boys rushed through the door, several minutes late, and interrupted the class. I frowned at them, noticing one was African-American and one was Asian. They both smiled apologetically as they searched for seats. My brain searched for reasons why they arrived late to my advanced class on the first day. In a split second, I thought that perhaps the Asian student had lingered in his calculus class to ask the teacher a question, making him late for my class. Perhaps the African-American student had been playing basketball on the court outside my window where the boys played nearly every day. Plausible explanations? What do you think? Think again. To keep reading, click here 

Allies in Achievement: Families

Scott Thomas, Magnet Schools of America, Executive Director, Posted 10/5/2012

"The common thread that is woven throughout a student's academic career is the parent, so inspire a life-long parent commitment. Together, parents, students, and teachers can create a synergy that raises academic achievement. Give your students an intrinsic love of learning. Allow your parents to experience the success of their academic involvement, so they are motivated to continue nurturing their child until adulthood." - Jeffrey Thompson

As a parent of a second grader, I understand the influence we as parents have on the education of our daughter. For magnet schools, starting the year off right means engaging families in positive and meaningful ways while creating a sense of community. Family engagement may seem like an easy concept given the fact that these are the parents who applied. But it's one area magnet school leaders and teachers need to pay vigilance to. To keep reading, click here