Magna Awards

From the Editor: Testing stress

The other day I received an email from my son’s middle school. As spring testing approached, the email said, school officials were noticing signs of stress and test anxiety among the students. To help them deal with this stress, the school was offering to teach relaxation, stress reduction techniques, and mindfulness.

The Future of Testing

Critical Care

The era of high-stakes testing is over, but what comes next?

Del Stover

Say what you will about No Child Left Behind (NCLB), this landmark legislation left its mark—although not always for the best. For all its good intentions, NCLB will be remembered for ushering in an unprecedented era of high-stakes testing—and for saddling public education with a federal mandate on school accountability that had all the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

Magna Awards 2017 video debuts

The 2017 Magna Awards video debuted at Sunday’s general session. Learn about the exemplary programs of the grand prize winners, Upper Saint Clair School District, Pittsburgh, Piscataway Township Schools, Piscataway, New Jersey, and Vancouver Public Schools in Vancouver, Washington:

Magna Awards honors innovative districts

The School Leaders Luncheon honored the winners of the 2017 Magna Awards on Saturday at NSBA’s annual conference.

Three School Districts Earn Top Honors in 2017 Magna Awards

Alexandria, Va. (March 17, 2017) – Upper St. Clair School District, in Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania; Piscataway Township Schools, in Piscataway, New Jersey; and Vancouver Public Schools, in Vancouver, Washington have been named the grand prize winners in the 23rd annual Magna Awards program.  

Sponsored by the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA’s) flagship magazine, American School Board Journal (ASBJ), the Magna Awards recognize school districts and their leaders for taking bold and innovative steps to improve the lives of students and their communities. The Magna Awards are supported by Sodexo, a leader in delivering sustainable, integrated facilities management and food service operations.

“Creativity and innovation are needed to help students realize their full potential,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA Executive Director and CEO. “The Magna Award-winning districts are prime examples of how public schools all over the country are working to give students a high-quality education and life.”

Wahl: Don't be afraid to fail

There’s growth on the border of chaos and order.

Erik Wahl, graffiti artist, author, and entrepreneur, gave attendees of the School Leaders Luncheon on Saturday at NSBA’s annual conference a taste of what that concept means. Wahl announced that as we strive to get away from standardized tests, keynote talks should no longer be standardized either.


Kansas City Kansas Public Schools
Kansas City, Kansas

Diploma+ provides clear expectations for all, pre-K through 12th grade, along with a promise to students, parents, and the community. It has allowed the district to align all work around a single focus: college and career preparation. The key indicators include strong literacy and academic skills at elementary school, high-school-ready benchmarks at middle school, and Diploma+ benchmarks at high school.

The Un-Initiative

Henrico County Public Schools
Henrico, Virginia

The school board and superintendent asked all current employees to submit ideas on things they thought the district could stop doing and still be an efficient and effective organization. This program created a way to make the best possible use of the resources, while involving the frontline employees who best understand how to increase their own job efficiency. These ideas are saving staff time and in some cases, money, while also contributing to the district’s history of academic excellence.

JA Inspire

Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District
Houston, Texas

The program promotes career awareness for 8,000 eighth-graders, equipping them to make informed choices for mapping out high school coursework, encouraging them to examine postsecondary possibilities, and giving them a vision for a brighter future.


Linda Macias


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