From the Editor: Magna magic

For more than two decades, the Magna Awards have been recognizing and honoring school district innovation. We profiled those programs each year in the pages of this magazine.

This year, we decided to do something different. In recognition of one of the biggest challenges facing education, the 2018 Magna Awards are honoring programs focus on educational equity. This year’s winning programs are those that work to remove barriers to achievement for underserved students. Equity issues, as we know, affect schools in all communities.

Our three Grand Prize Winners this year exemplify the ways that school leaders are addressing the equity needs of their students. Red Clay Consolidated School District in Wilmington, Delaware, revamped its high school program to support more students graduating and having access to postsecondary education.

The administrators and teachers at Leyden High School District 212 in Franklin Park, Illinois, noticed that their Latino students were not participating in the theater program. To encourage more students to participate, they created the Teatro Leyden program. The theater department stages a Spanish-language production each year, casting Spanish-  and English-speaking students.

An influx of refugees sparked the creation of the Newcomers program at Newport News Public Schools in Newport News, Virginia. All teachers are receiving English learner training, and new students are in sheltered classrooms where they learn English and grade-level subject matter until they’re ready to go to general education classrooms. The district offers workshops and other assistance for parents, which has included home visits and access to translation services.

If you’re in San Antonio for NSBA’s annual conference in April, please attend the Magna Master Class on Sunday, April 8. You will hear presentations from the three Grand Prize-winning districts. For those of you headed to the conference, make sure to download the conference app and keep up with the news by reading Conference Daily, written by ASBJ editors.

Until next issue...

—Kathleen Vail, Editor-in-Chief,

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