Three School Districts Earn Top Honors in 2016 Magna Awards

National award program recognizes innovation and excellence in public schools
March 11, 2016

Alexandria, Va. (March 11, 2016) – Fremont County School District No. 6 in Pavillion, Wyoming; Crown Point Community School Corporation in Crown Point, Indiana; and Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District in Bedford, Texas, have been named the grand prize winners in the 22nd annual Magna Awards program sponsored by the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA’s) flagship magazine, American School Board Journal. The Magna Awards recognize school districts and their leaders taking bold and innovative steps to improve the lives of their students and their communities.

The Magna Awards, supported by Sodexo, a leader in delivering sustainable, integrated facilities management and food service operations, honors districts across the country for outstanding programs. An independent panel of school board members, administrators, and other educators selected the winners from nearly 200 submissions.

“Public schools work tirelessly to improve student achievement,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director, NSBA. “These Magna Award-winning districts are some of the finest examples of the creativity and dedication of our public school leaders across this nation.”

This year’s three grand prize, 15 first place, and 15 honorable mention winners were selected from three enrollment categories: under 5,000 students, 5,000 to 20,000 students, and over 20,000 students. Each of the grand prize-winning school districts will receive a $5,000 contribution from Sodexo during a special presentation at NSBA’s annual conference, to be held April 9 to 11 in Boston.

“Sodexo’s commitment to student well-being and achievement extends beyond the nearly 500 districts with which we currently partner and is focused on supporting all students nationwide, which is why we proudly sponsor the annual Magna Awards for the 22nd consecutive year,” said Steve Dunmore, President of Sodexo Education-Schools. “We applaud the innovative spirit these winning districts possess and we share their passion for improving quality of life and education for students.”

The grand prize-winning programs:

  • The under 5,000 enrollment category: In Fremont County School District No. 6, which encompasses the Wind River Indian Reservation, there are no licensed day care programs, preschools, or medical service providers. To reduce the kindergarten readiness gap and break down barriers to attendance, the district launched a mobile preschool: A certified teacher travels in a renovated purple school bus to homes and holds 30-minute sessions with children. While working with the child, the teacher informs parents about medical and other resources, and builds trust between the families and the school district.
  • The 5,000 to 20,000 enrollment category: Crown Point Community School Corporation’s Crown Point High School officials combined the fun aspects of physical education with English and math instruction to provide a much-needed transition for at-risk incoming ninth-graders called Summer Engage. Crown Point High School has seen an increase in the graduation rate since the program started in 2010. The students who attend the program have a greater chance of graduating in four years than their peers who choose not to attend the program.
  • The over 20,000 enrollment category: The Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District’s Board Leadership Academy prepares some community members for school board candidacy, while also growing community support. Since the academy’s inception, 90 people have gone through the program; four have been elected to the school board. Other graduates serve on district committees and a foundation that helps with school board elections.

All of the 2016 winners are highlighted in the April issue of ASBJ and will be formally recognized on Saturday, April 9, at the Best Practices for School Leaders Luncheon, which is part of NSBA’s 76th Annual Conference in Boston. In addition to the ASBJ special section, the districts’ winning entries are posted at

2016 First Place Winners

Under 5,000 students:
Balsz Elementary School District, Phoenix, Arizona
Evanston Township High School District 202, Evanston, Illinois
Hanover Park Regional High School District, East Hanover, New Jersey
Kelliher School, Kelliher, Minnesota
Milton-Union Exempted Village Schools, West Milton, Ohio

5,000 to 20,000 students:
Cedar Rapids Community School District, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Meriden Public Schools, Meriden, Connecticut
Piscataway Township Schools, Piscataway, New Jersey
School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties, Irmo, South Carolina
Wallingford Public Schools, Wallingford, Connecticut

Over 20,000 students:
Anoka-Hennepin School District, Anoka, Minnesota
Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax, Virginia
Houston Independent School District, Houston, Texas
Newport News Public Schools, Newport News, Virginia
West Contra Costa Unified School District, Richmond, California

2016 Honorable Mentions

Under 5,000 students:
Bethel Park School District, Bethel Park, Pennsylvania
Butler County School System, Greenville, Alabama
Loomis Union Elementary School District, Loomis, California
Sauk Rapids-Rice School District (ISD 47), Sauk Rapids, Minnesota
Swan Valley School District, Saginaw, Michigan

5,000 to 20,000 students:
Coachella Valley Unified School District, Thermal, California
Craven County Schools, New Bern, North Carolina
Encinitas Union School District, Encinitas, California
Henry County Public Schools, Collinsville, Virginia
Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District, Livermore, California

Over 20,000 students:
ABC Unified School District, Cerritos, California
Boone County Schools, Florence, Kentucky
Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, Houston, Texas
Henrico County Public Schools, Henrico, Virginia
Kansas City Kansas Public Schools, Kansas City, Kansas

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National School Boards Association
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is the leading advocate for public education and supports equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. NSBA represents state school boards associations and their more than 90,000 local school board members throughout the U.S. Learn more at:

Sodexo in North America
Sodexo, Inc., leading Quality of Life services company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, delivers On-site Services in Corporate, Education, Health Care, Government, and Remote Site segments, as well as Benefits and Rewards Services and Personal and Home Services. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation, an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $27 million in grants to end childhood hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog Visit Sodexo on Facebook and follow on Twitter @SodexoUSA.

Sodexo Contact:
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(301) 987-4214

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