Pittsburgh Public Schools, Missouri's Maplewood Richmond Heights School District and New York's Monroe-Woodbury Central School District have been named the grand prize winners in the American School Board Journal's (ASBJ) 18th annual Magna Awards program.
The Magna Awards are supported by Sodexo School Services. Each of the grand prize-winning school districts will receive $4,000 in scholarship money during a special presentation at the National School Boards Association's (NSBA) Annual Conference, to be held April 21-23 in Boston.
The Magna Awards recognize districts across the country for outstanding programs that advance student learning and encourage community involvement in schools. This year's three grand prize, 15 first place, and 15 honorable mention winners were selected from three enrollment categories: less than 5,000 students, 5,000 to 20,000 students, and over 20,000 students.
"The Magna Awards exemplifies strong school board leadership, creativity, and commitment to student achievement in public education," said Anne L. Bryant, ASBJ's Publisher and Executive Director of NSBA. "This year's Magna Awards recipients truly showcase the best practices and innovative school programs that are advancing student success.
The Pittsburgh Public Schools are being honored as the grand prize winner in the over 20,000 enrollment category for its outreach program aimed at increasing the participation of fathers and other male role models in the district's schools. "Take a Father to School Day" is an annual event which invites fathers, grandfathers, and other male role models to spend a day at their child's school.
Since 2007, the number of fathers attending the event has climbed from 3,669 to 5,964 in 2011. The event was founded by Pittsburgh Public Schools' Board Member Mark Brentley as a "call to action" for men to become more involved in their children's lives.
initiated the Magna Awards in 1995 to recognize school boards for taking bold and innovative steps to improve their educational programs. An independent panel of school board members, administrators, and other educators selected the winners from 300 submissions. This year's nominations came from 44 states.
The 2012 winners are highlighted in a special supplement to the May issue of ASBJ, and will be formally recognized on Saturday, April 21, at the Best Practices for School Leaders Luncheon, which is part of NSBA's 72nd Annual Conference.
In addition to the ASBJ supplement, the district's winning entry will be posted on the Magna Awards website and added to the program's searchable best practices database. Both can be found at www.asbj.com/magna.