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More magnets earn national certification


Four additional Richland School District Two schools have earned national certification from Magnet Schools of America (MSA). They are among 38 schools in 12 states to successfully completed the rigorous nine-month evaluation process.

Of these 38 schools, five were identified as National Demonstration Schools. Three are in Richland Two. This brings the tally of these stellar magnet schools in the district to four (STEMS at North Springs Elementary School earned the honor in August). There are only 15 National Demonstration Schools in the country.

The following were named National Demonstration Schools: The Academy for Civic Engagement (ACE) at Lonnie B. Nelson Elementary, the Center for Knowledge/the Center for Knowledge North and  INC magnet at Kelly Mill Middle School. Demonstration Schools will serve as innovation laboratories for others to learn best practices in theme-based education.

“To achieve national certification through Magnet Schools of America is a great honor and is further proof of the excellent programs we have to offer in Richland Two,” said Director of Academic Initiatives, Dawne Whitley. “We are so proud of our schools that have completed this grueling process and risen to the top of magnet schools in the country!” 

Dent Middle School was named a Nationally Certified Magnet School. Dent houses the district’s original magnet program, The Learning Collaborative (TLC) as well as the Fine Arts and Media Enrichment (FAME) and TWO Academies Single Gender magnets.

This latest announcement means Richland Two is home to a total of 10 nationally certified magnets. In August the following programs earned national certification: STEMS at North Springs Elementary School, International Baccalaureate (IB) World School Middle Years Programme and the Leadership Academy at Wright at E. L. Wright Middle School; and the IB World School at Richland Northeast High School.

“In Richland Two, we talk about having a premier mindset. We strive to be premier in everything we do. These recognitions are the result of our staff and students’ relentless, unyielding and unapologetic desire to demonstrate excellence,” said Superintendent Dr. Baron Davis.

The schools and centers will be recognized during the Magnet Schools of America National Conference in Chicago next month. Including several additional merit award winners, a total of 10 Richland Two schools representing 16 programs will be recognized. The IB World School at Richland Northeast High School and the Discovery and Explorations programs at Spring Valley High were named Magnet Schools of Excellence. The NASA Explorer School (NES) and Elementary Learning Collaborative (eLc) magnets at Forest Lake Elementary School were named Magnet Schools of Distinction.

This is the second cohort of schools to be nationally certified by MSA, the national association of magnet and theme-based schools. The national certification process is based on the Magnet School Standards of Excellence and the five pillars of magnet schools (diversity; innovative curriculum and professional development; academic excellence; high quality instructional systems; and, family and community partnerships). These pillars and standards define the essential elements and characteristics of high-quality magnet programs.

To learn more about Richland Two’s magnet programs, please visit www.richland2.org/Magnets. Contact Dawne Whitley Director of Academic Initiatives​ at dwhitley@richland2.org or Sarah Jane Harris​ ​at ​​saharris@richland2.org with questions.