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14 Magnet Programs Honored with National Merit Awards (02/12/20)

LOS ANGELES – A record high 14 Los Angeles Unified magnet schools and centers have been recognized for their innovation and exceptional academic performance by Magnet Schools of America (MSA), which represents nearly 4,000 theme-based programs across the United States.

Two magnets were recognized as Schools of Excellence, the MSA’s highest honor, and 12 others received honors as Magnet Schools of Distinction. They will receive their awards in April at MSA’s national convention for promoting academic achievement, racial and socioeconomic diversity, creative instruction and community partnerships that enhance the programs’ themes. There are currently 292 magnet schools and centers that enroll about 93,000 students.

“Los Angeles Unified leads the nation with the highest number of unique, innovative and student-focused magnet programs,” Superintendent Austin Beutner said. “Congratulations to our schools for this well-deserved recognition and to the educators at these schools for their outstanding work.”

Magnets were created in 1970s as the heart of Los Angeles Unified’s court-ordered desegregation program and they are now a popular choice, with instructional themes that align to students’ interests, drawing students from outside a school’s traditional enrollment boundaries.

“We are proud and humbled to have received the highest awards bestowed upon magnet programs in the country,” said Keith Abrahams, executive director of Student Integration Services, which oversees the magnet program. “Los Angeles Unified continues to lead in quality school choice and integration programs.”

The Schools of Excellence are:

  • Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School: The Boyle Heights campus helps prepare students for careers in the health, patient-care and medical fields.
  • Van Nuys High School: Three magnets – Medical, Performing Arts and Science/Technology/Math – each emphasize a college-preparatory curriculum while allowing students to pursue their diverse interests. Van Nuys was previously named a School of Distinction in 2019 and a National Magnet School of Merit winner in 2018.

The Schools of Distinction are:

  • Angeles Mesa STEAM Elementary and DREAMS Magnet: Located in South Los Angeles, the Design, Research, Engineering, Arts, Math and Sciences Magnet is the only one of its kind in Los Angeles Unified.
  • Bryson Avenue Elementary Science/Technology/Math Magnet: The East Los Angeles campus was also named this year as a California Distinguished School.
  • Cleveland High School Humanities Magnet: Writing-based and team-taught, the Reseda magnet takes an interdisciplinary approach to literature, social studies, art history and philosophy classes. This is the ninth consecutive year that Cleveland has been honored by MSA.
  • Downtown Magnets High School: The Business and Computer Science/Engineering/Multimedia magnets feature multiple career pathways, as well as an International Baccalaureate program. It has twice been named an MSA School of Excellence.
  • Franklin High School STEM Magnet: The Science, Technology and Math Magnet is one of two theme-based programs on the Highland Park campus. This is the fourth year the Highland Park school has received an MSA merit award.
  • Lawrence Middle School Gifted Magnet: This is the third national MSA award for the Chatsworth campus, which prepares students to succeed in honors and Advanced Placement classes in high school.
  • Los Feliz Elementary STEAMM Magnet: The Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math and Medicine Magnet was also named this year as a California Distinguished School.
  • Mayall Street Academy of Arts and Technology Magnet: This is the third consecutive year the North Hills elementary school has been honored as an MSA School of Distinction.
  • North Hollywood High School Zoo Magnet: This is the second consecutive MSA award for the magnet, which is housed in a satellite campus adjacent to the Los Angeles Zoo and emphasizes animal studies and biological sciences. 
  • Orthopaedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School: This is the third consecutive MSA merit award for the downtown campus, which focuses on preparing students for the medical and biotechnical fields.
  • Reseda Charter High School Science Magnet: In addition to receiving its second consecutive MSA honor for its Science Magnet, the affiliated charter high school also houses an award-winning Police Academy Magnet.
  • Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies: SOCES is one of three Centers for Enriched Studies magnets in Los Angeles Unified, offering rigorous academic programs to students in Grades 4-12. This is the second year the Tarzana campus has received MSA recognition.

“I am proud of all the schools for this prestigious recognition,” Board President Dr. Richard Vladovic said. “You deserve it for your diligence and hard work. Our magnets surpass expectations and give our students an array of programs to ensure their academic success.”

“I am proud of all the Los Angeles Unified schools that were honored, especially Bryson and Los Feliz Elementary Schools and Franklin High School in my board district,” Board Vice President Jackie Goldberg said. “Magnets offer families a choice of where to send their child, and they provide students with the opportunity to attend a school that connects with their interests. We should be investing more in our public schools that meet the varying needs of our families.”

“Congratulations to our 14 magnet programs for receiving this prestigious award,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said. The programs recognized represent a small sampling of the breadth and depth of specialized programming that are offered to Los Angeles Unified students. We are proud of you and salute your accomplishments.” 

“We are so proud of the magnet schools in Los Angeles that are being recognized nationally for their achievement and excellence,” Board Member Mónica García said. “The hard work and partnership of the students, parents, teachers, staff and the whole community ensure that our children meet their full potential. ¡Adelante to Bravo, Downtown Magnets and Orthopaedic!”

“Our magnet schools provide a full range of programs that demonstrate our commitment to high academic standards, curriculum innovation and career pathways,” Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson said. “I am very proud of all the schools that have received this well-deserved recognition and for the outstanding work they are doing to prepare our students for college and 21st century careers. Congratulations!”

“Congratulations to these outstanding Los Angeles Unified magnet programs,” Board Member Nick Melvoin said. “This is a well-deserved honor and a great reminder of the success this district is capable of achieving for our kids when we promote diversity and innovative programs in improving academic outcomes.”

“Congratulations to our magnet programs on this honor, especially Van Nuys High School and Reseda Charter High School in Board District 6,” Board Member Kelly Gonez said. “Our magnet programs in Los Angeles Unified are providing innovative pathways for students to pursue their passions and to succeed in college and in careers.”