What is Magna?

Every year the judges tell us the Magna Award nominations are more compelling and creative. It is inspiring to read about the winning programs and to meet the board members who develop them. Their work clearly benefits the students and the communities they serve. Sodexo is proud to support this recognition program that encourages innovative thinking in public education.

-- Steve Dunmore, president, Sodexo

The Magna Awards 2015 nomination period is now open. The deadline for nominations has been extended to midnight, November 7, 2014.
 
Writeups of the Magna Awards 2014 honored programs can be found in the "Resources" section of the main Magna Awards webpage. You do not need to be an American School Board Journal subscriber to access these resources.

The Magna Awards is a national recognition program co-sponsored by American School Board Journal, the National School Boards Association, and Sodexo that honors school board best practices and innovative programs that advance student learning.

For the past 20 years, the Magna Awards panel of independent judges has reviewed programs that showcase school district leadership, creativity, and commitment to student achievement.

Magna nominations are judged according to three enrollment categories (under 5,000 enrollment; 5,000-20,000 enrollment; and over 20,000 enrollment) with one Grand Prize Winner in each category. Each Grand Prize Winner receives a $5,000 contribution from Sodexo. There are five additional winners and five honorable mention winners within each enrollment category.

All Magna Winners and Honorable Mention recipients are recognized in a special section published in American School Board Journal. The Magna Awards publication is also published online at www.asbj.com/magna.

Magna Winners and Honorable Mention recipients are recognized at the Best Practices for School Leaders Luncheon held during the NSBA Annual Conference. Grand Prize Winners and regular Winners receive plaques at the luncheon. Honorable Mention districts receive certificates by mail prior to the Annual Conference. Grand Prize Winners receive their $5,000 contribution during the Annual Conference.

Magna Winning programs and programs receiving Honorable Mention, plus additional programs receiving scores from the Magna judges high enough to qualify them as Notable Programs, will be added every year to the searchable Magna Awards Best Practices Database, a resource for innovative school district best practices, proven and practical solutions for big and small district problems, and new ideas. Selected programs will be available in the database for at least five years.

Watch the video about the Magna Awards 2014 Grand Prize winners





CRITERIA
To determine the winners of the Magna Awards 2015, the judges will look for programs that are: 
  • Developed or actively supported by the school board.
  • The result of appropriate school board leadership.
  • Successful in view of the program's primary objectives.
  • Important in promoting the district's mission and advancing student learning.
  • Capable of being replicated by other school boards with similar conditions and resources.
  • The result of collaboration between the school board and others. 

MAGNA AWARDS FAQs

When is the deadline?
The nomination period for the Magna Awards 2015 program is now open. The deadline for nominations has been extended to midnight, November 7, 2014.


How do I send in my nomination?
Only nominations that are submitted online using the online nomination form will be considered by the judges. Nominations made in any other way will be disqualified. The online nomination form is available here. We have tested the nomination form using the following browsers: Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer 7.0 and later.

Are there any restrictions on who can submit a nomination?
To be eligible, your school district must be in the United States or the U.S. Virgin Islands and a member of your state school boards association.

How many nominations can we send in?
There is no limit.

If I have nominated a program previously, can I nominate it again?
Yes, you can.

How do I know you got my nomination?
There are five steps to completing your nomination:

1. Enter Your Data. Enter your data in the nomination form, which is available here. We have tested the nomination form using the following browsers: Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer 7.0 and later. Please read Tips on Making Your Nomination before you begin. You will be allowed to enter 500 characters in the "Goal of Program" field, 1,500 characters in each of the "Program Description" fields (roughly 150 words), and 2,000 characters in the "Why This Program Deserves Recognition" field (roughly 200 words). YES, a space counts as a character. If you exceed the length of any field, the system will report the error to you in a message.

2. Preview Your Data. Press the "Preview" button. The screen will refresh. Scroll down the page to see your data. Review your nomination for accuracy, and if you need to make revisions, press the "Edit Form" button to return to your data and make the changes, then "Preview" your data again.

3. Print a Copy of Your Nomination for Your Records. If you would like a copy of your nomination, please print one from your browser before submitting. There is a "Printer Friendly" button on the Nomination Preview for your convenience.

4. Submit Your Nomination. If your data is correct and you wish to submit your nomination, press the "Submit Form" button.
 
5. Receive Verification of Submission. Your screen will refresh and display the message, "YOUR NOMINATION IS COMPLETE!" If you do not see this message, we have not received your nomination. Shortly after receiving your nomination, the NSBA Webserver will send a confirmation e-mail to the e-mail address entered on the nomination form. Please save this e-mail as confirmation of your nomination. NOTE: It is very important that you provide us with your valid e-mail address on the nomination form; this is the vehicle we will use to communicate with you about your nomination.

Please call 703-838-6739 or e-mail Margaret Suslick for assistance if you continue to have difficulties making your nomination. We have tested the nomination form using the following browsers: Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer 7.0 and later.

What about backup materials?
Less is more. Backup materials are optional, and while they are welcome they will not significantly affect the judges' decisions. Only hard copy backup materials that are postmarked by the deadline will be accepted for the judges' review. One copy is sufficient. Do not send CDs, videos, or cassette tapes, or ask the judges to view a website or anything else online as part of your backup materials. The judges will not have the equipment or the time to review these items.

Send one hard copy of optional backup materials to:

Magna Awards
American School Board Journal
1680 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

I need to talk to a real person. Who can I call?
You can call Margaret Suslick, Magna Coordinator, at 703-838-6739 for assistance.

When and where is the judging?
The judging usually occurs in late November or early December at NSBA's headquarters in Alexandria, Va.

Who are the judges?
The panel of six judges is selected to represent large districts, small districts, rural districts, urban districts, administrators, teachers -- and school board members. Although panel members may serve on a panel more than once, the panel’s composition is never the same from one year to the next.

What happens if we win?
If you are a winner, you will be notified within three or four business days following the judges' decision. Notification will be sent to the program's nominator, the district's superintendent, the school board president, and your state school boards association, by email.

What happens if we lose?
If your program does not win, you will be notified by email within two weeks of the judges' decision.

If you do not win but the judges score your program highly enough to be selected for inclusion in the Magna Awards Best Practices Database (if your program is designated as a Notable Program), you will be notified in an additional email at a later date.

How high does my program's score have to be included in the Magna Awards Best Practices Database?
The qualifying score will change from year to year, depending on the strength of the nominations received, and their number. Approximately the top 25% of all nominations will be added to the Magna Awards Best Practices Database from every year's program.
 
When will the winners of the Magna Awards 2015 be announced to the public?
A general announcement about the Magna Awards 2015 honorees will be made mid-March, 2015 and the list of honorees will be published in the April issue of American School Board Journal.

Writeups of the Magna Awards 2014 honored programs were posted on the main Magna webpage March 5, 2014, and can be found in the "Resources" section, below. You do not need to be a subscriber to access these resources.


TIPS ON MAKING YOUR NOMINATION:
Please review the judges' criteria for winning programs before you submit your nomination and make sure that your nomination meets each criterion. Provide proof that your program meets the stated criteria in your nomination's narrative and backup materials. The judges search for programs that are proven to be successful and can easily be replicated by similar districts. Evidence of continuing and appropriate board involvement in the program is required. Be sure to document any evidence that your program meets the stated criteria in your nomination.

We have tested the nomination form using the following browsers: Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer 7.0 and later.

The Magna nomination form does not allow "sessions"; the system cannot save an incomplete nomination (session) for you to return to, complete, and submit at a later date. The nomination form must be completed in one session. Please be prepared for this. We strongly recommend that you work out all of your responses to the prompts ahead of time in a program such as Microsoft Word. Use the Word Count tool to determine the number of characters (with spaces) there are in your intended responses. You will be allowed to enter 500 characters in the "Goal of Program" field, 1,500 characters (roughly 150 words) in each of the "Program Description" fields, and 2,000 characters (roughly 200 words) in the "Why This Program Deserves Recognition" field. The system counts characters, not words, and YES, a space counts as a character. Make sure you have not exceeded the length of the field, then copy and paste your response into the online form. Paste your response as plain text. The system will not replicate breaks, linefeeds, carriage returns, bullets, automatic numbering, bolding, underlining, italics, or special characters such as tildes, accent marks, or symbols -- so do not use them. If you feel it is necessary to use emphasis to get your point across, use caps. If you exceed the length of a field during data entry, the system will send you a warning message. Heed the warning -- over-long text will be truncated.

You will be given the opportunity to review your data on a Nomination Preview page before submitting your nomination. Scroll down the refreshed screen to see your data. If you need to make corrections, please use the "Edit Form" button to return to the form. Make your changes, and press "Preview" again, scrolling down the refreshed screen to see your data. Review your nomination on the Nomination Preview page once again, and if it is correct, press the "Submit Form" button.
 
Only nominations that have been submitted online will be accepted. Nominations submitted in any other way will be considered disqualified and will not be presented to the judges. The online nomination form is available hereThe deadline for nominations has been extended to midnight, November 7, 2014.

Backup materials: Remember, less is more.
The judges will make decisions about a program based on your responses to the prompts on the nomination form. Backup materials are welcome but they are optional and will not significantly affect the judges' decisions. Only send backup materials that support your program's nomination. Only materials postmarked by the deadline can be reviewed by the judges. Please do not send CDs, videos, or cassette tapes, or ask the judges to view your website or anything else online. The judges will not have the electronic equipment or the time to review such backup materials. Backups must be postmarked by the deadline and submitted in hard copy. One copy is sufficient. Send them in hard copy to:

Magna Awards
American School Board Journal
1680 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS OR FEEDBACK ABOUT THE MAGNA PROGRAM?
Email Margaret Suslick or call 703-838-6739.