Amid the challenges brought by the pandemic this fall, some districts were able to carry on with their equity efforts. Those are the districts honored by the 2021 Magna Awards.

In this issue, we recognize three Grand Prize winners and 12 first place winners for their exemplary equity programs. In telling their stories, I hope you’ll glean some valuable information on how to bring or enhance equitable programs to your districts.

To enhance and deepen your storytelling experience, we have created three videos, one for each of the Grand Prize-winning districts: Massachusetts’ Mashpee Public Schools, Maine’s Portland Public Schools, and Michigan’s Detroit Public Schools.

These videos will premiere at NSBA’s Annual Conference, which is online this year, in April. They also will be available at ASBJ’s webpage at

Please consider entering your equity programs in the 2022 Magna Awards program, so we can see your district in these pages next April. The application period will open in August.

The third installment in our Dismantling Institutional Racism in Education (DIRE) series is a pair of articles. The first is “Online Discipline Gap” by Associate Editor Michelle Healy. She looks at how equity disparity among Black students is being replicated in virtual learning during the pandemic. Contributing editor Glenn Cook’s article, “Data-Driven Equity,” showcases examples of districts that use data as part of their equity decisions. He writes: “Solid data gathering and analysis, as well as ongoing feedback from staff, students, and community members, are critical in reversing practices that have been generations in the making.”

Miguel Cardona was confirmed in March as the new U.S. Secretary of Education. “Staunch Advocate for Public Schools,” by frequent ASBJ contributing writer Robin Flanigan, provides some background and insights on the former Connecticut commissioner of education who spent his career as a principal, teacher evaluation specialist, and assistant superintendent in Meriden, Connecticut.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Until next issue. . .

Around NSBA

Six students conduct a science experiment with potatoes and electrodes.

2024 Magna Awards: Silver Award Winners

The 2024 Magna Awards program recognizes 15 exemplary district programs in three enrollment categories as Silver Award winners.