California’s Lowell Joint School District, Kansas’ Topeka Public Schools, and California’s Pomona Unified School District are the Grand Prize winners in the 28th annual Magna Awards program sponsored by the National School Boards Association’s flagship magazine, American School Board Journal (ASBJ).

In addition to the three Grand Prize winners, 15 Silver Award winners were selected. This is the fifth year that the Magna Awards recognize school districts and their leaders for efforts to provide support to underserved students. An independent panel selected the winners from district submissions.

“The 2022 Magna Award-winning districts represent the enormous efforts of school leaders during the pandemic to continue to remove barriers for their underserved and vulnerable children,” said NSBA Executive Director and CEO Dr. John Heim.

This year’s three Grand Prize winners and 15 Silver Award winners were selected from three enrollment categories: under 5,000 students, 5,000 to 20,000 students, and over 20,000 students.

Grand Prize-winning programs:
Under 5,000 enrollment: The Lowell Joint School District’s ARTS for ALL is a data-driven program focusing on engaging students, fostering a “school family” and a place to belong, and connecting each student with a school mentor. All sixth-graders have access to instruments and weekly lessons at school and are supported to continue in music as they attend junior high and high school.

5,000 to 20,000 enrollment: The Topeka Public Schools’ Preschool-to-12th grade Dual Language program integrates native English speaking students with native Spanish speaking students for academic instruction, which is presented in both languages. Dual language classrooms enable all students to be language models and second language learners.

Over 20,000 enrollment: Pomona Unified School District’s Parent Leads program started in 2008 to disseminate information on district and community resources to parents to share with other parents. It has since grown to encourage active parental engagement that builds capacity and develops leadership skills. It has led to employment opportunities, created educational avenues for the parents, and increased awareness of educational opportunities for children. 

Representatives from the three Grand Prize-winning districts will be presenters at NSBA’s Annual Conference in April and will be featured in the 2022 Magna Awards video. All winners will be highlighted in the April issue of ASBJ at 

Silver Award-winning programs:
Under 5,000 enrollment
Cradle to College, Cedar Bluffs Public Schools, Nebraska
Early College Program, Gadsden Elementary School District #32, Arizona
Bright Futures & Dream Big, Park City School District, Utah
Student Voice through Reimagine Richfield, Richfield Public Schools, Minnesota
Jackson Hole High School Student FLEX Program, Teton County School District #1, Wyoming

5,000 to 20,000 enrollment
The Identity Project: Renaming Schools, Alexandria City Public Schools, Virginia
Building Systems of Care, Andover Public Schools, Massachusetts
Penguin Project, Corsicana Independent School District, Texas
The Royal Reps and Royal Connections Program, Hopkins Public Schools, Minnesota
Farm to Table Program, San Luis Coastal Unified School District, California

Over 20,000 enrollment
Visual and Performing Arts, Bakersfield City School District, California
Equity-Based MTSS, Cumberland County Schools, North Carolina
Arts and Equity, Moreno Valley Unified School District, California
Tiered Emotional and Mental Health Supports, Newport News Public Schools, Virginia
Immersion Programs, Prince George’s County Public Schools, Maryland

Around NSBA

A group of high school students paint on canvases during an art class.

2023 Magna Awards Grand Prize Winners

School districts rethink and reinvent education for their students, staff, and communities.