New York’s Windsor Central School District and Buffalo Public Schools and Kansas’ Lawrence Public Schools are the Grand Prize winners in the 29th 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, nine Silver Award winners and six honorable mentions were selected. This year, the Magna Awards recognize school districts and their leaders for their innovative, out-of-the-box thinking to address a district challenge. An independent panel selected the winners from district submissions.

“For more than 25 years, the Magna Awards have recognized innovative school district programs,” said NSBA Executive Director and CEO Dr. John Heim. “Each of our winners exemplifies how school leaders and district staff have reinvented learning — and learning environments — for students, staff, and communities. We congratulate our winners and thank them for their hard work and devotion to the students they serve. We also hope these programs will provide information and inspiration to school districts facing similar challenges across the country.”

Grand Prize-winning programs:

Under 5,000 enrollment: New York’s Windsor Central School District’s Agriculture Pathway is a K-12 agricultural curriculum. Every school has a garden or greenhouse as an educational resource, and the high school also features an aquaculture lab, an aeroponic tower garden, beehives, a livestock barn, and a chicken coop. A 6.7-acre plot of land serves as a Land Lab for all grade levels.

5,000 to 20,000 enrollment: Kansas’ Lawrence Public Schools’ College & Career Academy is a nontraditional high school supporting students who don’t perform well in traditional classrooms. Students receive one-on-one mentoring and mental health services, as well as training in CTE pathways.


Over 20,000 enrollment: New York’s Buffalo Public Schools’ Our Story Project is an after-school and Saturday academy program that provides extended learning opportunities with a culturally responsive curriculum to high school students of color at risk of dropping out.


Representatives from the three Grand Prize-winning districts presented at NSBA’s Annual Conference in Orlando in April and are featured in the 2023 Magna Awards video at the bottom of this webpage. All winners were also highlighted in the April issue of ASBJ.

Silver Award-winning programs:

Under 5,000 enrollment


  • Education Academy, Baldwin Union Free School District, Baldwin, New York
  • Whole Child Supports, Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District #6, Cottonwood, Arizona
  • Harkness Initiative, Harwood Unified Union School District, Waitsfield, Vermont

5,000 to 20,000 enrollment

  • Mentor Center, Grand Forks Public Schools, Grand Forks, North Dakota
  • Oklahoma Aviation Academy, Norman Public Schools, Norman, Oklahoma
  • VAP Program, South Huntington School District, Huntington Station, New York

Over 20,000 enrollment


  • Essential ExperiencesSM, Akron Public Schools, Akron, Ohio
  • Community Schools, Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, Maryland
  • Climate Crisis Response, Portland Public Schools, Portland, Oregon

Honorable Mentions:

  • The Hospitality Academy, Hampton Bays Union Free School District, Hampton Bays, New York
  • Micro-credential Pathways for Teacher Leaders, Juab School District, Nephi, Utah
  • Civic and Cultural Learning Experiences, Malverne Union Free School District, Hempstead, New York
  • Career Pathways Career and Technical Education, School District of the City of Pontiac, Pontiac, Michigan
  • Intentional Collaboration, Sheridan County School District No. 2, Sheridan, Wyoming
  • Engineering Design & Development & EDD Presents Showcase, South Texas Independent School District, Mercedes, Texas




Founded in 1940, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) is a federation of state associations and the U.S. territory of the Virgin Islands. Through its member state associations that represent locally elected school board officials serving millions of public school students, NSBA advocates for equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. We believe that public education is a civil right necessary to the dignity and freedom of the American people and that each child, regardless of their disability, ethnicity, socio-economic status or citizenship, deserves equitable access to an education that maximizes their individual potential. For more information, visit

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.