Reynolds High School has once again been named a National Magnet School of Excellence. North Forsyth High School and Atkins Academic & Technology High School have been named National Magnet Schools of Distinction. The honorable titles come from Magnet Schools of America, the national association for magnet and theme-based schools.
Reynolds was named a Nationally Certified Magnet School by Magnet Schools of America (MSA), in 2017. Being named a Magnet School of Excellence is an award offered only to a select group of magnet schools across the country and this is the second year in a row Reynolds has received this honor. In 2008, Reynolds started its magnet program for visual and performing arts. More than 600 students take part in the magnet program and more than 1,800 are involved in the overall arts-related experiences within the school. Reynolds offers more than 60 visual and performing arts courses.
Reynolds Principal Dr. Leslie Alexander says, “It is exciting and quite an honor to again receive this award. The national certification and award process is based on the Magnet School Standards of Excellence and those standards really define Reynolds. Two years in a row provides our team with validation that our work continues to align with those pillars of diversity, innovative curriculum and professional development, academic excellence, high-quality instructional systems; and, family and community partnerships.”
North Forsyth High School is a Health Science magnet school, which focuses on introducing students to specialized classes and integrated content alongside opportunities to learn about careers in health sciences. North Forsyth is home to an Academy of Health Sciences in partnership with the National Academy Foundation (NAF), a nonprofit organization that works to help high schools provide skilled workers in several fields. Students explore fields such as nursing, nursing specialties, biomedicine, and forensics.
Principal Melita Wise says, “We spend a lot of time working to give students a well-rounded sense of the possibilities and opportunities for careers within these fields. Since beginning this magnet school journey in 2017, we’ve worked hard to provide unique opportunities unlike others in this district. It is so satisfying to know our peers in education, from across the country, have looked at what we are doing and feel we should be recognized on this level.”
Atkins Academic & Technology High School is a STEM magnet school that focuses learning on science, technology, engineering, and math. Those principles are integrated throughout the curriculum. Atkins HS has a special blend of academic rigor, specialized curricula, diversity, and scholastic excellence. As a magnet school, Atkins does more than just give students a broader educational opportunity. With the availability of exclusive technology course strands and various high-tech equipment, Atkins gives all students an equal chance to do well and succeed.
Christina Forney, Program Manager for WS/FCS Magnet Programs, says, “It is no secret to us that Atkins is a special place. Being awarded this distinction by Magnet Schools of America confirms for us that what is happening for students at Atkins is impactful, rigorous, and valuable in preparing them for success in the future.”
When asked about having three schools recognized Forney says, “It’s an honor. A panel of educators evaluates these programs very closely. They are judged on the ability to demonstrate diversity, academic achievement, and partnership with the community. It should reinforce for our community that we have some incredible magnet programs giving our students opportunities that are unmatched in other places.”
Schools are judged on their demonstrated ability to raise student academic achievement, promote racial and socioeconomic diversity, provide integrated curricula and instruction, and create strong family and community partnerships that enhance the school’s magnet theme. The schools will be recognized in April at the national awards ceremony at the Magnet Schools of America’s National Conference in Nevada.