Baldwin High School’s Education Academy has been named a 2023 Magna Award winner by the National School Boards Association for its commitment to innovation in education. This is the 29th year the association has presented the awards, which were announced late last month.
The Education Academy — a four-year-long program tailored to high school students interested in teaching — was one of 18 winners of the awards across the nation. The Magna Awards highlight school districts with innovative educational programs, naming three Grand Prize winners, nine Silver Award winners and six Honorable Mentions. The academy won a Silver Award.
The awards recognize programs that aim to solve educational challenges with creativity and out-of-the-box strategies. After an extensive application process, an independent panel of judges chose the Education Academy as one of three Silver Award winners among schools with fewer than 5,000 students. The other programs were Whole Child Supports, in Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District #6 in Cottonwood, Arizona, and the Harkness Initiative, at the Harwood Unified Union School District in Waitsfield, Vermont.
The Grand Prize-winning programs were Agricultural Pathway, in the Windsor, New York, Central School District; College & Career Academy, in Lawrence Public Schools in Lawrence, Kansas; and On Story Project, in Buffalo, New York, Public Schools.
“We are extremely proud that our district’s Education Academy has been recognized for its innovative mission and dedication towards ensuring a talented and prepared future workforce in education,” Baldwin superintendent Shari Camhi said in a news release.
The Magna Awards, Camhi added, have an extensive history of recognizing exemplary school programs across the nation, and she was proud to congratulate Baldwin students, teachers and administrators who contributed to the growth and success of the Education Academy. She said she looked forward to seeing its continued growth and positive impact on the school community, and the future of public education and the teaching profession.
“For more than 25 years, the Magna Awards have recognized innovative school district programs,” John Heim, the National School Boards Association’s executive director and chief executive officer, stated.
“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.”
The Education Academy’s mission is to increase the pool of diverse teaching candidates, and to help students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to become effective and caring teachers. It focuses on turning them into reflective lifelong learners through hands-on experience, projects and required courses.
The academy also works with Molloy University, in Rockville Centre, to help students successfully transition from the high school to the college, and then back to BHS for their teaching residencies. Those who complete the academy program can enter Molloy as sophomores, and eventually provide Baldwin and other districts with diverse and exceptionally qualified teaching candidates.
The district also offers an education “pre-academy” at Baldwin Middle School called Future Teachers of Baldwin, which gives eighth-graders the chance to prepare lesson plans and tutor the district’s elementary-school students. District administrators said this serves as a way to introduce younger students to the teaching profession through hands-on learning experience, while serving as a preview of the Education Academy.
The school district’s achievement will be highlighted in the April issue of American School Board Journal, which will be available on March 20 at nsba.org/asbj. An awards ceremony will take place in Orlando, Florida, in the spring.