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Glacier Hills Elementary School of Arts and Science in Eagan was selected to receive the 2017 Donald R. Waldrip Award and $2,500 from Magnet Schools of America (MSA) during the organization’s national conference April 29 in Los Angeles.

Earlier this spring, Glacier Hills was one of only 89 magnet schools in the nation and five in Minnesota selected to receive a 2017 School of Excellence Award as part of MSA’s annual merit awards program. From that list, Glacier Hills and four other School of Excellence recipients were chosen to be considered for special awards that are given to the top magnet schools in the nation each year. Members of the selection committee made site visits to each of the schools in early April and the winners were announced at the national conference. Named after MSA’s founder and first executive director, the Donald R. Waldrip Award is given to the top elementary School of Excellence recipient.

“We are honored to be recognized for the incredible work and dedication of our staff over the 10 years we have worked to develop our magnet program into a model for the nation” said Glacier Hills Principal Scott Thomas. “We believe that rich experience in the arts and sciences that are integrated and infused throughout the day makes for an environment where all students can thrive and learn at high levels.”

Magnet Schools of America advocates for high-quality instructional programs that promote choice, equity, diversity and academic excellence for all students. Their annual merit awards program recognizes magnet schools that show a commitment to high academic standards, curriculum innovation, successful desegregation/diversity efforts, specialized teaching staffs, and parent and community involvement. To be considered for an award, schools must submit an application with information about student achievement, school demographics, theme fidelity and integration, innovative instructional strategies used at the school, parent and community involvement, and examples of achievement and awards received by students and staff.

Glacier Hills is one five elementary magnet schools that families can choose from in District 196. The others are Cedar Park Elementary STEM School in Apple Valley, Diamond Path Elementary School of International Studies in Apple Valley, Echo Park Elementary School of Leadership, Engineering and Technology in Burnsville, and Oak Ridge Elementary School of Leadership, Environmental and Health Sciences in Eagan. The district offers a K-12 STEM pathway of schools on its west side that includes Cedar Park, Echo Park, Valley Middle School of STEM and Apple Valley High School, which features a fabrication lab for hands-on learning.

Enrollment at District 196 magnet schools is open to all students in the district through an enrollment application and lottery process held each January. Transportation is provided for students who are selected for enrollment in a magnet school. For more information about magnet school enrollment in District 196, click here.

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