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All five District 196 elementary magnet schools earn national recognition

All five elementary magnet schools in District 196 have been selected for recognition by Magnet Schools of America.

Cedar Park Elementary Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) School, Diamond Path Elementary School of International Studies and Glacier Hills Elementary School of Arts and Science received a 2020 School of Excellence Award, given to only a select group of magnet schools in the nation that have demonstrated the highest level of excellence in all facets of the merit award application. In addition, Echo Park School of Leadership, Engineering and Technology and Oak Ridge Elementary School of Leadership, Environmental and Health Sciences were named a 2020 School of Distinction. 

Magnet Schools of America advocates for high-quality instructional programs that promote choice, equity, diversity and academic excellence for all students. The awards recognize 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 that is scored by a panel of educators based on their demonstrated ability to raise student academic achievement, promote racial and socioeconomic diversity, provide integrated curriculum and instruction, and create strong family and community partnerships that enhance the school’s magnet theme.

Cedar Park, Diamond Path, Glacier Hills and Echo Park have received these awards in previous years. This is the first time for Oak Ridge, which converted to a magnet school in 2016 along with Echo Park. In addition to the five elementary magnet schools, District 196 offers Valley Middle School of STEM for students in grades 6-8. The district’s K-12 STEM pathway of schools includes Cedar Park, Echo Park, Valley Middle and Apple Valley High School, which has a fabrication lab and STEM focus emphasizing critical thinking, creativity, innovation and real-world problem-solving. The School of Environmental Studies, an optional high school for juniors and seniors, is also part of the district’s magnet school offerings. 

Enrollment at District 196 magnet schools is open to all students in District 196, as well as students who open enroll from another district, through an enrollment application and lottery process held each January. Transportation is provided for district students who are selected for enrollment in a magnet school. For more information, go to