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Detroit and Swan Valley Recognized With First Place 2017 Magna Awards

Stacy Bogard

By Stacy Bogard, CAE, MASB Assistant Director of Communications, PR & Marketing

DashBoard, March 15, 2017

Detroit Public Schools Community District and Swan Valley School District were recognized with first place awards in the 23rd annual Magna Awards program sponsored by the National School Boards Association’s American School Board Journal. The awards, supported by Sodexo, recognize school districts and their leaders for taking bold and innovative steps to improve the lives of their students and communities.

DPSCD was recognized for The Charles Drew Horticulture Program, which, according to the journal profile, “is a postsecondary vocational center for students who are moderately and severely cognitively impaired, visually impaired, hearing impaired, physically impaired and students with autism. The Transition Center creates a continuum of services to ensure that young adults aged 18-26 have access to an age-appropriate learning environment. The Horticulture Program was created for the dual purpose of providing hands-on vocational horticulture skills for special-needs adults leading to possible employment opportunities while providing much-needed access to fresh, locally grown produce for school families, thereby helping, by the increased consumption of fresh food in the home, to help alleviate the inner-city issues of childhood obesity and early-onset diabetes.”

The program saved the district $200,000 in food product purchases in 2015-2016, and is on track to meet or exceed that outcome in 2016-2017.

Swan Valley’s Connecting Generations: Teen Teachers for All Learners program was setup at its high school, per the journal profile, “for senior citizens to learn how to use a smart-phone, and how to set up and communicate through email, Facebook, Skype—even texting. Throughout the day, the seniors meet with high school mentors who do everything from setting up computers, tablets and phones, to teaching their partners how to use them. Because many senior citizens can’t drive, twice a week a group of students goes to their homes. After the teen mentors provide instruction on how to use devices, they teach the residents how to set up Netflix accounts, play games and even how to do online banking. . . In another phase of the cross-generational program, teens teach and mentor preschool students with literacy and creative lessons each week of the school year.”

As a result of this program and more, “service has become a way of life for Swan Valley students.”

Each year, one district from each of the three enrollment categories—under 5,000 students, 5,000-20,000 students and 20,000 and above students—earns the Magna Grand Prize. In addition, five award winners and five honorable mention districts are chosen for each category. Swan Valley was one of the first place winners in the under 5,000 students’ category and Detroit was recognized in the 20,000 and above.

All honored districts will be recognized during the School Leaders Luncheon on March 25 at NSBA’s 77th Annual Conference in Denver. Additionally, all of the 2017 winners are highlighted in a special section in the April issue of ASBJ.

MASB congratulates both districts for their accomplishments.

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