An Overview of the Magna Awards, by Dr. Carole Hankin

Established nearly two decades ago, the Magna Awards recognize significant advances in student learning thanks to school board best practices and innovative educational programs. In order to be eligible for the Awards, the school board must have played an active role in the program and it must be transferrable to other schools. The program must also clearly advance student learning and promote the mission of the district. An independent panel of six judges evaluates each program on several criteria, including creativity, commitment to student achievement, and district leadership. Judging takes place in three categories: under 5,000 enrollment; 5,000 to 20,000 enrollment; and over 20,000 enrollment, with the top program from each division winning a $4,000 prize. Aside from the three grand prizes, the judges name five additional winners and five honorable mention participants as well.

All of the programs that earn one of the abovementioned distinctions, as well as other notable programs, will be entered into the Magna Awards Best Practices Database. Accessible online, this searchable cache of programs from former participants serves as a valuable resource for other school boards looking to improve the academic programs in their district.

About the Author: In two decades as the Superintendent of the Syosset Central School District, Dr. Carole Hankin has made numerous improvements in the New York district. Through the leadership of Dr. Hankin and other administrators, Syosset Central School District has garnered accolades from media outlets and organizations across the country, including a Magna Award from the American School Board Journal. Dr. Carole Hankin has earned personal distinction as well; she won the School Superintendent Recognition Award from the New York State Alliance for Arts Education and the Distinguished Service Award from the New York State PTA.