Published : Thursday, September 28, 2017 | 6:02 PM
The Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) has been awarded a $14.5 million Magnet School Assistance Program (MSAP) grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support programs that promote diversity and increase student achievement at three schools located in the district’s Northwest neighborhoods: Altadena Elementary, Washington STEAM Magnet, and John Muir High School. The grant supports programs that draw diverse students from throughout the community and expands public school choices for parents.
“I am thrilled that PUSD’s track record in establishing vibrant and successful schools has resulted in a second and larger federal magnet grant,” said Superintendent Brian McDonald. “This grant creates a pathway from kindergarten through college where innovation, challenge, and creativity combine to deliver boundless opportunities for every child.”
The new federal grant funds, awarded over the next five years, will enable each of the schools to establish an innovative educational program with a thematic focus. Altadena Elementary will focus on visual and performing arts and serve as a feeder to Eliot Arts Magnet Academy, that has seen increased student achievement, attendance, and enrollment since becoming a magnet school.
Washington STEAM Magnet, a middle school, will add Spanish dual language immersion classes to its STEAM- themed program (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) offering a middle school option that mirrors the STEM and Spanish dual language immersion options at nearby Jackson STEM Dual Language Magnet. Jackson has nearly doubled in enrollment since becoming a magnet school in 2013.
John Muir High School will focus on strengthening each of the three academy offerings (Engineering and Environmental Science; Arts, Media and Entertainment; and Business and Entrepreneurship) with state-of-the-art equipment and training. Additionally, the school will strengthen and expand its Early College offerings in partnership with Pasadena City College.
Funds will also provide support for each of the three sites to strengthen implementation of PUSD’s key academic and social-emotional health initiatives including Balanced Literacy and Trauma Informed Care. At the district, funds will enhance improvements to the Family and Community Resource Center as well as the review and improvement of policies to increase socioeconomic integration, which promotes stronger academic, cognitive, and social emotional benefits for all students.
The five-year grant was secured by the Pasadena Educational Foundation (PEF), a non-profit, community-based organization which supports educational programs at public schools in PUSD. It is expected to serve more than 4,120 students in the three magnet schools over a five-year period. Schools will team with significant partners to ensure students have real-world, well-rounded exposure to the magnet themes.
PUSD was awarded a three-year federal magnet grant in 2013 to establish four magnet schools: Jackson STEM Dual Language Magnet (grades K-5), Washington Elementary STEM Magnet (grades K-5), Washington STEAM Magnet Academy (grades 6-8), and Eliot Arts Magnet Academy (grades 6-8).
PUSD is among 32 school organizations in 16 states to receive the 2017 MSAP grants, which total $97.6 million this year and are administered by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement. Two other school districts in California are also recipients of the grant.