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NVUSD Arts Education gets a Big Boost

Nov. 08, 2017 | Elizabeth Emmett

(NAPA, Calif-) The programs at Bel Aire Park Magnet Elementary School, and Salvador/El Centro Magnet Elementary School will be enhanced and Phillips Elementary School will officially become a magnet school, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Education Magnet Schools Assistance Program grant, NVUSD announced today.  Over five years, with annual appropriations from Congress, the grant could bring up to $10,121,928 to the three schools, 100 percent funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The District was alerted to the award in late September by Senator Kamala Harris’ office.

“Magnet schools offer innovative educational programs and create more public school choice for families,” said Maren Rocca-Hunt, who oversees NVUSD’s magnet school program. “They are also designed to attract students from diverse backgrounds, and are an important component of our efforts to support student racial and socioeconomic integration.”

There are currently five magnet elementary schools in the District: Alta Heights (Math, Art, Science, Technology -  MAST); Bel Aire Park (International Baccalaureate - IB); Napa Junction (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math – STEM); Pueblo Vista (Dual Immersion/Environmental Sciences); and Salvador/El Centro (Arts Integration); and one magnet middle school, Harvest (Dual Immersion/International Baccalaureate).    

The initial grant award of $2,447,916 for the 2017-2018 school year will be used to initiate enhancements at Bel Air Park and Salvador/El Centro, and a new program at Phillips.

A new Communications and Media program will be incorporated into the current Bel Aire Park Magnet Elementary School International Baccalaureate program. Through literacy and the IB inquiry cycle, the new program will focus on Interpersonal Communication, Global/Media Communication and Artistic Communication. The Bel Aire Park IB program is designed to continue to the Harvest Magnet Middle School  IB program with the Communication and Media program incorporated to strengthen student literacy.

The new grant will also support the expansion of the Salvador/El Centro Arts Magnet School to accommodate the consolidation of the two schools. In fall 2018, all Salvador and El Centro resident students will attend the newly renovated campus which will be located at the El Centro address. Through the expansion of the Artful Learning program, more NVUSD students will be able to participate in a unique educational opportunity based on Leonard Bernstein’s belief that the arts provides a fundamental way to instill lifelong love of learning.

Finally, Phillips Elementary School will become a Leadership, Engineering, Art Design (LEAD) Magnet School. Students will develop skills necessary to become effective leaders in the community and will develop skills for innovative Design Thinking through STEM investigation.

“Magnet schools play a critical role in providing school and program options for our parents and help diversify public schools in our valley,” said NVUSD Superintendent Patrick Sweeney. “These themes fit perfectly with our vision to develop lifelong skills in our students to prepare them for college and careers in the 21st century.”

The Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) is authorized under Title V, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Act, as amended in 1994 and is administered by the Office of Innovation and Improvement. For the MSAP 2017-22 grant cycle, it was anticipated approximately $90 million would be allocated to school Districts across many states as one of the only Federal grants with focus on K-12 school racial and socioeconomic integration.

Dr. Christine Gross, an NVUSD employee who worked with a District team to conduct a feasibility study and write the grant, noted, “For this grant cycle, about 90 grant applications were submitted nationwide. Only 31 of those were ultimately funded, in 16 states, so we are proud and grateful that our effective magnet program was recognized in this way.”   

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Arts Council Napa Valley 501(c)3 is funded in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

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