Magnet School Month 2024

Celebrating Magnet Schools
Posted on 02/09/2024
Two middle school students


February is a month full of celebrations, including Presidents’ Day, Engineering Week, Magnet School Month, Black History Month and lesser known but still important observances like National Random Acts of Kindness Day. Magnet School Month involves all of those celebration themes, spotlighting a program that educates future presidents, inspires young engineers, desegregates schools and builds environments of kindness.

Magnet Month highlights the nationwide community of schools committed to diversity, innovation and academic excellence, open to all students.

Our district is home to 15 Magnet School Assistance Program (MSAP) Schools supported by federal grant funds that help schools attract diverse groups of students.  two middle school students

Magnet schools are founded on five pillars: diversity, innovative curriculum and professional development, academic excellence, leadership, and family and community partnerships.

Since their inception in the 1960s, diversity has been a cornerstone of magnet schools by prioritizing equity and access for every student. These schools attract a diverse student population with exposure to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) topics, the arts, International Baccalaureate programs and more.

This year marks the 70th year since the Supreme Court ruled in the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education that schools segregated by race will never achieve true equality. All these years later, we have not ended school segregation – a complicated reality that a game developed by MNPS staff members works to explain.

In addition to developing interesting academic themes to attract diverse families, the MNPS magnet schools team has created an interactive game experience called "Brown Colors the Board of Education" to educate the community and school staff about the uphill battle of school desegregation work and how we all play a part in successful efforts. Dr. Etter and staff playing Brown board game

Designed by Magnet Schools Director Dr. ReGina Etter, former district equity and diversity coach Alisha Keig, and Dr. Michael Thompson of Warner Arts Magnet Elementary School, the game sheds light on the historical context of school desegregation and its continuing impact on schools and communities.

“We talked about how these things still impact education today or still may occur today and what we can do collectively to overcome those barriers,” said Stephanie Adams, the principal of Apollo Middle School, who recently played the game with colleagues.

"Brown Colors the Board of Education" is a collaborative, interactive board game that immerses players in the decades-long struggle for desegregation and equal rights. Players take on the roles of key figures in the movement, including civil rights activists, political leaders, change advocates, judges, and even students.

The objective is for players to work together as they navigate the positive legal, social, and political reforms behind desegregation while simultaneously encountering and tackling the various unintended consequences and setbacks. Through the activity of play and reflection, players gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced during desegregation’s early years all the way up to the present day. close up of Brown board game

The game encourages adults to use the 21st-century skills of critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity to deeply engage in complex issues surrounding racial equality in education and the broader context of civil rights in Nashville and beyond.

“The game is just eye-opening; it educates you. You learn about different policies and laws put in place and think, how in the world did that pass?” said Andy Lyons, the principal of Paragon Mills Elementary.

Learn More About Magnet Schools

  • Read more about our district's magnet schools and learn how to apply.
  • Follow along with Magnet Month on social media @MNPS_magnet to see #ThePowerofMagnets.
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