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Magnet Schools Assistance Program:
Grant Development in Several School Districts

Orangeburg Schools

In Orangeburg, South Carolina, District 3, students design, build, and test kites as part of a magnet school curriculum focusing on science and technology.

For more than 25 years, Metis Associates' grant-development specialists have worked with urban, suburban, and rural school districts throughout the United States to develop magnet-school initiatives in support of court-ordered and voluntary desegregation plans and to obtain federal Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) funds to implement these plans. Securing more than $235 million for these clients, Metis has helped more than 150 elementary, middle, and high school teams to design magnet program plans that cover a wide array of innovative and research- and evidence-based curricular and instructional models—including STEM, visual and performing arts, International Baccalaureate, and others. These plans incorporate extensive curriculum and professional development activities, community and cultural partnerships, as well as enrichment opportunities for students that would not be available in traditionally-funded schools.

Metis staff also help craft outreach and recruitment strategies to attract new students and families to these magnet schools and assist in the design and implementation of program plans that meet the stringent criteria of the U.S. Office for Civil Rights, including lottery systems for student selection and placement in the magnet programs.

In addition, Metis has a demonstrated track record assisting MSAP grantees to meet their evaluation and reporting requirements. These evaluations, employing a wide variety of data-collection and analysis methods, provide feedback on the districts' success in meeting federal objectives and performance indicators associated with school desegregation, capacity building, and student achievement. Research designs include formative, summative, and rigorous methods (including quasi-experimental and propensity score matching) to support districts in implementing continuous improvement models. Metis's magnet evaluation tools and methods are highlighted in a Web-based toolkit produced by the U.S. Department of Education, which is designed to help school districts assess the progress of their magnet initiatives.

For more information about our working designing and evaluating magnet school programs, please contact Claire Aulicino.