excellence sealBirch Grove School for the Arts and Weaver Lake: A Science, Math, & Technology School have been named 2016 National Magnet Schools of Excellence by Magnet Schools of America, the national association for magnet and theme-based schools. Only six schools in Minnesota earned this award in 2016. Schools are judged on their demonstrated ability to raise student academic achievement, promote racial and socioeconomic diversity, provide integrated curricula and instruction, and create community partnerships that enhance the school’s theme.

Weaver Lake: A Science, Math, & Technology School, in Maple Grove, provides a dynamic, inquiry-based learning environment for students in grades K-5. Weaver Lake’s program incorporates value-added, hands-on activities that focus on problem solving and analytical thinking skills, and are based on real life experiences. The school’s integrated project-based, thematic approach to teaching has increased academic growth in all areas. This is the ninth consecutive year that the Osseo Area Schools elementary STEM program has been honored nationally. Weaver Lake was also recently recognized as one of the nation's top 3 elementary STEM schools at the 2015 Future of Educational Technology Conference (FETC).

Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts, in Brooklyn Park, is an arts magnet for grades K-5 that integrates visual arts, music, drama and dance into the classroom curriculum while providing value-added opportunities in the arts.  Students receive daily standards-based instruction with arts specialists and have the opportunity to participate in arts elective classes, performing troupes, early-entrance band and orchestra, and an all-school musical. This is the eighth time Birch Grove has been nationally recognized by MSA.

“The announcement of our national merit awards is an extraordinary time for the magnet school community,” said MSA Executive Director, Todd Mann. “This is a way for our association to recognize the most accomplished magnet schools in the country. These schools are making a lasting, positive impact on the lives of children. They are preparing them for the challenges of the future by providing them with unique learning experiences that give them the critical skills needed to be workforce and college ready.”

Principals Dennis Palm (Weaver Lake) and Jeff Zastrow (Birch Grove) will receive their respective awards at the National Conference on Magnet Schools in May.

Enrollment for the 2016-2017 school year is under way at all ISD 279 schools. To enroll, contact the district’s Enrollment Center at 763-585-7350.