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April 12, 2012


MRH Earns Top National Honors in 2012 Magna Awards for Joe’s Place

Magna AwardsThe Maplewood Richmond Heights School District has been named one of three grand prize winners in the American School Board Journal’s (ASBJ) and National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) 18th annual Magna Awards program for Joe’s Place. Since 2007, Joe’s Place has offered homeless teenage boys in the MRH School District a supervised, caring home environment, supporting them in graduating from high school and creating positive futures for themselves.

The Magna Awards recognize districts across the country for outstanding programs that advance student learning and encourage community involvement in schools. This year’s three grand prize, 15 first place, and 15 honorable mention winners were selected from three enrollment categories: under 5,000 students, 5,000 to 20,000 students, and over 20,000 students. This year's other grand prize winners were the Monroe-Woodbury Central School District in Central Valley, N.Y., and the Pittsburgh Public Schools in Pennsylvania.

MRH is being honored as the grand prize winner in the under 5,000 enrollment category. School district officials worked with local churches and community volunteers to create Joe’s Place. Of the 14 students served by Joe’s Place, 13 have graduated from high school or are on track to graduate. Six former Joe’s Place residents are attending college, one has joined the Navy, and two more are employed full-time.

"It is a tremendous acknowledgement of the work MRH has been doing in this area," said Dr. Linda Henke, MRH superintendent. “We are thrilled the NSBA has recognized what we believe is a very unique approach to solving serious problems in teen homelessness within our district.”

Maplewood Richmond Heights, and other grand prize-winning school districts, will receive $4,000 in scholarship money during a special presentation at the NSBA Annual Conference, to be held April 21-23 in Boston.

“The Magna Awards exemplify strong school board leadership, creativity, and commitment to student achievement in public education,” said Anne L. Bryant, ASBJ’s publisher and executive director of NSBA. “This year’s Magna Awards recipients truly showcase the best practices and innovative school programs that are advancing student success.”

ASBJ initiated the Magna Awards in 1995 to recognize school boards for taking bold and innovative steps to improve their educational programs. An independent panel of school board members, administrators, and other educators selected the winners from 300 submissions. This year’s nominations came from 44 states.

The 2012 winners are highlighted in a special supplement to the May issue of ASBJ, and will be formally recognized on April 21, 2012 at the Best Practices for School Leaders Luncheon, which is part of NSBA’s 72nd Annual Conference.

“This is a community that has taken a look at some of our most vulnerable children and said we can do something about this,” continued Dr. Henke. “That is an empowering message to send to other communities and to inspire us at MRH to continue our work.”

Download a copy of the article in the American School Board Journal.

For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.