Grantee Corner  |  Community Partnerships

Students in lab coats stand around a table and smile for the camera
Aerospace/Hydrospace Engineering and Physical Science School students hold a frame for a CUBESAT, which was printed on the school’s 3D printer, in an Early College Experience course developed by the University of Bridgeport

A male student wearing white face paint smiles for the camera
Haydock Academy of Arts and Sciences student integrates environmental science with face painting using diatomaceous earth deposits during a visit to Channel Islands National Park

Two girls shake hands with a man in a suit
Academy of Technology & Leadership at Saticoy Young students practice the skill of greetings and handshakes with civil service partners

Students sit at a table in front of a green screen while other students film them
Informational Technology and Software Engineering School students work in the green screen room for their Introduction to Multi-Media Early College Experience course that was developed by Sacred Heart University

A group of students wearing life jackets and holding oars walk down a pier
Frank Academy of Marine Science and Engineering students visit Channel Islands National Park, one of the district’s partners

Students in lab coats and goggles use lab equipment
E.P. Foster School-STEM Academy fifth grade students visit the chemistry lab to experience exciting and hands-on scientific phenomena

Three female students and a female professor stand in front of a machine
Biotechnology Research and Zoological Science School students work with an adjunct professor on an atomic absorption spectrometer for a University of Bridgeport Early College Experience course titled Free Radicals in Biology and Medicine

Elementary students sit around a table working on paintings
Montalvo Arts Academy students learn from artists through a partnership with the VITA Arts Center

Students stand in a simulation ambulance while a mannequin rests on a gurney
Bridgeport Military Academy cadets under the instruction of an American Medical Response staff person engaged in trauma scenarios using the school’s ambulance simulator located

Students in blue shirts raise their hands in front of a barn
Mound Magnet for Science and Global Citizenship students visit Limoneira Ranch in Santa Paula, CA, through a partnership with Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture

Two boys use an iPad while crouching in front of plants
Will Rogers Two Way Immersion School of Environmental Science students use portable microscopes and scan QR codes to learn about native plants in an outdoor classroom provided by a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Many Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) grantees use MSAP funds to establish partnerships with local businesses, agencies, and institutions of higher education to enhance theme-based curricula, provide professional development, and offer real-world learning experiences to students. Here are examples from grantees on both sides of the country.

Oxnard School District

All the MSAP schools in Oxnard School District in California use a four-step approach to creating mutually beneficial, sustainable partnerships. Examples of their partnerships illustrate how the steps support successful relationships.

1.      Know your community, know your partners. The District has identified local partners to help support the theme. For example, Channel Islands National Park is nearby, so the schools have created partnerships with both the National Park Service and the Channel Islands Park Foundation. The Park Foundation’s Ticket to Ride transportation grant complements the environmental and marine science theme development. Students travel by boat to one of the Channel Islands for a day of discovery, learning, and inspiration.

2.       Give before you ask. The District’s philosophy is to first ask what the magnet programs can do for prospective partners. By working with the Channel Islands Park Foundation, for example, the MSAP schools help to build the next generation of park stewards by encouraging students to understand and appreciate the fragile island ecosystems and rich cultural legacies.

3.       Go beyond financial offerings. The District also identifies partners that can provide more than monetary donations.The Park Service cannot pay for student transportation to the Islands like the Park Foundation can, but it does offer pre- and post-island visits to classrooms by island rangers to engage students more deeply in their island adventure. The Service also makes many online resources available for educators.

Support public messaging.The District recognizes that storytelling is a powerful promotional tool, and it has conducted radio and television interviews about the differences partners make in the lives of students. The magnet schools welcome these opportunities to share. By supporting their partners, they aim to create and promote partnerships that last.

Bridgeport Public Schools

Bridgeport Public Schools in Connecticut has systematically developed strong collaborative partnerships with a variety of agencies to help sustain the MSAP schools’ thematic instruction beyond the life of the grant.

The three high schools at the Fairchild Wheeler Campus have developed lasting partnerships with three universities: University of Connecticut (UConn), University of Bridgeport (UB), and Sacred Heart University (SHU). Students participate in UConn’s Early College Experience (ECE) to earn college credit by taking UConn coursework at the high school. High school teachers submit applications and college transcripts to deliver these courses and, once approved by the university, are considered adjunct professors and qualified to deliver the curriculum under the guidance of the university department chair. Through the MSAP grant, Bridgeport has expanded the ECE concept to SHU and UB to provide students with multiple avenues to obtain transferable college credit in the humanities, sciences, and discreet magnet courses. All UConn ECE coursework is free of charge, while credits from the other two institutions are offered at a minimal tuition level. Students who choose to challenge themselves by taking any of these courses leave the high school with a high school diploma plus a transcript from the university that shows the transferable credit earned. In addition, some magnet courses were designed through collaboration between a high school teacher and a university professor.

In addition to offering UConn ECE courses, the Bridgeport Military Academy (BMA) has engaged in similar activities that can provide students with college credit from its partner university, the Henry C. Lee Institute at the University of New Haven. This is the local division of the American Medical Response Company, and it trains students for a variety of First Responder certifications (EMR/EMT). In addition,the municipal office for Homeland Security initiated a partnership with the school that includes training teachers to become FEMA-certified trainers. A citywide “mock disaster drill” planned for late spring will include BMA students as primary first responders. Also, through the Navy Junior ROTC Program, students benefit from the direct relationship with the U.S. Navy by receiving instruction that builds character and citizenship values, instills self-pride and a sense of patriotism, and develops the skill sets for great leaders. Other benefits include an accelerated pay grade upon enlistment, flight training through simulation and actual flight time, and experiences on board vessels and military bases.

Ventura Unified School District

In California’s Ventura Unified School District, each magnet school has built strong, theme-related partnerships. The Academy of Technology & Leadership at Saticoy partners with the City of Ventura to highlight the role of leadership in civil service careers. E.P. Foster School-STEM Academy works with SciTrek at the University of California, Santa Barbara to provide high-quality science training for teachers. Montalvo Arts Academy partners with VITA Arts Center, a local artists community, to provide art lessons for all ages and integrate art skills into the core curriculum. At Mound Magnet for Science and Global Citizenship, connections with local farms bring the school’s themes to life for students. Mound partners with Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture, which facilitates these local agricultural experiences. New West Symphony Harmony Project funds music instruction at Sheridan Way Academy of International Language Study to provide underserved students the opportunity to learn and appreciate music. Finally, the Schoolyard Habitat Program of the U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service funded a grant to establish a large native plant habitat at Will Rogers Two-Way Immersion School of Environmental Science. This outdoor classroom helps students expand their knowledge and understanding of the environment.

See MSAP Grantees page