Summer Carrier & Evee Savela-Hogg
In August 2018, Duval County sponsored three schools with the hope of getting them National recognition and certification as explementary magnet high schools. As of the 2019 school year, Douglas Anderson was the only one out of the three to get the award.
Schools pay 1600$ to apply, and the county covered Douglas Anderson’s fee. In the application process magnet schools submit a self-evaluation and are judged based on five criteria: 1. Diversity; 2. Innovative Curriculum and Professional Development; 3. Academic Excellence; 4. High Quality Instructional Systems; and, 5. Family and Community Partnerships.
It was a 10-month long process and involved 887 separate documents about Douglas Anderson’s programs, performances, demographics, funding and other important information, said William Spell, the vice principal.
“I was pretty confident we were going to get it,” Said Spell, “A school representative had come in to look at it, just one final time before everything was sent off and he’d seen a few others, and he thought ours was very thorough. He pretty much reassured us we were going to get it.”
Spell wasn’t the only one involved, it was a collective effort of all the school’s staff to get everything together. Both Spell and Melanie Hammer, the principal, commended the effort of the students and other faculty.
“It’s just what everybody does, everyday,” Hammer said, “DA has a strong program, one that has been established for many years.”
This award was recognized by the superintendent of Duval county, Dianna Greene, and other school board members who celebrated with Douglas Anderson faculty, “I got hugged by the superintendent,” Said Spell, “So that was just really cool.”
The staff plan to learn more about this recognition and what it can do for the school and the students in a conference next April.
Although both Hammer and Spell feel a bit “Applicationed” out for now, between the National Magnet award and others like getting Douglas Anderson recertified as a national arts high school, they are still thinking of where they want Douglas Anderson to go next. “I think next we become a PBIS (Positive behavioral interventions and supports) school. Which is basically an award that recognizes schools with a positive environment.” said Spell.
“I want us to try and beat Stanton in academics. And, of course, keep receiving national recognition in all of our arts areas.” Said Hammer.