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Alexandria, Va. (March 17, 2011)  ­­– The Carlisle County (Ky.) Public Schools has been recognized as a first place winner in the American School Board Journal’s (ASBJ) 17th annual Magna Awards program.
Carlisle County was recognized in the under 5,000 student category. The district created the Preschool Assistants to Learning to improve high school student attendance and reduce dropout rates. Students with poor attendance are recruited to serve as aides in the district’s preschool program, helping to mentor the young children. The program fosters a sense of responsibility and belonging among the high school students – district officials say participants now feel as though they are important and would be missed if they were not there. Since 2007, no PALs participant has dropped out of school.
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 based on three enrollment categories: less than 5,000 students, 5,000 to 20,000, and 20,000 and above.
“Since 1995 through the Magna Awards, we've featured many excellent examples of school district leadership, and this year is no exception,” said Anne L. Bryant, ASBJ’s Publisher and Executive Director of the National School Boards Association (NSBA). “The winning entries are full of practical advice on how districts solved pressing problems.”
The Magna Awards are supported by Sodexo School Services. Each of the winning school districts will receive $4,000 in scholarship money during a special presentation at NSBA’s Annual Conference, to be held April 8-11 in San Francisco. This year’s grand prize winners were Moreland School District in San Jose, Calif., Joplin (Mo.) Schools and Pasco County (Fla.) Schools.
“Sodexo understands the vital role student well-being plays in fostering classroom achievement and we are proud to create learning friendly environments that allow our partner districts to focus on doing what they do best - educating our children,” said Steve Dunmore, President of Sodexo Education-Schools.  “The Magna Awards recognize school boards and communities that share our commitment to student well-being and achievement and we are proud to support the program again this year.”
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 winners from more than 350 submissions. This year’s applicants came from 40 states.
The 2011 winners are highlighted in a special supplement to the April issue of ASBJ and will be formally recognized on Saturday, April 9, at the School Leaders Luncheon, which is part of NSBA’s 71st Annual Conference.
In addition to the ASBJ supplement, the district's winning entry will be posted on the Magna Awards website and added to the program's searchable best practices database. Both can be found at www.asbj.com/magna
American School Board Journal
American School Board Journal (www.asbj.com), published monthly by the National School Boards Association, serves almost 40,000 school board members and top-level administrators from districts across the nation. The K-12 magazine, published continuously since 1891, has won 17 national honors for education reporting and design since 2006.
Sodexo in North America
Sodexo, Inc. (www.sodexoUSA.com), leading Quality of Daily Life Solutions company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, delivers On Site Service Solutions in Corporate, Education, Health Care, Government, and Remote Site segments, as well as Motivation Solutions such as Esteem Pass. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation (www.SodexoFoundation.org), an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $15 million in grants to fight hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog at www.sodexoUSA.com/blog.
As research indicates, diet and nutrition as well as classroom and school conditions have an impact on student performance. Sodexo is committed to student well-being and has initiated a variety of programs around nutrition, achievement, environment, community and activities. Sodexo creates learning-friendly environments through our student nutrition and facilities management programs at 480 school districts across the country and the company serves more than 2.8 million healthy and delicious school meals each day. Sodexo has been a proud sponsor of the Magna Awards since 1995.

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