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Career Academy receives Magna Award

The Butler County Schools Career Academy received honorable mention in the 22nd annual Magna Awards program sponsored by the National School Boards Association’s flagship magazine, American School Board Journal.

The Magna Awards recognize school districts and their leaders taking bold and innovative steps to improve the lives of their students and their communities.

An independent panel of school board members, administrators and other educators selected the winners from nearly 200 submissions. There were a total of 33 winners in three categories, which were districts with less than 5,000 students, districts with 5,000 to 20,000 students and districts with more than 20,000 students. Three grand prizes, 15 first places and 15 honorable mentions were awarded.

“Public schools work tirelessly to improve student achievement,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, executive director of the NSBA. “These Magna Award-winning districts are some of the finest examples of the creativity and dedication of our public school leaders across the nation.”

The Butler County School Career Academy offers courses from welding to nursing and serves students throughout the school system.

“We applaud the innovative spirit these winning districts possess and we share their passion for improving quality of life and education for students,” said Steve Dunmore, president of Sodexo Education-Schools.

Sodexo helps sponsor the award.

Earlier this year, State Superintendent Tommy Bice recognized the Career Academy as part of the Alabama State Department of Education’s Innovation Celebration tour.

“It’s just stellar what you all have been able to put together,” Bice said during his visit. “There are a lot of great things going on here. It’s amazing.”

In 2014, the school system received a $500,000 grant that was used to create its Industrial Maintenance Academy and Health Science Academy. The funds were made available due to a bill passed in 2013 aimed at preparing students to be productive members of the state’s workforce.

“Over the last two years things have really snowballed, and we owe it all to sort of reinventing ourselves,” said Jennifer Burt, Butler County Schools career tech director. “Due to the grant we were able to get we were able to put in the industrial maintenance and healthcare academies as a result.”