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Cumberland County Schools Earns Top Honor in 2021 Magna Awards Program for Equity Work

Cumberland County Schools (CCS) is a National School Boards Association (NSBA) 2021 Magna Award winner. CCS has been recognized for its commitment to equity, earning two first-place awards in the 27th annual Magna Awards program. Across the nation, there were 15 total awards given -- three Grand Prize and 12 first-place winners. CCS was the only district to earn two awards.


Sponsored by NSBA’s flagship magazine, American School Board Journal, the Magna Awards honor districts across the country for their programs that advance equity and break down barriers for underserved students. 


CCS was selected as a winner of two awards by an independent panel of school board members, administrators and other educators. CCS earned awards for “Mentored Next Steps in Equity” and “Equity-Focused Classroom Management.”


“Mentored Next Steps in Equity” was launched after a professional development workshop called “What’s Going On with Our Country” left many participants asking what they could do to promote equity in their respective areas. This initiative provides an opportunity for district educators to further the work of equity by creating a plan of action and carrying out their own equity program. Several principals, assistant principals and teachers have created equity teams at their schools and are conducting equity professional development sessions for their staff members. 


The other initiative earning a first-place award, “Equity-Focused Classroom Management,” is an intensive classroom management course that was recently reimagined to embrace diversity. This course is designed for residency teachers, struggling experienced teachers and teachers new to the county.


“2020 was a year like no other,” said NSBA Executive Director and CEO Anna Maria Chávez. “The 2021 Magna Award-winning districts represent the enormous efforts of school leaders during the pandemic to continue removing barriers to achievement for their underserved and vulnerable students.”


“We proudly serve diverse student populations at our 89 schools across the district,” said Alicia Chisolm, chair of the Cumberland County Board of Education. “Despite the challenges associated with the global pandemic, we are moving forward with The Cumberland Commitment: Strategic Plan 2024 and are making progress toward accomplishing our goals, which includes defining, understanding and promoting educational equity. It is an honor to be recognized at the national level for this important work. The journey continues.”


CCS is highlighted in the April issue of ASBJ. Read about CCS’ award-winning programs and the other winners at