Two Lexington-Richland School District Five Schools have received Merit Awards by Magnet Schools of America (MSA), the national association for magnet and theme-based schools.

Spring Hill High School Career Pathways Magnet has been named a National Magnet School of Distinction and Nursery Road Elementary School-Arts Magnet has been named a National Magnet School of Excellence.

Nursery Road Elementary is the only elementary school in School District Five that offers expanded arts for students as well as arts integration in the core classes. Once a week, students experience dance, theater, instrumental or general music, and visual or media arts in their Related Arts rotation. While in the core classes, the instrumental or general music teacher and the media or visual arts teachers co-teach with classroom teachers to facilitate arts integrated lessons. Integrating the Arts in the classroom creates a deeper understanding of cross-curricular content.

“It is such an honor to receive this award,” said Nursery Road Elementary School principal Love Ligons. “I am excited, but humbled. It is a testament of the work of our dedicated teachers and staff at Nursery Road, our students who work to achieve their personal best each day, and the wonderful support from our families, our district, and our community. I am so thankful for the awesome team I have the privilege of working with each day. They make wonderful things happen and dreams come true each day for our Champions.

Spring Hill is a comprehensive all-choice, all-magnet, public high school that offers five focus programs to students from grades 9-12 including: Engineering, Entertainment, Entrepreneurial, Environmental Studies and Exercise Science academies. Through these academies, students are immersed into high tech, real-world environments which develop core knowledge, ignite imagination and make learning relevant by using themed standards-based curriculum. This approach enhances college and career readiness by guiding students to make critical connections between their educational journey and the dynamic world. 

This is the fourth consecutive year the school has received this award that is given out annually.

“We are very excited that Spring Hill High School has been named as a National Magnet School of Distinction Merit Award winner for the fourth year in a row,” said Spring Hill principal Dr. Michael Lofton. “This award celebrates the hard work, dedication, and commitment of our teachers, staff, students and parents. This award belongs to our entire Spring Hill family and I could not be more proud of what we are accomplishing each and every day.”

The schools will be recognized and receive their awards during an awards ceremony held at Magnet Schools of America’s 38th National conference hosted by Clark County School District in Clark County, Nevada April 13-17.

To receive a national merit award, members of Magnet Schools of America must submit a detailed application that is scored by a panel of educators. These schools are judged and scored on their demonstrated ability to raise student academic achievement, promote racial and socioeconomic diversity, provide integrated curricula and instruction, and create strong family and community partnerships that enhance the school’s magnet theme.

“This is a great accomplishment for both Nursery Road Elementary-Arts Magnet and Spring Hill High School Career Pathways Magnet,” said School District Five Magnet Director Sara Wheeler. “The Magnet Schools of America’s Merit Awards program recognizes member magnet schools annually that exemplify excellence and these awards show that both schools are being recognized for their outstanding work, which means they are among the best in the nation.”

To learn more about the national merit awards program, visit