Mission Vista High Receives Magnet School Honor

Vista Unified School District’s Mission Vista High School has been honored with a national certification as a demonstration magnet school— the only one in California. The school was among the first 55 schools in 12 states to successfully complete a nine-month evaluation process with Magnet Schools of America, a national association for magnet and theme-based high schools. More than 100 schools applied, said Mission Vista Principal Nicole Miller Allard.

“The certification process is groundbreaking and the first of its kind,” said MSA Executive Director Todd Mann. “It was created to recognize our most exemplary magnet programs.”

To earn certification, schools had to demonstrate that they had established the best practices involved in the Magnet School Standards of Excellence.

The national certification is also based on the five “pillars” of magnet schools: diversity, innovative curriculum and professional development, academic excellence, high quality instructional systems, and family/community partnerships.

Mission Vista is a dual-magnet school, with programs focusing on arts and communication, and science and technology. “We like our double theme,” said Miller Allard, in her fourth year as school principal. “We like that the students can experience both areas instead of just focusing on the one.”

As an example, she cited a student who demonstrated for her a complex video game he had created about World War II, using lessons from the science and technology curriculum. When she complimented him on the game’s music, the student told her, “I wrote it in my music composition class.”

Besides being among the first group of nationally certified schools, Mission Vista was one of 10 designated as a National Demonstration School— the only one in California— which means it exceeded the Standards of Excellence and is a model of its kind.

The school will be recognized at Magnet Schools of America’s national conference in April in Chicago.