Jax Beach wins top state honor

Jax Beach Elementary awarded top magnet school honor

March 3, 2021 – It’s a top national honor that only one school in Duval County Public Schools – and 19 in the state of Florida – can claim.

Congratulations to Jacksonville Beach Elementary for being named a Nationally Certified Demonstration Magnet School by Magnet Schools of America (MSA).

This designation is the highest distinction possible awarded by MSA.

It measures excellence among the five pillars of magnet schools: Diversity, innovative curriculum and professional development, academic excellence, high quality instructional systems, and family and community partnerships.

“At JBE, we continually strive to outperform ourselves each year,” said Principal Cameron Mattingly. “Our commitment to ensuring high quality teaching and learning every day for all students never wavers. Receiving the highest honor of distinction from this national organization reinforces that the magnet programming at JBE is comprehensive, highly effective, and can serve as a shining example for others who wish to grow their magnet offerings.”

Mattingly continued: “I am so proud to serve as the school leader for JBE, because despite all obstacles, our stakeholders push forward and continue to achieve great things.”

Mattingly was joined by several of the school’s educators in being recognized by the School Board during its regular meeting on Tuesday, March 2.

“It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life to have spent the majority of my teaching career in a school where all stakeholders adopt that same mindset through continually setting new goals for growth and improvement,” said Pamela Farrell, who teaches second-grade gifted math and science. “The recent honor of being recognized by Magnet Schools of America as a Demonstration School fills me with an indescribable sense of pride and accomplishment.  I am committed to being deserving of the title, as well as continuing the journey to become the “best” Magnet school possible.”   

“This honor means so much to me as a teacher of gifted at Jacksonville Beach Elementary,” said Johanna Kolb, who teaches third grade gifted math and science. “Our magnet focuses on the academic, social, and emotional needs of our students, and this award recognizes our dedication to our magnet theme , but also to the continued growth that we continually strive for in our work. We are committed to achieving excellence at Jacksonville Beach Elementary, and we are  honored that we are a National Demonstration School.”

According to MSA, the certification process was created to recognize “the most exemplary magnet schools in the nation.” Schools must not only complete a detailed application, but they must also undergo an in-depth evaluation by the National Institute for Magnet School Leadership.

Through the process, schools can demonstrate they either meet the criteria or exceed the criteria.

For Jacksonville Beach Elementary, they exceeded the criteria, and will remain certified through August 2025.