A Raleigh school has been named the top magnet elementary school in the nation.
Washington Elementary School received the Elementary Magnet School Merit Award of Excellence from Magnet Schools of America, a trade organization. Catie Burnette, the school’s principal, said the award “belongs to every single student, staff member and family, as they all play a role in making magic each day at our school.”
“Washington is a truly special community,” Burnette said in a news release. “We often say that you don’t just see great things happening at Washington, you feel them too! We are truly honored to be recognized by Magnet Schools of America as the top magnet elementary school, not just in Raleigh, not in North Carolina, but in the nation!”
Located on Fayetteville Street near downtown Raleigh, Washington was built in 1923 as the first public school for African-Americans in Raleigh. The former Washington High School served as a segregated school before becoming an elementary school after integration.
Many elective offerings
Magnet Schools of America noted Washington’s 200 elective offerings that are part of the school’s Gifted and Talented magnet theme. Each student attends two elective courses per day, ranging from orchestra to aeronautics.
“Washington is noteworthy for finding and nurturing the ‘gifts and talents’ of all students through a unique educational program that cares for the whole child,” Magnet Schools of America said in its award announcement.
Wiley is among the network of magnet schools operated by the Wake County school system to fill under-enrolled schools, diversify school populations and provide school choice. Wake has won numerous magnet school awards over the years, including Wiley Elementary in Raleigh being named the top magnet elementary school in the nation in 2021.
“Our district’s magnet programs stand out – nationally and internationally – as models of excellence,” Superintendent Catty Moore said in the news release. “As one of our earliest magnet schools, Washington has a long tradition of recognizing and cultivating the gifts and talents of our district’s youngest learners.
“We are so proud of this award, as it reinforces the impact of the Washington community’s dedication to engaging learners, embracing diversity and celebrating the efforts and achievements of all students every day.”