MacFarlane Park Elementary ranked No. 1 elementary magnet school in U.S.

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A local elementary school has made Hillsborough County school history.

Fourth grade teacher Lelia Kanzer enjoys quizzing young minds at MacFarlane Park Elementary School in Tampa.

"The emphasis is really on letting kids drive the inquiries and using their curiosity," she said.

The school was just named the top elementary magnet school in the country, of the more than 4,000 magnet schools across America.

"In 150 years, we are the only school to receive the number one school status in America," said Principal Denyse Riveiro. "I am the proudest principal in America, for sure."

MacFarlane Park is the first IB magnet school in Hillsborough County to receive this honor.  

Riveiro says hard work and commitment from both parents and teachers is the key to a successful school environment.

"When we have that parent involvement of helping out in our school, that gives teachers more time to plan instruction," she said.

Students excel with the hands-on learning techniques, says IB Coordinator and lead teacher Angela Hartle. 

"We always try to provide authentic activities for students to apply the information from things that they are learning in school," Hartle explained.

Those activities include growing a garden and holding baby chicks. The staff says good student-teacher relationships makes for a successful learning experience.

"I like the teachers, how nice they are and how everyone is good and want to push us to our limits," student Jordan Pfau said.

The national award is presented by Magnet Schools of America.