Update On Magnet School Conversation

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District continues to consider magnet schools.

The School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) presented recommendations to the Board of Education in February regarding the possibility of bringing magnet and innovative programming to the District. A series of community meetings were held in the fall to gather input about these unique learning environments.

Magnet schools are focused on innovation and have something different to offer, often making them an attractive choice to many parents and students. Distinguishing them from other public schools, magnet schools usually are based around an embedded theme used to help improve student learning results. The intent of magnet schools is to provide expanded choice for parents, students, and the community.

SIAC member David Tominsky joined Associate Superintendent Trace Pickering to present the Committee’s report to the Board. The SIAC has recommended the District expand the Big Ideas Program into a half-day program for interested high school juniors and seniors, focused on 21st century skills and the development and application of professional skills. They also recommend a middle school pilot program for 8th grade students at Roosevelt Middle School for the 2014-15 school year.

While no building or theme has been identified a possible magnet program, the SIAC Committee recommended opening two elementary magnet schools for the 2015-16 school year. According to Pickering, it is likely that one of these would have an arts focus and the other emphasizing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Budget plans for fiscal 2015 include monies for professional development and other magnet-related costs.

Specific building recommendations are expected to will go to the Board this spring, followed by planning and professional development that will help to ensure a successful Fall 2015 opening of any approved magnet schools..

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