So what is a magnet school?

Some information for you as we move forward on our journey.


Magnet schools are built on the foundation of five pillars and are free public elementary and secondary schools of choice that are operated by school districts or a consortium of districts. Magnet schools have a focused theme and aligned curricula in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), Fine and Performing Arts, International Baccalaureate, International Studies, MicroSociety, Career and Technical Education (CTE), World Languages (immersion and non-immersion) and many others. Magnet schools are typically more “hands on – minds on” and use an approach to learning that is inquiry or performance/project based. They use state, district, or Common Core standards in all subject areas, however, they are taught within the overall theme of the school.

Most magnet schools do not have entrance criteria, but rather, embody the belief that all students have interests and talents that families and educators believe are better cultivated in a magnet school. They often use a random computer-based lottery system for admission. There are also “Talented & Gifted” magnet schools that may utilize student assessment data and teacher or parent recommendations for selection.

Diversity is an important element of a magnet school. Since student interest in a theme is the only eligiblity criteria to attend a magnet school, students from a wide array of backgrounds attend magnet schools. As a result, they promote higher level cognitive and social learning. Magnet schools make the extra effort to create a sense of classroom and school community and cultivate school spirit. Curriculum is also clear and transparent for families so they can more fully engage in the learning of their students.

Magnet schools serve all students including English learners as well as students receiving Special Education services. Transportation is typically also provided for no cost to families.

What Is a Magnet School?

Five Pillars of Magnet Schools

Big image

  • Diversity is a cornerstone to offering students a global educational experience. Schools, through recruitment and lotteries, strive to have student populations that are reflective of the community. Culturally competent educational environments model empathy, respect, and working collaboratively with a variety of persons.
  • Innovative Curriculum and Professional Development is developed to assure theme-based relevant instruction to students. Effective teaching strategies, emulating from best practices, are implemented through the inclusion of the school’s theme. Curriculum is based on high quality rigorous standards that prepare students for higher education and career success.
  • Academic Excellence is demonstrated through a commitment to multi-dimensional instruction focused on learner needs. Multiple assessment strategies are employed to monitor student learning, progress, and success. High expectations are clearly articulated and personalized supports are in place to address the interests and aspirations of all students.
  • High Quality Instructional Systems are rooted in well-prepared, well-educated professional educators. Teachers and administrators who are student-centered, collaborative, and inquisitive prepare learners to be world ready, workforce ready, and higher education ready.
  • Family and Community Partnerships are mutually beneficial, offer a system of support, shared ownership, and a caring spirit and are designed to enhance a theme integrated educational environment. Partnerships with parents are essential for a rich educational experience for students. Community partnerships include a diverse array of stakeholders including business, health and human services, and policy makers to support the education of all students.

Useful links and resources