Guidelines for the Initiation of Magnet or Option Schools and Programs
As a standard process, the Board of Education will discuss any proposed new magnet or option school or program, or the discontinuation of an existing school, option or program in the fall, prior to the winter/spring magnet recruitment season, and will vote on the approval or closure of such programs as part of its proposed budget.
The actual creation of a new program will depend on the availability of funds in the finally adopted budget. The Superintendent, through staff, will assure adequate time is scheduled for development and planning prior to actual implementation of a new program. As a general practice, a discontinued program would continue as a magnet or option school and program the school year following the decision, and would lose its magnet or option status the subsequent school year.
The district's administration, an individual school, or members of the community may present proposals to create a new magnet or option school or program, or, to discontinue an existing magnet or option school and program, to the Board of Education or to the Superintendent. The creation of a new program will depend on the availability of funds in the Board of Education's final, formally adopted budget. [Initial proposals should include statements addressing items (a) and (b) under the section below.]
All such recommendations will receive study and review by a project team established for that purpose.
Proposals for new magnet or option schools and programs submitted to the Board of Education from the Superintendent must include the following:
a. A statement of clearly defined goals, philosophy, structure, teaching and learning strategies, and indications of how these differ from the comprehensive school environment.
b. A statement of need for the school/program based on interest, capacity of existing programs and accessibility for students in all areas of the district.
c. A budget that includes: facility requirements, equipment requirements; program specific instructional materials; human resources; training and staff development; transportation cost; funding sources; and, total operating costs projected over three budget years.
d. An evaluation plan based on the: stated goals of the program; assessment of student achievement as measured by tests utilized by the district or provided by the state; and, other project, portfolio or performance criteria appropriate for the specific program.
e. A timeframe for implementation that addresses staffing procedures and staff development/training requirements.
Guidelines for the Operation of Magnet or Option Schools and Programs
- The Superintendent designates a staff member as the administrator in charge of coordinating magnet school programs. The administrator will coordinate these efforts with other central office staff, appropriate principals, parents and community members.
- The designated magnet/option school administrator will be responsible for meeting with principals and staff as needed to coordinate program staffing, program development, in-service training, technical assistance, and parent/community communication and involvement.
Guidelines for Applications and Registration - Elementary and Middle
(Brown Summit Center for Advanced Academics has its own separate criteria-based application process so some of the guidelines below may not be applicable to their application process.)
1. Application Period
a. An application period of approximately four weeks will be set each year in late winter/early spring. Applications may be submitted either in person or by mail to the Student Assignment Office.
b. All applications, including those sent by mail, must be received by 5:00 p.m. on the last day of the application period in order to be considered in the initial random selection process. Applications received after that date will be placed in the waiting pool.
2. Application and Student Selection
a. Students for the elementary and middle school magnet programs will be selected from the applications received during the designated application period above using a random selection process.
b. Only one (1) application may be submitted for each student. The parent/legal guardian may designate a first, second or third choice. Once an application is submitted, no changes may be made on the application. Processing of an application will begin with first choice.
i. If a child can be accepted for the first choice, the placement will automatically be made and no call will be made to the parent. A letter of acceptance (approval) will be sent to the parent.
ii. After all applications have been processed based on the first choice, if there is still space available in any of the programs, then second and third choices will be considered. Every effort will be made to contact the parent by phone if there is no space at the first choice and the second or third choice can be offered.
iii. When called, the parent will be given the opportunity to accept the second or third choice or go into the waiting pool for the first choice school.
iv. If the parent cannot be reached, the child will be placed in the waiting pool for the first choice school.
v. If no choice can be offered, the child's name will be placed in a waiting pool for the first choice. No numbered waiting lists will be maintained.
3. Sibling (Brother/Sister) Preference
a. Siblings will be given priority only if:
i. Application is received during the application period;
ii. There is a sibling currently enrolled in the magnet program of your choice that will be returning for the school year for which application is being made;
iii. There is space available to accept magnet students for that particular grade level.
iv. The applications of multiple birth siblings (i.e. twins, triplets, etc.) will be considered as one application. For example, if one twin is accepted, both will be accepted. Other sibling applications submitted for the first time would be considered as individual applications.
4. Duplicate Programs
Where there are duplicate programs, the residence of the parents/guardians will determine the school for which the student is eligible to apply. Application eligibility can be determined by the Student Assignment or Magnet or Option School and Program Offices.
a. Expressive Arts – Morehead or Parkview
b. Global Studies - Brooks or Johnson Street
c. Montessori - Erwin, Triangle Lake or Washington
d. Primary Years International Baccalaureate - Falkener or Northwood
e. Spanish Immersion - Jones or Kirkman Park
f. Middle School for the Arts - Lincoln or Penn-Griffin
g. Middle School Global Studies - Lincoln or Johnson Street
h. Middle Years International Baccalaureate - Ferndale or Hairston
i. Middle School Science and Technology - Aycock or Welborn
5. Waiting Pool
Students who are not selected through the random selection process or who apply late will be placed in a waiting pool. If and when a space opens in the program, a student's name will be randomly selected from the waiting pool for that school and grade level. Once selected, the parents will be contacted by phone to see if they wish to accept the magnet placement. This process will be repeated until the space is filled. No new placements will be made after winter break.
6. Out of County Students
Applications from students whose domicile is outside Guilford County will not be considered.
7. Special Situations
Spanish Immersion: Students who live in the Jones or Kirkman Park districts and want to be a part of the Spanish Immersion program must complete and submit a magnet application during the application period.
Brown Summit Center for Advanced Academics: There is a separate criteria-based application required for Brown Summit. The application will be available at the school and on the magnet web site and must be returned to Brown Summit during the application period. Submission of the Brown Summit application does not prevent applicants from also applying for other middle school magnet programs. If the student is selected for both Brown Summit and another middle magnet school, the parent must decide which program they are accepting by the end of the 30-day enrollment period.
8. Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K)
The only magnet programs with Pre-K are the Montessori Schools. Some magnet schools do house Pre-K programs but these programs are not part of the magnet school. To apply for the non-magnet Pre-K programs, do not submit the magnet application. Instead, pick up a Pre-K application at any elementary school or central office location. Pre-K students who live in the zone for Triangle Lake Montessori or Washington Montessori and want to be in the Pre-K program at that school must complete and submit a magnet application during the application period.
a. Every effort will be made to notify parents in writing within five weeks of the close of the application period as to the status of their child's application.
b. Once a student is accepted into a magnet program through the spring random selection process, parents will have 30 calendar days from the date on the acceptance letter to enroll the student in the magnet program at the school.
c. If the student is not enrolled during this 30-day period, the magnet seat will be forfeited and the seat will be filled from the waiting pool applicants. Once the student is registered at the magnet program where accepted, parents are obligated to keep the student in that program for one full school year.
10. Age Requirements
a. For kindergarten, a student must be five years old on or before August 31 of the year entering school.
b. For pre-kindergarten, student must be four years old on or before August 31 of the year entering school.
11. Kindergarten Early Admission for Gifted Students
For kindergarten early admission where the child will be four years old on or before April 16 of the calendar year in which they wish to begin school, the child must meet specific qualification requirements. Copies of the early admissions criteria may be obtained from the Student Assignment Office.
a. Since all of the requirements in the early admissions policy cannot be met during the magnet application period, parents whose students apply for a magnet program and are pursuing early admission must state this at the appropriate place on the application.
b. If the student's name is accepted in the random selection process, the status of the application will be on hold pending the outcome of the early admissions assessments.
c. If the student does not meet the early admissions criteria, the magnet seat will be forfeited.
d. Without meeting the early admission kindergarten requirements, a student must be five years old on or before August 31 to be eligible for kindergarten. Meeting early admission requirements does not guarantee entrance into a magnet program.
e. All other selection procedures also apply.
12. Program Continuation/Returning Students - Elementary and Middle
a. Once a student is accepted into a magnet program, the student may remain in the magnet program through the highest grade level offered.
b. An intent form will be provided to the parent/legal guardian of each magnet student in late winter in order to determine if the student will be returning the following year.
c. For students currently in a magnet program, a magnet application will not be processed if a letter of intent has been submitted indicating that the child is continuing in his/her present magnet assignment.
d. A student's continuation in a magnet program is contingent on the student maintaining good attendance. Magnet principals, following extensive efforts to resolve attendance or tardiness problems, are given the authority to return students to their attendance zone schools.
e. Rescission notification for the magnet assignment will be sent in writing by the Student Assignment Office.
Guidelines for Applications and Registration - High School
1. Application Period
a. An application period of approximately four weeks will be set each year in late winter/early spring.
b. Applications can be obtained from the individual high school option school and program or on the GCS website.
c. All completed applications must be returned to the coordinator or principal of the appropriate high school option school or program.
d. The address for mailing or delivering the application appears at the bottom of the application form.
e. Applications received after the deadline may be considered on a space-available basis.
2. Application and Student Selection
a. Each high school option school or program has unique entrance criteria. Acceptance into a high school option school or program is based on students meeting the criteria for the individual program and in some programs, an interview process. Every effort will be made to provide parents written notification of their child's enrollment status within six weeks from the end of the application period.
b. Students may apply to more than one high school option school and program. If accepted into more than one school and/or program, the parents will be contacted by the Student Assignment Office and asked which school/program the student will attend.
3. Duplicate Programs
Where there are duplicate programs such as International Baccalaureate or performing arts, the residence of the parents/guardians will determine the school for which the student is eligible to apply. Application eligibility can be determined by the Student Assignment or Magnet Offices.
4. Out of County Students
Applications from students whose domicile is outside Guilford County will not be considered.
5. Program Continuation/Returning Students - High School
a. Once a student is accepted into a High School Option School and Program, the student may remain in the option school/program through the highest grade level offered.
b. In late winter, an intent form will be provided to the parent/legal guardian of each High School Option student eligible for return.
c. A student's continuation in a High School Option School or Program is contingent on the student maintaining good attendance, behavior and appropriate academic performance.
d. High School Option School and Program principals, following extensive efforts to resolve any problems, may recommend that the student's assignment be rescinded based on problems with attendance, tardiness, behavior or poor academic performance.
e. Rescission notification for a High School Option School and Program assignment will be sent in writing by the Student Assignment Office.
f. High school option principals, in consultation with the Office of Magnet and Option Schools and Programs, will develop specific tools and processes to promote Student Progress and Advancement.
Guidelines for Transportation
Transportation requests are required to obtain school bus transportation. Transportation requests will be mailed along with the acceptance letter from the Director of Student Assignment and must be completed and sent to the Transportation Department within seven (7) business days. The Transportation Department will acknowledge receipt of each transportation request by sending the requestor a post card indicating the request was received and was either: a) complete, or b) state the information required from the parent to complete the processing. School bus transportation will be arranged on a "reasonable effort" basis.
Guidelines for Evaluation
a. In addition to the evaluation and assessment plans developed for individual schools or programs, a process for the continuing evaluation of current and future programs will be established. This process will use the three objectives of the Magnet or Option Schools and Programs Board policy, as well as, the stated goals of each program; assessment of student achievement as measured by tests used by the district or provided by the state; and, other project, portfolio or performance criteria appropriate for the specific program. Additionally, this process should be inclusive of school climate and community involvement.
b. An overall assessment of the effectiveness of Magnet or Option Schools and Programs will be conducted through a periodic Program Audit to determine the impact of Magnet or Option Schools and Programs on academic achievement system wide (K-5, 6-8, and 9-12) relative to student progress and student accessibility to all curricular areas.
Guidelines for Discontinuation
Discontinuing a magnet program will be determined by project team recommendations, school/community input, prior magnet office evaluations, student enrollment and achievement, and financial feasibility. As a general rule, a discontinued program would continue as a magnet school the school year following the decision and would lose its magnet or option status the subsequent school year. Program continuation of any Magnet or Option School or Program will depend on the availability of funds in the final budget adopted by the Board of Education.