Magnet schools are like public schools in that they are free, open to the public, and operate within the local public school system. What makes them unique is that the magnet school curriculum focuses on a specific learning track. This ranges from things like STEM to medical science and even the performing arts. For example, in a performing arts magnet school, students will still be required to learn the core subjects, but intertwined with that, there will be many projects, discussions, and classes centered around the performing arts.
Students with a passion for specific subjects or activities now have a choice when it comes to their schooling. They are able to go beyond just where they live, as students are not confined to schools that are only within their attendance zone. This leads to a diverse student body that represents various zones and is one of the many reasons why magnet schools are on the rise. With the emergence of magnet schools, parents must now decide which one is best for their child.
PICKING THE RIGHT SCHOOL
When a parent is considering enrolling their child into a magnet school, there are several questions to consider first:
- Are you interested in a curriculum or instructional approach that is different from the traditional public school.
- Do you feel that your child has needs that a magnet school can better meet than their zoned public school?
- How do you feel about sending your child to a school outside of your normal school zone?
- How well do you think your child will adjust to a new school and a new educational approach?
After considering these questions yourselves, parents must then communicate with their child in order to find the best school for them. The East Baton Rouge Parish School System offers several great magnet programs at different grade levels throughout the parish. At the elementary level, there is visual and performing arts, Montessori, and Foreign Language Immersion. The middle school programs include visual and performing arts, pre-engineering, and Foreign Language Immersion. At the high school level, there is medical, visual and performing arts, pre-engineering, and Foreign Language Immersion. There is no doubt a variety of options for students to choose from, and parents must understand that choosing the right magnet school isn’t based on what they feel would be best for their child. At the end of the day, the child is the one going to school and these programs are in place to benefit their future.
Picking the right school is as simple as sitting down and having a real conversation with the child. Finding out their interests and passions is essential to picking the right magnet school. If the child has no interest in the performing arts, enrolling them into a performing arts magnet school won’t be beneficial. The first step to picking the right magnet school is effective communication between parent and child. The rest will come naturally, as the child will be more open and honest about their likes and dislikes as long as parents are honest themselves.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
Following these steps doesn’t necessarily lead to a parent picking the perfect school for their child every single time. In the real world, things just don’t work out and sometimes a school is just not the right fit for their child. They are at a point in their life where they are experiencing a lot of growth and change; that means that their likes and dislikes are constantly changing as well. Their opinions about the different schools and concentrations may change from the moment they enrolled to the present, and that is okay. It isn’t the end of the world if your child discovers that she likes the arts more than STEM.
Following these steps does allow for the child to feel more committed to their choice. It is important to involve the child in the decision making process, so that when this happens, they feel a sense of responsibility and commitment.
This directly translates to a more positive attitude towards school and towards their studies in particular.
In addition to this, the relationship between parent and child also strengthens. By involving the child in this process, the trust grows, and where there is trust, there is an avenue for the relationship to grow, and future decisions become that much easier to make.