Last week a parent called STRIDES Tutoring to ask about magnet schools. Many parents find the concept confusing, but it’s merely the effort of public educators to reach all students by using new approaches. A magnet school is a public school, so your child may attend free. However, you must apply for your student to be accepted, and some magnet schools have a long waiting list.
Each magnet school provides a unique program. For instance, Blythe Academy of Languages, a Greenville elementary school, offers immersion classes in French or Spanish. Another purpose of magnet schools is to increase diversity. They do this by attracting students from elsewhere in the school district. Our Greenville school district has eleven magnet schools. Spartanburg has only two, but all Anderson schools are magnet schools.
Most educators and families find the idea intriguing, but do magnet schools do well with basic skills, such as reading and math? Let’s compare Greenville magnet schools on reading (language arts) at the elementary level: Blythe and Stone have only 12% of students reading below grade level, but East North reports 22%. Looking at middle schools, Beck reports 25%, and Hughes jumps to 33% reading below grade level. High school magnet schools are judged on graduation rates, ranging from 70% at Carolina to 86% at J.L. Mann. Choose wisely!
If your child is interested in a magnet school, do your homework first. Start at this site to find and compare magnet schools: http://greenville.k12.sc.us/Students/main.asp?titleid=magnet