It's day six of the school year at the CREC Ana Grace Academy of the Arts Elementary Magnet School. Sue Files sits on a colorful carpet with her new kindergarten students - a couple who know just a little bit of English, some who didn't go to preschool, some who are already reading, some who are still working on their letters and numbers.
This year marks the fifth anniversary of Yale's Pathways to Science, free on-campus STEM enrichment programming for local middle and high school students hosted by Yale faculty members. "When we were beginning to form Pathways, it was like a thousand flowers, but no garden," Merson said.
The gap between the proficiency levels of black children and white children in Alabama's public schools is wide, stubborn, and pervasive. The causes for that gap are many, and the impact of that gap is long-lasting. But AL.com, after analyzing achievement gaps between black and white students, found a whole group of schools where proficiency for students is high and the gap is minimal. Those schools, by and large, are Alabama's magnet schools.
One year ago the New Century Technology High School faculty embarked on a journey of reflection, improvement and growth. After an intense application process, New Century has been named as one of only 55 nationally certified magnet schools by Magnet Schools of America. They are also the only school in Alabama to earn this distinction.
Christie Cantalupo, a fifth-grade teacher at Six to Six Magnet School in Bridgeport, is Cooperative Educational Services' Teacher of the Year for 2017. Ms. Cantalupo is now eligible for the 2018 Connecticut Teacher of the Year Award, which will be announced in November.
"As an environmental educator, I value the principles that PLT is founded on," Umberger said. "Not only has this curriculum provided me with a wealth of experience that I can provide for students and teachers that I work with, but it also has helped form my own beliefs of how humans impact this planet."
"When New World School of the Arts opened 30 years ago it was a pioneer of the magnet school model. Its founders wanted to eliminate the normal neighborhood borders and provide students from across a wide geographical area equitable access to specialized and focused training," explained Dr. Jeffrey Hodgson, Provost and CEO of New World School of the Arts.
About a third of Duval County students who take advantage of school choice are enrolled in magnet schools, which revolve around a theme, such as fine arts or engineering. Trey Csar's son just started his first day of first grade at a dual-language magnet school, where he learns in both English and Spanish.
Whereas most of the energy in the school choice debates has focused on vouchers and charter schools, relatively little attention has been paid to another important choice model that serves as many students as charters and has been in existence for longer-magnet schools.
For students on coach Rachel Kuntz's Lego Leaders team, building is just the start of the challenge. At a typical session, students rapidly tap commands into a pad on the back of a robot built of Legos, then watch hopefully as it rolls into a maze of strange constructions and rolls back after completing a task.
Raise the level of performance consistent throughout school districts nationwide and creates a platform from which all magnet schools can flourish. Magnet Schools of America’s national certification process is designed to recognize the hard work of the best magnet schools in the nation and to help them as they grow.