Searching for the right elementary school for your child can be a challenging experience. Matching a school’s mission with your family’s ethos can be at the forefront of your mind, while at the same time, you’re also considering academics, creativity in the classroom, and the parent-teacher relationship. Ultimately, you just want to give your little one the best jump-start possible.
Riverside Magnet School (RMS) is chosen by many families each year because of its specific mission and values. Inspired by diversity, community, and teaching to the inclusive and explorative Reggio Emilia approach, RMS celebrates the process of individualized learning.
When faced with selecting a route for your child – public versus private, magnet or charter school – there are many considerations to take into account. You may have heard good feedback from other parents about the benefits of magnet schools. However, you might not know exactly what makes a magnet elementary school stand out. A magnet school is unlike a charter or private school in that it is still part of the local public school system. Magnet schools, however, are also different from public schools in that students are not automatically “zoned” into the schools closest to the location in which they live. Additionally, magnet schools typically promote a theme or special curricular focus. And, different from public schools, families enroll in magnet schools by choice.
There are many benefits of magnet schools that you may not know about as a parent. Here are four reasons why choosing a magnet school may be the best path for your child:
- Magnet elementary schools offer a flexible, innovative curriculum
Magnet schools possess the flexibility to promote an innovative curriculum and allow parents to make a choice when considering public education for their child. Because magnet schools receive additional federal funding in the form of special U.S. Department of Education grants, they are able to allot money differently towards their students, supplies, teachers, and to special education programs.
Many parents enroll their children in magnet schools because they believe in a theme-based curriculum. A particular specialty offers students the opportunity to ignite their passion – whether the school be focused towards science and technology, literary and language arts, or directed towards the visual arts and music – just to name a few. For example, at Riverside Magnet School, that focus is Reggio Emilia. Children practice active citizenship and direct engagement with activity planning. By allowing children and families to guide the learning process, RMS students become more engaged, empowered, and develop a personal sense of responsibility. At our Reggio magnet school, we believe having the ability to select a learning method that resonates with you, and with your child, is most powerful.
- Magnet schools encourage diversity
Encouraging diversity has historically been, and continues to be, a key goal for magnet schools. Developed first in the late 1960s/early 1970s with the goal of accomplishing desegregation in schools, magnet schools employed the first use of “busing” children across town. Eventually, magnet schools became models of integrated classrooms. Students were, and still are, shuttled from economically diverse neighborhoods, and come from varying racial and ethnic backgrounds to attend magnet schools. By upholding a community of diversity, children become aware of respect, empathy, and practice collaboration. Diversity is built into RMS’s core values and is celebrated among the family population.
- Magnet elementary schools encourage family and community involvement
Parental and community involvement is at the center of a magnet school education, which has big pay-offs for children. Parents take the first step of encouraging educational agency in their children, by selecting a public education that is right for them. As a result of the diverse teaching methodologies employed in magnet schools, students’ diverse learning needs are better met, and attendance and graduation rates improve. Students, teachers, and parents alike are more engaged in the educational community of magnet school programs. Especially at Riverside Magnet and within the Reggio Emilia technique, parents are seen as essential to the achievement of the classroom. We aim to create a participatory environment where families feel supported and valued on a daily basis. Additionally, RMS hosts a variety of family events throughout the year to further engage little ones and adults alike, and to foster positive relationships.
- Magnet schools promote academic success
Students at magnet schools rise to a high level of academic excellence. In a study published in Educational Leadership magazine, Adam Gamoran found that magnet school students score higher on science, reading, and social studies tests than do students in non-specialized public schools. Studies also indicate that students enrolled in magnet schools not only maintain or increase in core area achievement, but that they benefit from specialized course offerings. The foundations for high-achieving scholars are set at the elementary level. With a focus on child-led exploration at Riverside Magnet School, those seeds of curiosity are sowed for a future of learning in core subjects and more.
The benefits of magnet schools – even at an elementary age – are undeniable. Each can play a part in enhancing your child’s learning experience, development, and future.