Magnet schools first emerged back in the civil rights movement as a desegregation tool and to this day, have continued to build their reputations as innovative, visionary, public-choice schools open to all students, regardless of their zip code. Today there are more than 4,000 magnet schools throughout the nation, educating over 3.5 million students.
You may be thinking, what makes a magnet school so special? The best magnet schools all share several important traits. They focus on academic excellence and often exceed academic requirements put forth by their state or school district. They attract a diverse student body, allowing students to interact with their peers from many different backgrounds. They follow a theme-based curriculum, they provide hands-on and innovative learning environments, and they are closely connected to the community and families of their students.
Focus on Academic Excellence:
Upholding a dedicated set of magnet standards, the best magnet schools often exceed the standards put forth by the state. Goodwin College is home to two magnet schools, the Connecticut River Academy, an early college high school, and Riverside Magnet School, a Reggio-inspired elementary magnet school. Both schools pride themselves on academic excellence and are considered some of the best magnet schools in the state. Due to their exceptional performance, like some of the other best magnet schools, there is high demand for spots at these schools and student acceptance is determined by a lottery system.
Diverse Student Body:
One of the most unique traits of magnet schools is the diverse student population they offer. In fact, the best magnet schools in Connecticut all have diverse student populations from many zip codes, which encourages empathy and inclusion in the school setting. In addition to the regional differences, magnet schools also attract children of various academic achievement levels, race, and socio-economic backgrounds.
Community and Family Involvement:
The best magnet schools understand that their school is more than just a school, but rather a part of the larger community. Furthermore, the best magnet schools provide their community of parents and families with several opportunities to stay engaged with their children’s learning. Parental involvement at a place like Riverside Magnet School for example, is not only allowed, but encouraged. Families of Riverside Magnet School students have the opportunity to join the Riverside Community Council (RCC), which is a parent and teacher organization that meets often to serve as a forum for families, teachers, administrators and staff to share suggestions and ideas, and to help facilitate positive learning and better the school community. Riverside Magnet also hosts parent workshops to talk and learn about early childhood education, and to meet with other students’ families.
Some of the best magnet schools have adopted specific theme-based curriculums such as Fine and Performing Arts, International Studies and Language Learning and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). Research around magnet schools’ theme-based methodology has shown that a thematic education is linked to heightened levels of learning in children, according to Why Theme-based Curricula Work. Therefore, a theme-based education encourages optimized learning and can have a huge impact on both children and teens’ education.
Innovative Learning Environments:
In order for children to learn to the best of their ability, they need a facilitative environment. The best magnet schools have created state-of-the-art classrooms geared up with many resources for not only the students, but also the teachers. Both the Connecticut River Academy and Riverside Magnet School provide those innovative learning environments. They have a small teacher-to-student ratio allowing for students to receive the proper amount of attention and support. At Riverside Magnet School, students benefit from a Reggio-inspired classroom environment, with access to many creative and educational materials. Because Connecticut River Academy is a manufacturing, science, and technology-based high school, students have access to a variety of learning equipment, including: 3-D printers, robotics, a river research vessel, and science laboratories.
Still have more questions about what the best magnet schools have in common? Contact us today to find out what else you can expect from some of the best magnet schools in Connecticut.