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Magnet Schools

Magnet Schools

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Magnet schools are an excellent option for anyone interested in a diverse, high-quality public school education. If magnet schools seem like the right choice for you, research options in your area and visit in person if possible to see the school firsthand.

What is a Magnet School?

As a parent, you have many school options to explore for your child: public, private, charter, magnet, and more! Sometimes, it is hard to know what they all are or how they differ. Deciding what the best option for your child is can be challenging.

Magnet schools are often one of the less understood options. While most people have heard about magnet schools, they don’t always really understand their purpose. What exactly are they? A magnet school is basically a public school that provides a specific academic focus alongside the standard public school curriculum. Magnet schools fall within the public school system and are held to the same standards as a traditional school. These schools are open to all the students within the school district or a specified metro area. However, they may require a special enrollment or “choice” process.


The concept of magnet schools originated in the 1960s. The aim was to achieve racial desegregation of schools. To draw students from various school districts, magnet schools offered alternative education specializing in specific areas of interest. These schools created a community of students bound together by shared educational goals.

However, in recent years, the aim of magnet schools has changed. Now, magnet schools focus on achieving excellence in academics and providing opportunities for success to their students. They often focus on special “ideas and interests” such as Theater, Stem, Gifted, Culinary Arts, and more. International Baccalaureate schools are a form of “magnet school.” Some Vocational schools are also Magnet schools. The offerings vary from school district to school district and should be available on your local school district website.

Features of Magnet Schools

Parents and students are drawn to magnet schools due to their unique functioning principles. These special features of magnet schools are:

Diversity – Through innovative marketing and recruitment strategies and a balanced selection process, magnet schools try to ensure students’ enrollment to all social groups. These schools reflect the diversity of our society. Magnet schools create a positive educational environment that promotes empathy, respect, and inclusion of all cultures.

Innovative Curriculum – The curriculum of magnet schools is developed with rigorous standards, and it seeks to prepare students for higher education. The curriculum goes beyond standard education and includes topics that students are interested to learn. Such an innovative curriculum aims to ensure that students get instructions that will help them have successful careers.

●  Academic Excellence – Magnet schools, use several assessment strategies to monitor students’ learning, progress, and success. Personalized support is provided to students in all areas of interest. In addition to that, a mix of middle-class and low-income students encourages them to dream big and be more engaged in school. Students know what is expected of them, and they work towards achieving their goals.

Community Partnerships – Partnerships with parents are essential for a rich educational experience for students. Magnet schools make an effort to develop such community partnerships mutually beneficial and create a great support system. Community partnerships include a diverse array of stakeholders, including business, health and human services, and policymakers to support all students’ education. This community focus leads to a sense of ownership among all participants.

Free Tuition – As clarified earlier, magnet schools fall within the public school system. The major reason families want to be a part of these schools is because they are free.

Benefits for Teachers

Magnet schools not only offer unique benefits to parents, but they are also lucrative for teachers. These schools’ specialized programs require additional funding from various sources such as local, state, and federal grants and donations. As a result, teachers in magnet schools may enjoy the following benefits:

● Due to greater funding, teachers typically have higher salaries as compared to traditional schools.

● Classrooms are better equipped with supplies like books and other resources. This makes both teaching and learning easier.

● The hiring process for teachers is not based on seniority but rather on suitability for a particular school.

● Magnet schools generally have smaller classes to ensure quality education. This allows teachers to focus on the individual needs of the students.

● Due to special interests, teachers get to share their own experiences and passions with students.

Should you Choose a Magnet School?

Sending your child to a magnet school is a personal choice. Magnet schools can be beneficial for you if:

● You want your child to learn through a different curriculum than traditional schools.

● You are fine with sending your child to a school outside your normal school zone.

● You want your child to study in a racially and ethnically diverse environment.

● You want your kid to focus more on academic progress or a special area of study.

How to Get Into a Magnet School?

Admission criteria can be different for various magnet schools. Generally, the admissions are based on any of the following methods:

● Draw of lotteries

● Scores in a standardized test

● First, come and first serve basis.

● The percentage set aside for specific neighborhoods

Magnet schools are an excellent option for anyone interested in a diverse, high-quality public school education. If magnet schools seem like the right choice for you, research options in your area and visit in person if possible to see the school firsthand.


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