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Story Archives: Magnet school plan sent to Department of Justice
|Magnet school plan sent to Department of Justice|
The Concordia Parish School Board reviewed its 2011 audit and agreed to submit its proposal for a magnet school at Ridgecrest to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
That action came during the board's regular meeting Thursday night.
The board voted unanimously to submit its proposal for a magnet program to DOJ.
Superintendent Loretta Blankenstein said if the plan receives DOJ approval that it will be brought before the board for further action.
"If we are approved and the board wants to move forward then our plan is to try to open the magnet school for the next school year," Blankenstein said. She said teachers will have to be hired, student applications reviewed and a host of other procedures completed.
"We remind everyone that there is a difference between a magnet school and a charter school," she said. "The two are different."
Director of Academic Affairs Paul Nelson described a magnet school as "a special school which generally offers a specialized instructional program that is not available at traditional schools and one that generally draws students from throughout a school district."
He said the local magnet plan is designed to "draw students from throughout the parish and will specialize in math, science, and technology."
Nelson said students "will receive computer tablets which will house their textbooks in a digital format. We will also have a one-to-one initiative for 4th and 5th grade students who will be assigned a computer tablet device to take back and forth to school each day. The students will simply carry these around as most adults do now with cell phones. We will also be partnering with Discovery Education for our instructional program in science."
He said a lottery system will determine which students will be chosen for the program.
"These students will simply need to prove that they live in Concordia Parish as there are no other entrance requirements," he said. "This means that students who currently attend schools outside the parish, but live in Concordia Parish may participate in the lottery and win a seat in the program."
He said the plan is to have a 50/50 racial enrollment.
"Students will have certain attendance, behavior, and GPA requirements to stay in the program once there, but there are none for entrance," he said.
Nelson said Ridgecrest was chosen because it is centrally located, which will help facilitate transportation from throughout the parish. Additionally, he said the school has the lowest enrollment. meaning that fewer students would be disrupted if a conversion to a magnet school occurs.
"The size of the RES facility meshes well with our desired number of program participants as we plan to have 20 students per grade level," he said. "The program will grow each year as the students move up and the RES facility can easily handle the magnet program K-8. Once we get to the point where we will need the high school grades a decision will have to be made about a possible future location."
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