The application period has began for the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) popular magnet schools and centers, which next fall will add nearly a dozen new options for families seeking a specialized education.
Applications will be accepted online and by mail until 5 p.m., Nov. 10, for one of the 225 district-themed magnets, which will have an estimated 87,000 available seats for the 2017-18 school year.
There are two new Valley area schools that will be accepting applications for the 2017-18 academic year — Hale Charter Academy, a middle school in Woodland Hills, and Mount Gleason Middle School in Sunland.
“This year marks the 40th anniversary of our magnet programs, which offer innovative, high-quality instruction to all students,” said Superintendent Michelle King. “I encourage our families to learn more about our robust magnet programs. We are proud of the work our schools are doing to bring these exciting opportunities to students across the entire district.”
Magnets were created in 1976, when LAUSD complied with court-ordered desegregation by creating a voluntary busing program that uses special academic programs to draw students to schools outside of their neighborhoods. The district now provides transportation to elementary students who live outside a two-mile radius and secondary students who live farther than five miles from the magnet.
Some magnets operate as a self-contained school, while others may share a campus with a traditional school or other magnet programs.
Magnet students are chosen through a complex lottery system, which assigns them points based on the demographics of their home school and other factors. Despite the core goal of integration, the academic innovation and success of magnets have made them popular among parents and students seeking a nontraditional education.
Programs known as STEM or STEAM — science, technology, engineering, arts and math — are also becoming increasingly popular. Eight of the 11 new programs for next fall are designated as STEAM programs, while Angeles Mesa Elementary School created a variation of the STEAM theme dubbed DREAMS – design, research, engineering, arts, math and science.
“Schools apply to be magnets, and they base their theme on the demand of their students and families,” said Keith Abrahams, executive director of Student Integrated Services, which falls under the Division of Instruction. “Because the number of STEM and STEAM-related careers has increased drastically over the years, we are trying hard to create K-12 pathways so that students can pursue their passion and their dreams.”
Some of the Valley area schools accepting applications that are charter or have magnet programs include Chavez LA ArTES, Frost Middle School, Haskell Elementary School, Pacoima Middle School, San Fernando High School, Sun Valley Middle School, and Vena Elementary School.
The magnet brochure and application are available at echoices.lausd.net; at district schools, Local Districts and the Parent, Community and Student Services Branch office; and at public libraries. A complete list of magnet programs is also available on echoices.laud.net.
Local Districts are also hosting magnet fairs this month, where families can obtain more information about the magnet options.