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Magnet School Community Conversations

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) Its a unique way to structure a school, especially in the Midwest, but studies show that students who go to Magnet schools actually do better across the board than in conventional public and private schools. The idea now is to create a city-wide dialogue and figure out if its a step worth taking.

"Our primary reason is we want to give parents and children in our community as much choice as we can, said Cedar Rapids Community School District Associate Superintendent Trace Pickering.

Instead of making students sit through curriculums that dont harness their attention, Magnet schools allow them to do more of what they enjoy.

"I think it would be a great thing for kids to be exposed to and help them maybe make a decision on which career they want to pick in the future, said Cedar Rapids resident Myron Rupp.

Pickering says when students are passionate about a subject, they are more likely to invest the time to work through what they dont understand. That mentality rubs off on other subjects as well.

"We can use that passion to help drive student learning in the more traditional subjects: literacy, science, math and so forth, said Pickering.

That kind of system doesnt exist right now, but one local school has something close.

Johnson Elementary School of the Arts has extra classes and extra school programs for kids who want to get involved in things like music and art, but it sometimes requires the extra burden of staying after the day is over. A Magnet school would work those activities into the regular school day.

"It helps level the playing field. We have wonderful afterschool programs that are fantastic but lots of students have trouble accessing them due to lots of other factors, said Pickering.

Since its part of the Cedar Rapids School District, it all comes with no extra steps and no tuition.

"I think that's the benefit of the Magnet school is you can offer parents choice inside the public school and give everybody access to it, said Pickering.

Now, the district is just trying to gather feedback. There are six Community Conversations scheduled:

Tuesday, October 26th, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Kirkwood Regional Center-Linn County

Monday November 4th, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Educational Leadership and Support Center, CR Schools

Thursday, November 14th, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
IBEW 405 Hall

Wednesday, November 20th, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Johnson Elementary School for the Arts

Monday, December 2nd, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Cedar Rapids Public Library

Wednesday, December 11th, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Washington High School

Or click here to post your thoughts on the districts online forum.

 
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