What is a magnet program? The magnet program model features classes for academically gifted students with instruction focused at one to two levels above the students' current grade levels. Students who are admitted to a WCPS Magnet Program are required to complete summer learning assignments as part of their enrollment and continuation in the program.
How do I get my child into a magnet program? Students must be invited to apply to WCPS Magnet Programs. Please see the response to the next question for more information.
When are students eligible to apply for magnet programs and how does the process work? At the elementary grades one and five, students are invited to apply to magnet programs, based on a screening and/or referral process. If openings exist in elementary magnet programs for grades 3, 4, and 5, the top-performing students currently enrolled in an elementary school-based GATE program may be nominated to apply for magnet openings. If openings exist in middle school magnet programs for grades 7 and 8, the top-performing students may be nominated to apply by the Lead Teacher(s). Placements in magnet programs are never guaranteed to any student.
Selection for these highly-competitive programs at the elementary and middle school levels is based upon a comprehensive review of multiple sources of information, including academic performance, a student interview and task, teacher observation, parent questionnaire, county standards-based testing, and both norm and criterion-referenced assessments (national and state). The application process for magnet programs begins early in the school year for magnet placement the following year. Interested parents and students should click here for more information about the process.
Processes for placement into high school magnet programs are competitive but unique to those programs at those schools. The links for high school magnet programs below provide more information.
What does a magnet program cost? Is transportation provided? No costs are associated with WCPS magnet programs; however, parents/guardians may need to provide transportation for elementary and middle school students living outside the magnet school attendance area. At present, transportation is provided through a hub to high school students enrolled in academy, specialized, and magnet programs.
What does it mean to be identified for gifted and talented programs? Parents are encouraged to review additional readings on the differences between highly-able and gifted learners, as well as the characteristics of gifted students and the different types of giftedness. Parents may view more information below, the Quick Link at the left. Parents are also encouraged to read more about gifted and talented education in WCPS by reading through the home page for advanced programs.
Where are these magnet programs located? WCPS Elementary Magnet Programs, located at four elementary schools, offer highly challenging and fast-paced curricula on a full-time basis for advanced learners in grades 2-5. Each magnet program features a specialized theme which offers opportunities for in-depth study, projects, and enriching activities that can benefit all students at the school. WCPS elementary schools that offer magnet classes include the following schools:
WCPS Middle School Magnet Programs with specialized themes are offered at three middle schools. Magnet students take at least two magnet advanced-level classes in which the instruction is infused with the school’s particular theme. A magnet student may also have Merit classes on his/her daily schedule. The middle school magnet programs are strategically positioned to serve incoming sixth, seventh, and eighth graders from across the county and build on highly successful elementary magnet themes. They include the following schools:
WCPS High School Magnet Programs are available at two county high schools. Interested students apply during the eighth grade and take all their classes, even those that are not part of the magnet program, at the magnet high school during grades 9 through 12. These programs are located at the following schools: