Elementary Magnet Program: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the Elementary Magnet Program?
The purpose of the Elementary Magnet Program is to provide a challenging educational experience for academically gifted students who are performing at advanced levels in language arts and mathematics.  The Elementary Magnet Program strives to meet these students’ specific learning styles and accelerated academic needs.

What curriculum can I expect my child to follow at the magnet school?
There is no separate curriculum for the magnet program.  Your child will follow the essential curriculum of FCPS, with an emphasis on strategic acceleration, enrichment, and extension based on students’ abilities and interests.

What kinds of instructional activities might my child pursue?
Your child will be exposed to a variety of instructional activities that promote deep understanding of content.  Hands on exploratory activities foster learning through personal discovery.  Problem solving activities in various content areas increase students’ abilities to think critically, logically and creatively.  Completion of projects will require research and application of knowledge across several disciplines.

How many students will be in my child’s magnet class?
Average class size ranges anywhere from 24-32, depending on how many students are accepted and ultimately enroll in the magnet program at your child’s school.

What might cause my child to be in a multi-grade (split) class?
As experienced in elementary schools throughout the county, your child might be in a class containing two different grade levels of students, depending on enrollment at each grade level.

How might my child’s homework differ from students not attending the magnet school?
You should expect your child’s homework to be different from that of students attending other elementary programs.  Advanced analytical thinking, creative problem solving, research skills and time management might be needed for magnet students to complete homework.

Might my child work in different groups or change teachers during the school day?
Teachers are expected to continuously monitor the progress of individual students and groups, adjusting the grouping structure as needed to enhance student performance.
Grouping structures available for use in elementary classrooms include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Total class
  • Instructional level grouping (language arts and mathematics)
  • Regrouping within level
  • Small group
  • Individual

Some of these grouping structures may cause students to have multiple teachers throughout the school day.

How will my child be transported to the magnet school?
Student transportation options are available:  transport by parent, carpooling, county shuttle bus system.  A carpooling list is made available to parents indicating an interest in such an arrangement.  Students utilizing the county bus system may be transported by a middle or high school bus to a shuttle site where the student boards a bus to the magnet program site.

How does the schedule at the magnet school differ from that at other elementary schools?
In order to transport students from all areas of the county to the designated magnet sites, it is necessary for the magnet schools to have a shorter day than other elementary schools.  Magnet students receive instruction daily from 8:25 or 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.  Specific arrival and dismissal patterns vary because of students riding secondary buses to and from magnet shuttle sites.

Should I expect my child to participate in activities with non-magnet peers during the school day?
Typical times for students to integrate with non-magnet peers are:  lunch, recess, grade level activities, and cultural arts.  Other opportunities for integration may be available based on the school schedule.

What other things should I consider in deciding if my child should attend the magnet school?
You should consider your child’s level of self-motivation, ability to work independently and social-emotional development, including the ability to adjust to a new school setting.  An additional adjustment would be needed as all magnet students transition to their neighborhood middle school at the conclusion of the magnet school experience.  Attendance in the magnet program is not an approved reason for out of district request.

If my child has previously been screened for the Elementary Magnet Program and not offered placement, can I nominate my child again?
Students who have been screened for the magnet program twice and not offered placement must have the principal’s approval to be screened again.

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