School Choice –> Interdistrict –> MAGNET SCHOOLS

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Magnet Schools1

Magnet Schools are another approach within the inter-district path. However, Magnet schools are different from Charter Schools, “in that they remain part of the public school system bureaucratically. Charter Schools have a different organizational model (i.e. they have a charter that releases them from the regular school administration). Magnet schools operate under the same public school administration (they don’t operate on their own).” 2

The hope of Magnet Schools is to attract students from all over to create diverse learning spaces. Accord to Magnet Schools of America, the mission of these schools is to, “provide leadership for innovative instructional programs that promote equity, diversity, and academic excellence for all students in public school choice programs.”  Often Magnet Schools pride themselves on smaller class size and thematic curriculums.
Hartford has two types of Magnet Schools: Host and CREC. Host Magnet Schools are run by the Hartford Public School System and CREC, the Capitol Region Education Council.
Regardless of which type of Magnet School, there is an application process beginning in mid-October. Before applying, it is important for a parent to explore the different magnet schools3 because many of them have focused “themes.” Any resident of Connecticut can apply to a Magnet School. All families apply by filling out a Regional School Choice Office (RSCO) common application and will rank their top five school choices. Then through a lottery system and taking into consideration Sheff school integration requirements, students are placed in schools. In addition, “The selection is based on 50% Hartford enrollment and 50% Greater Hartford (suburban) enrollment”4 Research5 on these Magnet Schools has shown great benefits for students from Hartford and the suburbs.

  1. “Magnet Education of Greater Hartford”, 2011,
  2. “Magnet Education of Greater Hartford”, 2011,
  3. “Magnet Education of Greater Hartford, 2011,
  4. “Magnet Education of Greater Hartford”, 2011,
  5. Robert Frahm, “$2 billion later, do magnet schools help kids learn?,” The CT Mirror (Connecticut, January 25, 2010),$2%20billion%20later,%20do%20magnet%20schools%20help%20kids%20learn_.pdf.