High School Magnet Program Essay

History of Magnets

The 1960’s served as a wellspring of great change – politically and societally. Along with that change was the movement to desegregate school systems and offer equal opportunities and access to superior education to students of every socio-economic level.

But, as Dr. Donald Waldrip describes in his article on the history of magnet schools, the very first “super” high school came about in Dallas, Texas in 1971.

“Designed around the concept of career strands, skyline High School attracted students of all kinds – rich, poor, Hispanic, African American, Asian, White – from all over the city. It even offered adult classes in the evenings. In fact the school rarely closed its doors. Some students came for a full-day program; others came for part-time; still others came after school.”

Waldrip explains that around the same time in Houston, Texas, when describing the effect of its Performing and Visual Arts School, “said that it worked like a “magnet” in attracting students.”

By 1975, the term “magnet” had caught on so well that in just four short years, that the federal government, contemplating fiscal assistance, was using the term.

Waldrip, whose full article is linked here with many more specifics acknowledges that while magnet schools are still used to improve diversity and reduce segregation, they have rapidly become superior options within the public sector for all students, even in districts of primarily one race.


The history of magnet schools, their popularity and dispersion, is directly tied to the early protests of the 1960’s addressing educational inequity and amplifying the need for educational reform by way of public school “choice.”

Historical Highlights

  • 1954, Brown vs. Board of Education made explicit the goal of reducing school segregation while providing high-quality education programs to all students.
  • 1968, in Tacoma, Washington, the first school designed to reduce racial isolation by offering school choice opened.
  • 1974, research was released by Mario Fantini that showed all students do not learn the same way. A unifying theme or a different organizational structure for students of similar interests improved learning in all areas.
  • 1985, Federal Magnet Schools Assistance Program was authorized, providing grants to magnet schools.
  • 2016, magnet schools number 4340 in 46 states.


Today
, these schools have emerged as educational beacons in communities, incorporating themed curricula, hands-on, experiential learning, a diverse tapestry of students and academic requirements that often exceed those of the school district or state.

Important Dates

  • JCPS Showcase of Schools at Kentucky Fair and Expo Center
    Saturday, October 28, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Farnsley MST Open House
    Thursday, Nov. 2, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
  • JCPS Application Deadline
    Friday, December 15, 2017
  • Magnet Admissions Survey Completion Deadline
    Friday, December 15, 2017

MST Magnet Program Application Process


Mandatory JCPS Online Registration

The JCPS application must be completed before submitting the Farnsley Math Science Technology (MST) Application.

*Please remember to check the box allowing JCPS to send student information to schools.


Admissions Criteria

Incoming sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students excelling in math, science, and technology are eligible to apply to the Middle School MST Magnet Program. Students in the MST Program take intensive, accelerated classes in the areas of math and science, and enhanced classes in language arts and social studies. Concepts and skills are refined in these areas and applied to individual research projects. Technology is a component of curriculum that is infused into all academic areas.

The Farnsley Admission Committee will review the following criteria for acceptance:

  1. Academic/Behavior Record—Grade point average of 3.2 or higher as well as above-average behavior over the past two years
  2. Standardized Test Results—Above-average test scores on the KPREP during the last two years. Test scores for non-Kentucky or private schools can include the California Test of Basic Skills, Terra Nova, Stanford Test of Academic Skills, etc.
  3. Magnet Admissions Survey—Must demonstrate a commitment in an extracurricular or community activity.
  4. Short-Answer Writing Prompts—Proficient or above-quality. Included in the Magnet Admissions Survey.
  5. Attendance Record—An attendance record of 96% or higher over the past two years.

Admissions Process

Step One

Before submitting application materials to Farnsley, parents/guardians must complete the online JCPS school choice component of the process. To do so, click here to go to the JCPS Registration and Application web page.

Once the application has been processed, the first choice school is notified of the application. The deadline to complete this step is Friday, December 15, 2017. Move to Step Two.

Step Two

Submit a Magnet Admissions Survey to Farnsley. This list of extracurricular and service activities and two writing prompts can be completed and submitted electronically via this link. The deadline to complete this step is Friday, December 15, 2017 by 4 p.m.

Step Three

Obtaining Transcripts

  • If your child is currently a JCPS student, only Steps One and Two above are necessary. We will receive all data points electronically.
  • If your child is not currently a JCPS student, please submit an application packet (in addition to the online Magnet Admissions Survey) to the Farnsley office no later than Friday, December 15, 2017 by 4 p.m. The packet should include the following:
    • report cards for the two prior school years plus the current school year’s first semester grades
    • standardized test results for the prior two school years
    • attendance record for the prior two school years as well as the current school year

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