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Magnet Program Overview

There are four thematic magnet schools which currently receive funds from the United States Department of Education under the Magnet School Assistance Program and illustrate the power of a thematic focus to engage families, students, and teachers through collaboration with community and by enhancing real-world experiences. A magnet school offers a special, enriched curriculum capable of attracting students from across the county. The four thematic PUSD magnet schools are:

  • ELIOT ARTS MAGNET

  • JACKSON STEM DUAL LANGUAGE MAGNET ACADEMY

  • WASHINGTON ELEMENTARY STEM MAGNET

  • WASHINGTON STEAM MAGNET ACADEMY

National studies show that when a student chooses his/her school because of its magnet theme, the student’s commitment initiates a higher level of achievement. Our thematic magnet schools add value to the core curriculum by providing context and engaging students in the theme of the school. Students are exposed to interdisciplinary units in which Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies are approached through the theme in an authentic and personalized hands-on setting. Each of the magnet schools emphasizes project and inquiry based learning in order to develop real-world and higher order thinking skills in a cooperative learning environment. 

A magnet student will learn different ways to solve the problems we face in our work and lives. Magnet students will partner with the top scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and researchers in our region and will utilize the most current technologies. 

Most employers seek people like the students we are training at the magnet schools; to be able to think in unconventional ways about solving problems that we face in our work and lives. The skills we teach will enable students to be successful in a number of different careers. Students will be able to see and understand the synergy of all the subjects in working with others to solve problems. A multitude of community partnerships further enhances real-world application. 

Researched benefits of a Magnet School:

  • Magnet schools are more effective at raising reading and social studies achievement than regular public schools, Catholic or secular private schools.

  • Peer support for academic achievement was stronger in magnets than in non-magnet city schools. *

  • Twelfth-grade magnet city students perceived more encouragement and support for college attainment than 12th grade city students in non-magnets.

  • Magnet students were less likely to be absent or skip classes than non-magnet city students.

  • Magnet school students expressed stronger future multicultural interests and were significantly more likely than students in the suburban non-magnet schools to report that their school experience helped them understand people from other groups.

Sources: * Adam Gamoran of the University of Wiscousin at Madison Evaluation of Conneticut's Interdistrict's Magnet Schools, The Center for Education Policy Analysis