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Magnet HISDFinalReport1.6.11

Magnet HISDFinalReport1.6.11

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Published by Houston Chronicle

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Published by: Houston Chronicle on Jan 07, 2011
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01/31/2011

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 HISD Comprehensive Magnet Program Review
Final Report January 6, 2011
Respectfully
 
Submitted,
 
Magnet
 
Schools
 
of 
 
America,
 
Inc.
 
Dr.
 
Robert
 
Brooks,
 
Executive
 
Director
 
Doreen
 
Marvin,
 
Project
 
Site
 
Manager
 
 
1
 
INTRODUCTION:
Magnet Schools of America (MSA) prepared a Request for Proposal on August 12, 2010to complete a Comprehensive Review of the Magnet Program System for the HoustonIndependent School District (HISD). A contract was awarded to Magnet Schools of America(MSA) on October 7, 2010. Notification of MSA’s successful bid occurred in early Septemberand discussions were held with the Assistant Superintendent for the Office of School Choice andMSA’s Executive Director regarding process, Phase I and Phase II requirements, reportingtimelines, and dates for document reviews, community forums, and Magnet school site visits. Aproject site manager and twelve MSA expert consultants in Magnet school education,administration, curriculum and instruction, evaluation, teaching and learning, budget, and highereducation were hired on contract by MSA to participate in the review. Each consultant was“vetted” and prepared by MSA prior to the onsite reviews and again once onsite. During theschool-site visits, de-briefing meetings occurred each evening by the project manager. This finalreport and its findings and recommendations, submitted on January 6, 2011 (original due dateDecember 17, 2010, but pushed ahead to provide for new and emerging data from HISD relatedto budgets, school configurations, and school building capacities) reflects Phase I(comprehensive document reviews) including the Peer Committee Report of 2006, and a reviewof the Public Vision of Magnet Programs (community forums and online survey). Therequirement for Phase II included a complete review of each Magnet school and site visit to 113Magnet school campuses. During Phase I and II, interim reports were submitted bi-weekly fromOctober 15, 2010, and posted on the HISD website.
 
 
2
 
OVERVIEW OF MAGNET SCHOOLSWhat are Magnet Schools?
 Magnet schools are elem
 
entary and secondary theme-based public schools of choice.Magnet schools plan and develop programs using local, state, and federal funds, specifically thefederal Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP). Other federal grants associated withMagnet Schools are Title I, Voluntary Public School Choice, Advanced Placement, and SmallerLearning Community grants. MSAP supports LEAs to develop new and/or to significantlyrevise existing Magnet schools. The goal is to provide students with a valuable educational andpersonal experience, prepare them to function in a diverse society, and assist districts toeliminate, reduce or prevent long-standing patterns of racial isolation. Magnet schools serve asmodels for school improvement and “turnaround schools” for students in low-performingschools, and provide students an opportunity to succeed academically while learning in a raciallydiverse environment.
What are the Benefits of Magnet Schools?
 Research has shown specific benefits
 
in Magnet schools which include improvedacademic achievement; diverse student enrollments; innovative curriculum; specialized teachingstaff; higher attendance and graduation rates; and lower drop-out rates. Magnet schools boastmore parental and community involvement, more personalization through theme-basededucation, and specialized programs, providing a sense of a safer environment for learning.Teachers are “highly qualified” through specific theme-based training and professionaldevelopment.

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