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HISD Magnet Policy -- Draft

HISD Magnet Policy -- Draft

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Published by enm077486
Nov. 3, 2011
Nov. 3, 2011

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Published by: enm077486 on Nov 03, 2011
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Houston ISD101912CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENTEGAINNOVATIVE AND MAGNET PROGRAMS(LOCAL)The Houston Independent School DIstrict will provide innovativeand engaging programs to attract, retain and empower students ina rich academic environment. Directly aligned with the Board’sBeliefs and Visions, HISD’s magnet schools embody the mandatesfor change on school choice, decentralization, schoolempowerment, and meaningful engagement.The District’s magnet program was created in response to a courtorder to desegregate in 1975. In 1980, HISD was declared aunitary school district by the state of Texas in large part because of HISD’s extensive magnet program. In 2004, HISD magnets wererecognized by the US Department of Education as going “BeyondDesegregation.” While student diversity remains a core belief andis desirable and sought, the District must also offer “qualityprograms that will engage students in the learning process leadingto higher achievement.” The magnet program in the HoustonIndependent School District (HISD) offers students a portfolio of K-12 engaging, academically rigorous and theme-based choices. Theprogram seeks to recruit and draw a socio-economically andethnically diverse student body from throughout the district with theultimate goal of the HISD student population reflecting the diversityof the greater Houston metropolitan community.A magnet school provides unique programming through its learningenvironment and culture, specialized principal, teacher and supportstaff training, appropriate resources and materials, and currenttechnology. Strong community and business partnerships supportvarious magnet themes and philosophies. HISD’s magnet programshould provide a structure for students to take charge of their educational experience; it should promote diversity and foster learning across disciplinary boundaries, and it should generatecollaboration between HISD and the greater Houston community.In addition, magnet programs exist as a supplement to high qualityneighborhood schools, with the ultimate goal of every HISD schoolbeing a school of choice.Glossary of Terms provided at the end of the policy.Each magnet program will maintain the following characteristics tobe evaluated on an ongoing basis:1.Academic achievement and intellectual entrepreneurship asits core goals, enhanced by thematic programming, teachingphilosophies, and real world experiences;DATE ISSUED: 1 of 5LDUEGA(LOCAL)-X
Houston ISD101912CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENTEGAINNOVATIVE AND MAGNET PROGRAMS(LOCAL)2.An enriched curriculum designed around a specialized themeor philosophy.3.A socio-economically and ethnically diverse student body4.Strives to increase student access to the program through theDistrict’s awareness activities, communication, transfer procedures.5.Actively involves parent, community, and businesspartnerships.Qualifications for entering a magnet program are specific to eachprogram. Entrance to elementary programs is based on availablespace. Secondary programs may require more specificqualifications for entrance. Each secondary magnet school maycreate a detailed description of entrance criteria and process whichshall be made readily available and easily accessible to the public.The entrance criteria and process should be balanced with the keyelements of objectivity, impartiality, fairness and equity and shallcomply with state and federal laws.. Magnets shall remaindecentralized and should have the maximum freedom to developand implement the methods that best achieve the goal of highstudent achievement.
Elementary school – Application only.
Secondary school – May require more specific qualificationsfor entrance, created at the campus level and is subject toauditions for fine art programs.Admission to the magnet programs shall be based on thefollowing process. All students must complete the formalapplication process and meet the criteria listed below toqualify for admission:
Utilize a standard application allowing for multiple schoolchoices by the applicant;
Meet the established selection criteria by theme, whenapplicable;
When there are more qualified applicants than space availablea school-based lottery will be used to select students.
Secondary Fine Arts Magnets will be exempt from schoolbased lottery systemsDATE ISSUED: 2 of 5LDUEGA(LOCAL)-X
The district will operate a central acceptance and enrollmentdatabase to facilitate efficient placement of students in specificprograms.A student may accept an offer from a waitlist throughthe first week of school..Equal access to instructional excellence requires adequate andequitable allocation of resources. Board approved, fair fundingper-student formulas shall be created that take into accountprogram costs, unique themes and innovation. The magnet per-student formulas must support the diverse magnet programs withinHISD and allow for their continued success. Board approved,unique per unit allocations shall also be distributed to variousmagnet programs or themes based on a program or theme’sunique needs. These allocations shall be reviewed and revised bythe Board in consultation bi-annually and any changes to theunique per unit allocations are subject to Board approval
Schools must be empowered to develop and implement themethods that best achieve their unique and individual instructionalgoals. Those interested in extending access and establishing amagnet program may submit a written proposal to the Office of School Choice, Chief Academic Officer, and Board. The individualschool will then be held accountable for innovation andinstructional results. Any new program, including those createdwith limited external funds must include a financial sustainabilityplan to ensure funding beyond the lifespan of the funding.To promote autonomy and ownership, new magnet themes or programs will be generated by the community and will not beassigned or limited by preexisting programs or themes. If thedistrict identifies a regional need, the superintendent or his/her designee will create a community task force which includes theSDMC to generate and vet ideas and create a transition plan and afinancial stability plan for new programming.A viable, robust magnet program should have a clear focusthat is not dependent on any single program, initiative, grant,teacher or facility. This focus should be sustainable acrossmany years and recognizable as a brand for the campus. For these reasons, much planning and communication should gointo proposing major changes to an existing magnet program.Major modifications, those that substantially change aprogram, require board approval and at least one transitionyear,DATE ISSUED: 3 of 5LDUEGA(LOCAL)-X

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