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Friday, January 8, 2010

Is a Magnet School the right fit for my child?

By Guest Blogger Theo Helm, Director of Marketing and Communications, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools

Along with the start of the new year, January brings the chance for students of all ages to make a fresh start at one of 15 magnet programs in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

What makes a magnet school different from other schools? Two things, mainly – unique programs that in turn draw students from all over the county. The schools offer the same standard course of study as all schools in the state, but students benefit from extra attention to themes such as the arts, technology, engineering and the International Baccalaureate program.

The programs are divided into strands designed for students to move from one level to the next, but students can begin a magnet program at any time. Students can follow the renowned International Baccalaureate program from Ashley Elementary to Paisley Middle to Parkland High, or jump in at some point in between. Philo Middle’s international program feeds into Parkland as well. Visual and performing arts programs are offered at Diggs-Latham and Mineral Springs elementary schools, Hill and Mineral Springs middle schools and Parkland and Reynolds high schools. Innovative engineering programs at Hanes Middle can lead to one of three schools at Atkins High: Biotechnology, Computer Technology and Pre-Engineering. Attending a magnet program at one level does not require you to continue at the next level.

The schools are open for tours so students and their families can visit and see which school is the right fit. Please call the school you’re interested in to arrange a time. All of the schools will be represented at our annual Magnet Fair this Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the South Main Hall at the Benton Convention Center. Current magnet students will be performing and showing off their work, and principals and teachers will be there to answer questions.

Students are admitted to a magnet school by application. Applications are due Jan. 22 and can be filled out online or at each school. Students are accepted as long as space is available, and lotteries are held if more students apply than the school has space. Students find out if they are accepted by the end of January, and they will start attending the school in August 2010.

Transportation is provided to each student in the county to any magnet school except the Downtown School through our Magnet Express bus program. Parents take students to a supervised drop-off point – usually the school closest to the family’s home – and buses take the students from there to the magnet school.

More information can be found at or by calling 727-2519, ext. 4.

Additional Resources:

List of magnet schools (includes descriptions to each, phone numbers and links to each school’s Web site):
Online application:
International Baccalaureate site:

Don't forget to register for our fabulous giveaway from Andrea Halsey Photography! Click here to learn more about her business and register.

We also have a bonus giveaway this week! You can win tickets to the Monster Jam on January 15th. Congratulations to today's winner, Jayna Patterson! We will be contacting you with details.

To register for the Monster Jam giveaway,
click here. Don't forget that you must be a newsletter subscriber in order to qualify for either giveaway. Good luck!


candice said...

We are going to be entering the public school system this year and I have felt overwhelmed. Thanks for helping to answer one of my many questions today!

Anonymous said...

My son has been at Paisley Middle for a year and a half now. We could not be happier with it!

RLR said...

Our kids are at the Downtown School and we love it! FYI - you may not realize it, but their program starts with Preschool (Pre-K3). It's one of those 'best kept secrets'!

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