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So I'm moving to Los Angeles in the Fall, no, not to become a movie star, though my 8 year old would love that, but my husband got a great job down there!<br><br>
I've been doing some research for schools and came across something called a magnet school. I checked wikipedia, found this list of <a href="http://www.findourschool.com/17782/city/ca/los-angeles/magnet-schools" target="_blank">magnet schools in los angeles</a>, but still haven't found anything about actual experiences in a magnet.<br>
I must have been living under a rock for my entire life, I've NEVER heard a magnet school until I started doing research for schools! Can anyone give me more info about experiences with magnet schools?
 

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My dc have attended schools with special programs that admit students from many catchment areas - "magnet schools", if you will.<br><br>
They attended a school with a language immersion program.<br><br>
Then they attended special gifted programs, starting in mid-elementary school.<br><br>
For high school, they have chosen to leave the gifted program to attend a performing arts high school. My ds has been there for a year now, studying music. My dd will start in the fall, in the drama program. This school in particular is very well known in our area, and students attend from outside city boundaries - some commute in daily by train.<br><br>
Overall, the experiences have been positive. I think there are a few reasons. The school population is self-selected to a certain extent for those who value education. These are families who care enough about their children and educational values to examine different schooling options. That alone makes a difference. In addition, the parents and students have agreed that the special focus of the school (language, enrichment, arts, sports, social justice - whatever the flavour of the school) is worthwhile and important. So overall, there is a congruency of values, if you will, between the members of the school community, even though there may be a fair amount of diversity in terms of culture, race, economic level etc.<br><br>
This social and cultural diversity is another important facet. Many neighbourhood schools exist in a fairly homogenous area. Attending a school outside the neighbourhood is an opportunity to meet and mix with different types of people.<br><br>
I find schools with a special interest help promote a sense of community and a recognition of the contributions that every member makes to that community. In short, they are happy places where the students are motivated and have a sense of purpose. That reveals itself in improved academic outcomes. Of course, this kind of atmosphere can be created in a "regular" school, and often is. I just find it a fairly common trait in special interest programs.<br><br>
So what are the disadvantages?<br><br>
There may be only 1 or 2 classes per grade - meaning your child is with the same group for many years. Social systems become rigid - cliques are impossible to break. Since there is sometimes a sense of "we're special because we go to a special school", it's a good atmosphere for social bullying to flourish - among the students AND the parents.<br><br>
There can be a sense of competition, although I think competitiveness exists in every school and parent group, not just magnet schools. It may be heightened in a small, focused group though.<br><br>
Inconvenience. If the school isn't in your neighbourhood, your child will probably have to get up early and get home late from school. There are transportation issues. It's harder to organize extra-curriculars. If the school has a huge catchment area, it's 100% guaranteed that your child's best friend forever will live as far as possible from your home at the other end of the catchment area. Group project members will live equidistant from each other - there will be no one convenient meeting place for all. On the positive side, you will get to explore neighbourhoods that you never knew existed, while you are dropping your child off.<br><br>
Good luck with your research and making your decision. I think it's wise to explore different options and find a good fit for your child. Take comfort knowing that you can always change schools if it turns out that a school isn't a good fit.
 

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My daughter goes to a magnet school, specializing in Marine and Environmental Sciences (but attracts a lot of Math/Science kids who may not be specifically interested in Aquatic studies). It's a county-run school, so kids are from the entire county - our town has the longest commute. She leaves the house at ~6am, for a start time of 7:25. She's home at 3pm. That's the primary negative. Our school district does provide bus transportation.<br><br>
The class sizes are small, <60 kids/grade (as compared to ~300 in our local HSs). Everyone knows everyone - in their grade, between grades, teachers, etc.<br><br>
In this particular school, we haven't really noticed many cliques or a strict social system. Not to say everyone gets along, but it's a rather cohesive group. The staff does an excellent job of team building, and mixing the kids up.<br><br>
All classes are on at least an AP level, with a lot at a college level. The majority of the teachers are affiliated with a local college or university, and the kids get the opportunity to do internships, externships and research on a college level. Kiddo's doing a project with one of her teachers on the effects of effluents on a particular turtle population in a local bay. She's also involved in building a submarine for a national competition.<br><br>
Extracurriculars CAN be an issue. However, it's usually workable. My daughter plays field hockey for our local HS. Her teachers cut her some slack during the regular season, and her coaches cut her some slack wrt practices. To be fair, though, even though they don't ding her for being late, she puts in extra time on her own to work on stick skills and running, because she feels she has to.<br><br>
If your child has a particular interest, a magnet school can be a great experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Great! Thanks for all the info... I think I'm gonna go with a magnet, maybe a private in LA. Thanks again!
 

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One thing I should add - make sure it is a fit for YOUR child. My daughter loves the school she goes to - my son would have hated it, although he would have been fine academically. The right fit is more important, IMO.
 
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