If you have a child in the Miami-Dade County Public School system, then I’m sure you have heard of magnet programming. If you are the Miami parent of a 2nd, 5th or 8th grader this school year, it’s all you are going to hear about. The Miami magnet schools program is an incredible educational option available at select Miami schools that brings your child specialized learning in subjects they are interested in such as the arts. As a mom of two kids in separate magnets, I will tell you that this has been an incredible opportunity provided to our family by MDCPS that we are extremely grateful for everyday!
All About Miami Magnet Schools
Now, what exactly is Magnet school programming? Well, like I mentioned previously, it’s specialized learning. It’s a choice-based learning system that was implemented in MDCPS around 1954 with Henry S. West Lab Elementary School (Coral Gables). For once, parents could choose to apply to a public school and their child was selected to attend through a lottery system. This was very successful and West Lab Elementary has had a waiting list of children ever since. This lottery system popped up in more schools offering implementation of dual language programs and finally a magnet program in the arts in the late 70’s. The Miami school magnet programs have been around for a while but have really taken off in the past couple of years. As of 2015, 41% of students enrolled in MDCPS have made a choice in the school or program in which they are involved. There are currently 460 magnet programs choices in over 100 schools!
As a Miami magnet school parent (drama and art-elementary level), I have some insider knowledge to share:
- Miami Magnet programs are offered in the arts, music, drama, broadcasting, medical, business, law, STEM, language and international programming. Programming starts in 3rd grade.
- You must apply to be considered for the program. Applications open October 1st every year.
- You can apply to multiple schools and programs. Read the application carefully.
- If applying to an arts magnet (art, music, drama, dance) your child must audition. Auditions are in February of the following year after you apply. I suggest that if your child wants to try out for an arts magnet, you begin the training early. Get a tutor. Take dance or theatre lessons. Art programs require portfolios.The competition is serious and your child needs to be prepared.
- If applying to a language program, make sure you read all requirements. The language program is very strict and requires passports which can take a long time to process.
- If your child is accepted into a program, you have a certain number of days to accept the invitation, if not your child will be replaced.
- Your child can be talented but if they do not have good academic scores (nothing below a C) they will not be accepted in the program. If while in the program, their grades drop, they will be removed from their program.
- Magnet schools cost money. While your public school education is free, magnet programs are not. Magnet programs are not funded by MDCPS, they are run through parent donations, sales and fundraising.
- You will need to purchase specific supplies for the program such as dance shoes, art supplies, books, etc.
- This is specialized, daily education. Your child will be in their magnet class one hour every day.
- As a parent, you need to be involved. You need to volunteer your time. You need to attend performances, field trips, meetings and fundraising events.
- Your child needs to be dedicated. They need to put the time in to flourish.
- Transportation to your choice school can be provided through MDCPS. Once accepted, more information will be provided by the school.
- Applications are open to all students beginning in 2nd grade for elementary level, 5th grade for middle school level and 8th grade for high school level programs.
While this might seem overwhelming, this is all information I wish I would have known before I started our Miami magnet schooling journey. It’s a lot of hard work and dedication but I am so glad my children have a choice in their education. I know that they are provided an experience like nothing else!
This super amazing guest post was provided by Mommy Mafia friend and Miami blogger Ida Arias who blogs over at www.SecondChancesGirl.com. Make sure to check her blog out and follow her everywhere!
Related: Shakedown! Miami Schools