February is National Magnet School Awareness Month in the United States, which made me think this is a great time to be sure you are aware that we have four excellent magnet schools in our district: Garlough Environmental Magnet School, Moreland Arts and Health Sciences Magnet School, Pilot Knob STEM Magnet School, and Heritage E-STEM Magnet School. Each offers unique opportunities for learning. In fact, our magnet schools have earned numerous state and national awards for their outstanding programs!
Magnet schools are very much in keeping with Goal C in our District Strategic Framework, which is to personalize learning by offering multiple pathways and opportunities to explore individual interests and talents. Students interested in theme-based programming thrive in our magnet schools as do students who simply want a high-quality learning experience. Parents also find numerous ways to be involved and have created a strong network of support for our magnets.
Our magnets have also had a positive impact on the entire district. In more ways than one they have served as a springboard for innovation that has spread to all our schools. Environmental education, for example, has increased in all of our elementary schools, stemming in part from the work done initially at Garlough. Learning in the STEM areas (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) too has grown. The 1-1 iPad initiatives at Heritage, Moreland, and Pilot Knob allowed us to try out 1-1 computing, which has proven to be very successful. As we seek to expand 1-1 computing through our upcoming referendum we will use the valuable lessons learned.
Our magnet schools have formed some substantial partnerships. For example, Garlough has a long-standing partnership with Dodge Nature Center, as does Heritage, who also has a great partnership with Sea Life at the Mall of America. Pilot Knob has a strong partnership with Therapeutic Solutions. (They initially partnered with Lockheed Martin in Eagan which has since closed, so Pilot Knob is seeking a new engineering partner, so if you know of one in their neighborhood, let us know!)
For this post I'd like to highlight a very unique partnership to illustrate just how powerful and far-reaching these partnerships can be. Moreland is partnering with the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in a program called InSciEd Out. This program is for third and fourth graders and integrates the inquiry process of science into the curriculum, including literacy and math. According to Principal Eric Bradley, "Students are led through guided experiments to gain knowledge on a topic. Then, as a class, students create an extension experiment to test some of their own burning questions. All of the experiments focus on health and well-being. During the experiments, students have access to resources and scientists from the Mayo Clinic to answer any questions they have along the way. This is a fantastic partnership that is designed to help students understand the world around them, to be curious, and most importantly, to realize that they are scientists!" How cool is that!
These are just a few of the many, many partnerships at our magnet schools,which are far to numerous to mention here. If you would like to learn more about any one of our magnet schools or how to apply for enrollment, simply go to our Magnet Schools web page or contact our district magnet schools coordinator, Sarah Shanley, at 651-403-7571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.