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Early magnet proposals in

Submitted by on 1, June 9, 2010 – 5:00 am4 Comments

Alameda Unified School District officials unveiled a half-dozen magnet school proposals at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, including a possible “global academics through the arts” program at Washington Elementary School, a creative arts magnet at Wood Middle School and a pair of grade-specific magnet programs at Amelia Earhart School, including a K-2 “support loop” program and a math and science program for grades 3-5.

The programs will be considered – if the district has the money to put a magnet in place.

An elementary-level Montessori program focusing on arts and cultural subjects and a green science, technology, engineering and math magnet for middle and high schoolers were also part of the collection of early proposals submitted by groups of parents, teachers, principals and community members.

Some five dozen teachers and administrators attended an informational meeting on April 28, and the due date for proposals was May 28. If the district’s finances permit, they will release a formal request for proposals in late August, and finalists could be presented to the school board at the end of November.

The district’s recently approved Master Plan included a strategy of creating attractive school options. More than three-quarters of the people who responded to a survey done during the planning process said they were interested in magnet schools.

About three-quarters of the survey’s 249 respondents said they’d like to see a high school science and technology magnet, while 65 percent said they’d be interested in an elementary-level language immersion program. Sixty-one percent said they’d like to see a high school arts magnet.

Washington’s proposal, submitted by a group of teachers and parents and incoming principal Judy Goodwin, would create an arts magnet at the school for grades K-5, potentially expanding to the eighth grade. The school would also offer foreign languages starting in kindergarten.

Teachers and Wood Middle School and their incoming principal, Jeff Knoth, have also proposed an arts magnet at that school, citing earlier academies as the basis for anticipated success.

Parents and teachers at Earhart are seeking to extend their K-2 “loop” program, which would offer additional supports to kindergartners and their parents and allow first and second graders to keep the same teacher for both years. And they are also seeking to create a model math and science program for grades 3-5.

A group of teachers and community members put together a “Green STEM” proposal for middle and high schoolers that would emphasize experiential learning and rely on both high tech and the surrounding community to provide it. The program could be implemented at an existing or new school site, or as a “school within a school.”

A proposal to offer an elementary-level arts and culture-themed Montessori program that would emphasize student-led learning in mixed-age groupings and strong parent involvement was also offered.


  • Jack B. says:

    Thanks for the reporting Michele.

    What is the appeal of a K-5 art magnet school? If the focus is on “art”, what does the curriculum leave out? Thanks in advance to anybody who knows.

    • Hi Jack,

      I just re-read the short treatment the folks at Washington sent in – these are early proposals, and it looks like their plan is still in development (so I don’t think I can say based on reading it how the art focus vs other curricular pieces would play out). It looks like their goal would be to use the arts as an access point of sorts for the diverse cultures attending the school, by using it to acknowledge the different languages, races and cultures represented at the school.

  • Jill says:

    If 61% of respondents said they’d like a high school arts magnet, why isn’t that on the list?

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