School board going after more magnets - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

School board going after more magnets

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March 8, 2004

Albany- Seventh graders in Terri Satterfield's science class at Robert Cross Middle Magnet School were getting instructions for an upcoming project Monday afternoon.

"You're going to make your own invention," Satterfield told the group.

Coming up with those inventions shouldn't be hard for the students. They're some of the highest performing middle schoolers in the state.

"Students are also taught at a high average level, so that's the expectation that's there and it pulls those up that really need to be pulled up," said Sue Gerst, the technology education teacher.

The magnet program at Robert Cross is based on citizenship and discipline. It's a formula that works year after year. Administrators think a similar formula could be just as successful in other schools.

"We've got award winning magnets that are doing a wonderful job in educating our children," said Jayme Ivey, the magnet school organizer. "We need more."

So the board is applying for a $9 million federal grant. If they get the grant, it will help pay for equipment and teacher training to develop six more magnet schools.

"We've got to look at education differently," Ivey said. "We can't educate today's children with yesterday's technology and yesterday's strategies."

The programs will be different from this one at Robert Cross. But the result should be the same.

"It's just our goals and expectations for them," Gerst said. "Teachers' goals, administrators' goals, board of education's goals because they allow us to have this particular program here."

So whether they're working with robotics, testing lasers or getting ready to be inventors, the goal is to have them as prepared as possible to go out into the world.

If the school system gets the grant, the magnet programs would be different from Robert Cross Magnet School. Lamar Reese elementary would further develop its fine arts magnet, and Radium Middle would become a fine arts center.

Mock Road elementary and Dougherty Middle would be international studies magnet programs. Those students would flow into Dougherty High's fine arts and international studies programs.

Monroe High would be a math and pre-engineering magnet school.

The School Board will find out in June if they'll get the grant. The schools would still offer general curriculum for students who don't want to be part of the magnet programs.

posted at 10:22 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com