Forum set on New London magnet schools plan

New London - As the city makes its transition to an all-magnet school district, members of the Board of Education are seeking input from parents on the change and will welcome questions on magnet schools at a forum scheduled for Tuesday.

The forum will be held at 6 p.m. in the Science & Technology Magnet High School auditorium.

Magnet school Director Louis Allen will explain to parents what a magnet school system is, how a student applies for enrollment into a magnet school and how transportation from other towns works to get students to school, Board of Education Chairwoman Margaret Curtin said Thursday.

"It's a big thing. We're going to be all magnet in a few years, and a lot of people maybe have misconceptions, and this will help answer questions," she said. "I was getting questions from people on the street and this will help let people know what's going on."

Superintendent Nicholas A. Fischer and Chief Academic Officer Katherine Ericson will also present information during the forum.

Two months ago, the board approved the goals and strategies outlined in its Strategic Operating Plan - a document that will guide the board in shaping the school district and raising student achievement over the next three years.

Implementation of the plan will begin next school year, and the board has already approved its vision, theory of action and measures.

Among the major goals and strategies contained in the plan are the development of three magnet school pathways in visual and performing arts; dual literacy and culture; and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Board members are looking to parents for input on a fourth magnet theme or pathway.

Suggested themes already presented to the board include a sports medicine, scholar-athlete magnet school; a maritime arts and industry school that has been endorsed by OpSail Connecticut; and schools with international language and commerce themes.

At the board's May 8 workshop meeting, members received a draft copy of the Strategic Operating Plan and were asked by the state-appointed special master Steven Adamowski to read it at least three times and to come back with recommendations for changes. Curtin also submitted a list of changes she would like to see to some of the plans' goals and strategies.

The school board is expected to adopt the plan in June. Adamowski will present the plan to the State Board of Education when he meets with the board later that month.

j.hanckel@theday.com

IF YOU GO

The forum will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Science & Technology Magnet High School auditorium.

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