- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 12, 2000

The following provides a snapshot of the process of getting into area magnet schools.

District

• Brent Museum Magnet School, 330 Third St. SE. Phone: 202/698-3363.

Ninety-five percent of the students here come from outside the school's boundaries. Parents must fill out an out-of-boundary form, which is date- and time-stamped. Acceptances are based on space available. The enrollment period is Jan. 28 to Feb. 28. The school currently has 40 students on its waiting list.

The District also has six elementary schools with Montessori classes. Phone: 202/442-4099.

Prince George's County

"Our magnet program is a court-ordered desegregation program," says Susan Miller, magnet school administrator. "When the lottery is held, students are put into sequence [the] first category would be by race." Further categories are by grade level, and assignments to the schools are based on where the student lives, depending on transportation requirements.

To enter the lottery, parents must submit an application by the deadline, which is the February before the next school year. Applications are available as early as November. Brochures are delivered to all children in the county, to public libraries and to magnet schools and also can be found on the Web site (www.pgcps.org).

Prince George's County has school boundaries, and students who live within them can participate in the magnet program without going through the lottery. Some programs, however, such as French immersion and Montessori, are available only if a student living within the boundaries meets the requirements.

For the Montessori program, a child must enter at age 3 or 4 or may enter if enrolled in another Montessori program. French-immersion students must enter in kindergarten or be native speakers. Be forewarned that there are more applicants than openings in the magnet schools.

Montgomery County

Magnet programs are offered on a countywide basis. Ten magnet programs include kindergarten, but only five have full-day kindergarten. Six offer pre-kindergarten programs.

Montgomery County schools have boundaries, and any child living within a school's boundaries can attend that school. There is no screening or selective process. Acceptance into a magnet school is on a space-available basis if the applicant does not live within the school boundaries.

Because of the number of requests, Montgomery has a lottery for the French and Spanish immersion programs and the schools for gifted and talented students.

Fairfax County

Of Fairfax County's 132 elementary schools, two are designated as magnet schools. The county does not mandate full-day kindergarten programs in all of its schools. Fairfax is a boundary school system that allows children to attend a school automatically if they reside within the boundaries.

• Hunters Woods Elementary Magnet School for the Arts and Sciences, 2401 Colts Neck Road, Reston. Phone: 703/262-7400. If a student lives outside of the school's boundaries, acceptance is determined by a lottery, based on slots available by grade level.

The application process begins in January, when the county advertises the magnet program. An open house is held in February, and the deadline for applying is mid-March. Parents are notified by the beginning of April and must accept by the end of April.

Hunters Woods had 42 slots open for this school year.

• Bailey's Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences, 6111 Knollwood Drive, Baileys Crossroads. Phone: 703/575-6800.

This elementary school has a special emphasis with its performing arts theater. A child who does not live within the school's boundaries can enter this kindergarten only if he or she has a sibling in the magnet program. The school accepts about 200 out-of-boundary students. The application process is the same as for Hunters Woods.

Arlington County

• Arlington Traditional School, 855 N. Edison St., Arlington. Phone: 703/228-6290.

This has been a countywide school since 1978. Admission is by lottery. The application period is Feb. 1 through April 15. Forms are available at the school.

The lottery is held for the kindergarten entry level only. Students who have been selected do not need to reapply in following years. Siblings are given preference.

A Supreme Court decision recently upheld a lower court's ruling that the school was in violation for using racial preferences in admitting students. Applications exceed the number of slots available.

• Drew Elementary School, 1601 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Phone: 703/228-5825.

This school has a Montessori program that takes preschoolers at age 3 and goes through age 5. Tuition for the Montessori program is on a sliding scale based on income. For families with an income of less than $16,000, a full-day program is $247 per year; families with an income higher than $60,500 pay $4,531. Fees for families with incomes between those two poles also are set by income. The application process is the same as for Arlington Traditional School. Drew has not had a problem with availability.

City of Alexandria

Alexandria has a boundary system, and any child living within a school's boundaries can attend that school. A lottery is available for youngsters outside the boundaries. Phone: 703/824-6655.

• Cora Kelly Magnet School, 3600 Commonwealth Ave., Alexandria. Phone: 703/706-4420. The school emphasizes science, math and technology. A full-day kindergarten is included, plus before- and after-school care.

• Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy, 530 S. St. Asaph St., Alexandria. Phone: 703/706-4430. This school requires uniforms and emphasizes academics. It also has a full-day kindergarten program.

• Jefferson-Houston School for Arts and Academics, 1501 Cameron St., Alexandria. Phone: 703/706-4400. This school includes a full-day kindergarten.

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