This week, Polk County School leaders will look at adding new magnet programs at schools to better prepare kids for the future.
School district leaders will also consider proposals to open three new charter schools throughout Polk County.
The district received a 12-million-dollar grant to improve two existing magnet programs at schools and create three brand new magnet programs.
The existing program at Brigham Academy's Science, Technology, Engineering and Math school will become an IB, or International Baccalaureate program, giving students more opportunity to earn college credits. Rochelle School of the Arts magnet program with performing arts will also now have more of a STEM and personal learning focus. Combee Elementary will begin implementing an Academy of Design and Engineering magnet program. Lake Alfred-Addair Middle, which is one of the most struggling schools in the county, will start a Polytechnic Academy with a focus on STEM. Finally, Daniel Jenkins Academy of Technology will become a magnet school with focuses on STEM, personalized learning and computer science.
About 3,500 students will be able to take classes in the magnet programs.
District leaders will discuss another cool new idea Tuesday: Letting middle schoolers take higher level courses on a high school campus, and giving high schoolers the opportunity to take classes on a college campus: Florida Polytechnic University.
The big question is: Does adding more magnet programs actually make schools better and help students improve their grades? District leaders say absolutely. One thing they're hoping to do is to increase racial diversity at the five magnet schools and model the schools after Dundee Elementary Academy, which converted to a magnet school two years ago and saw a drastic improvement in student performance.
The school board meets at 9 A.M. Tuesday.