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Broward may overhaul 16 magnet schools

Broward County schools would create three new magnet schools and overhaul 16 others, under a proposal the School Board plans to discuss Tuesday.

Coconut Creek High School would get a new public service magnet program starting this fall. Bair Middle in Sunrise and Martin Luther King Elementary in Fort Lauderdale would each get Montessori programs.

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They would be funded by $329,000 worth of cuts to other magnet programs.

Three F-rated elementary schools —Thurgood Marshall and North Fork in Fort Lauderdale and Watkins in Pembroke Park — would lose their magnet status, and within three years their magnet funding. Each school would still have a theme, but would no longer focus on attracting students from outside their boundaries.

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A fourth school, C-rated Sanders Elementary in Pompano Beach, would keep its communications magnet program but lose a second program focused on languages, as well as two teachers.

Twelve other magnet schools would maintain their magnet budgets, but would change or modify their themes.

The proposed recommendations are the result of a school district-commissioned report released in September. The review, conducted by New York-based Metis Associates, outlined deficiencies in about a third of the district's magnet programs, including poor student achievement and difficulty attracting students and incorporating their themes.

School administrators and magnet coordinators worked with district staff on ways to modify the programs, said Leona Miracola, director of innovative programs for the district.

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"These proposals are a possibility. They are just thoughts. Not necessarily what will take place," she said.

Magnet programs are designed to attract students from outside a school's normal boundary. They started in the 1970s to lure white students into schools in black neighborhoods. Today, the primary goal is to give students a variety of choices that can compete with charter schools.

The School Board plans to review the recommendations at a workshop Tuesday and then take final action in March. If approved, parents could then enroll their children in new or revised programs for next fall.

Here is a list of the recommendations:

South Broward High, Hollywood. Redesign marine science program as maritime technology with a college dual enrollment component.

Northeast High, Oakland Park. Change "Academies of Excellence" program from whole school magnet to program within a school. Replace marketing and entrepreneurship theme with alternative energy program.

Hallandale High. Redesign "Communications/Broadcast Arts, International Affairs & Business" as "Academy of Entrepreneurship, STEM and Multimedia Technology."

Stranahan High, Fort Lauderdale. Revamp medical science magnet program with increased focus on biomedical science.

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Deerfield Beach High. Redesign Urban Teacher Academy to focus on leadership skill development.

Boyd Anderson High, Lauderdale Lakes. Revamp International Baccalaureate program to include JROTC and information technology career pathways.

Miramar High. Revamp International Baccalaureate content to include more rigorous requirements in English, language arts and math

Deerfield Beach Middle. Eliminate Health and Wellness magnet; expand Middle Years International Baccalaureate program.

Crystal Lake Middle, Pompano Beach. Redesign science/pre-engineering program as engineering and environmental sciences. Change from whole school magnet to program within a school.

Lauderdale Lakes Middle. Incorporate medical law programs into International Baccalaureate program.

Attucks Middle, Hollywood. Eliminate Center for Instructional Technology magnet and replace with Cambridge Global Communications Broadcast Academy.

Walker Elementary, Fort Lauderdale. Redesign performing and visual arts magnet. Affiliate with the Kennedy Center's Changing Education Through the Arts program.

Thurgood Marshall Elementary, Fort Lauderdale. Eliminate communications with Public & Government Affairs magnet. Add a non-magnet health and fitness themed program.

Sanders Park Elementary, Pompano Beach. Redesign communications and languages program as a communications and broadcasting academy.

Watkins Elementary. Pembroke Park. Replace communications and languages magnet program with a non-magnet dual language program.

North Fork Elementary, Fort Lauderdale. Redesign marine science magnet program to non-magnet science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program.

stravis@sunsentinel.com or 561-243-6637 or 954-425-1421

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