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Magnet Schools and Programs

Goals of Magnet Schools and Programs

Albuquerque Public Schools is committed to providing the best educational setting for all students in the district.  APS recognizes that the diverse student learning styles demand responsive schools that are specifically created to address areas of need and interest in the APS community.

The provisions of this procedural directive aim to create a systemic portfolio of choice options that meet the needs of students, families, and community; ensure geographic equity and accessibility to K-12 pathways; attract enrollment; and promote diversity.

The process to become and maintain magnet school status will build a culture of innovation and an entrepreneurial approach to design educational opportunities.

Magnet schools will provide an opportunity for investment in developing demonstration sites that support the elevation of professional practice district-wide.

Community Involvement

Due to the unique purpose that magnet schools serve, the Office of Innovation and School Choice shall engage in ongoing and deliberate conversations with staff, students, families and the community related to the creation, evaluation and overall support of magnet schools in the district.

To ensure the provisions of this procedural directive are developed and implemented with the long-term goals of utilizing magnet schools to address students’ needs for unique and innovative educational settings, it is critical that the Office of Innovation and School Choice engage in meaningful dialogue through established processes that gather input from all stakeholders.  The purpose of this input is to serve the needs of students and ensure that there is a strong endorsement in the creation and evaluation of district-created magnet schools.

General Provisions

An APS Magnet school is a public school that is governed by the Board of Education, has the autonomy to innovate, the support to integrate the magnet approach throughout the student experience, and the mission to deliver a fundamentally unique approach that may not be found in the comprehensive school.

 

Magnet school students construct and demonstrate understanding of the State standards and content curricula through the magnet school’s theme, engage in authentic learning that connects the theme’s philosophy with content standards in a school-wide instructional approach, and meet progressing objectives in both the theme objectives and the standards.

 

Magnet schools shall reflect one of the following models:

 

  • Neighborhood magnet schools:  the students in the geographic attendance area attend the school and the remaining enrollment comes from students throughout the district.

 

  • Zone magnet schools:  a school that has an attendance area that overlaps with multiple neighborhood schools.

 

  • No-boundary magnet schools:  the school has no geographic boundary, all students are admitted through a lottery process

 

  • Magnet program within a school:  the magnet theme is implemented with a sub-population of a comprehensive school upon mutual agreement between the magnet and traditional school.

 

  • School within a school:  a facility and some resources may be shared between the host school and the magnet school upon mutual agreement between the host school and the magnet school

Framework of a Magnet School

To be designated as a magnet school, a school shall demonstrate that it meets the framework indicators established by Albuquerque Public Schools.  The framework includes four fundamental pillars that describe the unique features of a magnet school that are in alignment with Magnet Schools of America Standards of Excellence:

  • Leadership & Culture
  • Innovative Teaching and Learning
  • Equity & Personalization
  • Family and Community Partnership

The Office of Innovation and School Choice, in consultation with representation of community and stakeholders, shall establish and revise indicators of each pillar, and ensure that designated magnet schools demonstrate evidence of meeting the indicators.

Application for Magnet School Candidacy

The office of innovation and school choice, associate superintendent (s), operations office, and finance office shall establish a long-range strategic plan, in collaboration with the Board of Education and community stakeholders, to offer a variety of theme and specialized learning options that ensures geographic equity and K-12 progressions. 

The office of innovation and school choice shall develop and issue an application for candidacy.  The application for candidacy shall state the theme and general geographical location of the magnet school that is needed.

Traditional Schools

Traditional schools wishing to apply for magnet school candidacy in response to an application for candidacy that calls for a school with a specific mission within a defined geographical area shall comply with the following process:     

  1. Provide notification of interest signed by the Principal, parent organization president, and Instructional Council chair by deadline stated in the application for candidacy.
  2. The principal attends an applicant orientation.
  3. The Instructional Council leads a feasibility study process that will determine the school’s readiness for transformation and documents findings in an application for magnet school candidacy.
  • The feasibility study and, thereafter, the application for candidacy process shall include, but not be limited to, a self-study of existing assets and needs in implementing the proposed school-wide theme and strategies, that include:
    • Leadership structures
    • Will and capacity of the teaching faculty to undergo an innovative school-wide transformation that fundamentally alters the student experience
    • Community interest and partnership
    • Alignment of current practice to magnet school framework indicators
    • Facility
    • Technology
    • Culture of Innovation
    • Family and Community Support
    • Professional learning investment and structures for job-embedded, ongoing collaboration and development
    • Curricular, instructional, pedagogical, and assessment articulation and alignment
    • Available space for additional students
  1. Candidacy applications shall be reviewed by a team to include the executive director of innovation, appropriate associate superintendent(s), and other instructional and operational staff as needed.  This team may request a site visit, meeting with the principal, IC, staff, and/or community for additional information.   
  2. Following a review of all applications, the review team will provide a recommendation to the Superintendent’s Cabinet Team. 
  3. The Superintendent’s Cabinet Team shall make final decisions on the selection of a candidate school.
  4. Prior to final approval by the Superintendent, the Superintendent shall inform the Board of Education
  5. Schools that are not selected in the application process shall be provided feedback on areas of strength and growth areas for future applications. 

Charter Schools

A charter school may apply for magnet school candidacy at the time of the charter’s renewal, which is October of the year prior to their contract ending.  Charter schools wishing to apply for magnet school candidacy shall clearly articulate their impact on enhancing APS choice within the district portfolio strategy.  Charter schools wishing to be designated as an APS magnet school shall comply with the following process:        

  1. Provide notification of interest signed by the Charter School executive director and Governing Board President by deadline stated in the application for candidacy.  Provide documentation of a Governing Council vote expressing the Council’s interest to apply.
  2. The Charter School Executive Director and Governing Council lead a feasibility study process that will determine the level of alignment of the charter school’s mission and practices with the magnet school model and document findings in an application for magnet school candidacy.
  • The feasibility study and, thereafter, the application for candidacy process shall include, but not be limited to, a self-study of existing assets and needs in implementing the proposed school-wide theme and strategies within the magnet school framework, that include:
    • Transition of leadership structures from a charter board
    • Internal leadership structures among staff
    • Will and capacity of the teaching faculty to adhere to the magnet school plan
    • Community interest and partnerships
    • Alignment of current practice to magnet school framework indicators
    • Facility
    • Technology
    • Culture of Innovation
    • Family and Community Support
    • Professional learning investment and structures for job-embedded, ongoing collaboration and development
    • Curricular, instructional, and assessment articulation and alignment
    • Available space for additional students
    • Financial solvency
    • Enrollment history
    • Compliance with the current performance agreement with the authorizer
  1. Candidacy applications shall be reviewed by a team to include the charter school director, executive director of innovation, appropriate associate superintendent(s), and other instructional and operational staff as needed.  This team may request a site visit, meeting with the Executive Director, Governing Board, staff, and/or community for additional information.  
  2. The review team will provide a recommendation to the Superintendent’s Cabinet Team. 
  3. The Superintendent shall make final decisions on the selection of a candidate school.
  4. If the school is a locally authorized charter school, due to the authority of the Board of Education as the charter school’s authorizer, the Superintendent shall make a recommendation to the Board of Education to terminate the charter contract with the locally-authorized charter school contingent on approval by the Public Education Department to create a new district school.  This motion, if approved, shall be followed with a motion to create a new district school so the charter school may complete the process to become a new magnet school.  Appropriate action by the Board of Education shall be taken. 
  5. Schools that are not recommended for magnet school status will be provided written cause.
  6. The Superintendent shall provide written notification to the Public Education Department to open a new school location in Albuquerque Public Schools with detailed information regarding the transition of the charter school to become a magnet school.  Upon approval of the Public Education Department that a new school may be created in the district, the charter school contract shall be terminated and the school shall become an APS magnet on July 1 of the year its contract ends.
  • If the Public Education Department denies creation of a new district school, the locally-authorized charter school, Charter School executive director and executive director of Innovation shall present an alternative plan for the school to the Board of Education for approval.  This plan may include, but not be limited to:
    • Reauthorization as a locally authorized charter school for a new contract term; or
    • Termination of the charter school’s contract and a transition plan for students currently attending the school.

Magnet School Planning and Development Process

Once selected, the school enters the Planning and Development process to result in full implementation of the magnet school framework:

  • Year one: professional learning and planning to create the long-range magnet school plan to meet the indicators in the framework with the support of the office of innovation and school choice
  • Years two through four:  the school incrementally builds capacity and implements the magnet plan to meet the indicators of the framework with customized support, professional learning, and leadership coaching from the office of innovation and school choice

Schools in the development phase may use the term, “Developing Magnet,” in their title, letterhead, and promotional materials.

If a Developing Magnet does not adhere to the steps in the magnet plan, the school may be at risk of losing its designation as outlined in this procedural directive.

Magnet School Designation

Once a school successfully demonstrates evidence that the indicators in the magnet school framework are met according to the magnet immersion matrix, the executive director of innovation and appropriate associate superintendent(s) may provide a recommendation to the Superintendent regarding the school’s readiness to be designated as a magnet school.  Upon approval, the Superintendent shall inform the Board of Education of formal designation as outlined in the application process.  Once designated, the school may include the term, “Magnet,” in their title, on the school marquee, letterhead, school promotional materials, and website.

New Magnet Schools

The District may designate a new school or re-open a school that has been closed as a magnet school with a specific focus in order to achieve the goals of offering geographically equitable and accessible K-12 progressions.  In this instance, the school shall enter the process in the planning, candidacy and development year, and have the same level of support through the candidacy phase.

District Support

The office of innovation and school choice shall ensure that the district provides magnet schools with customized support to innovate through:

  • Establishing professional cohorts of magnet schools for collaborative planning, implementation, vertical and horizontal articulation, feedback visits, and professional learning;
  • Establishing and convening community groups of industry partners to support magnet schools;
  • Providing access to magnet specific professional learning opportunities;
  • Providing advanced leadership coaching and ongoing implementation support to ensure classroom application of professional learning;
  • Ensuring that designated magnet schools deliver the student experience specified in the school magnet plan;
  • Providing marketing opportunities for recruitment;
  • Advocating with district personnel for magnet schools to have the flexibility and autonomy to implement requirements in innovative ways that align to the school focus;
  • Working as a liaison between magnet schools and departments to facilitate communication, address unique requests and provide a clear understanding of District structures and why or why not magnet schools may receive customized support within those structures;
  • Work to create solutions so requests for customized support are provided;
  • Assisting schools in asking for waivers of any board policy, district procedures and directives, initiatives, and contract language that inhibit their magnet plan from reaching fruition; and
  • Facilitating the Department of Human Resources and the Albuquerque Teachers Federation will work in collaboration with magnet schools that are interested in customizing language in the Negotiated Agreement in order to support the implementation of the school’s magnet plan.  Through the Instructional Council process a Magnet School’s Instructional Council may suggest ways of modifying and/or creating contract language that better defines the collaborative work between the administration and staff in a community of shared goals and an articulated school wide approach. Appendix L of the APS/ATF Negotiated agreement explains the process for obtaining a waiver to the Negotiated Agreement.

 

Magnet School Autonomy

District administration may provide magnet schools the autonomy needed to innovate within the confines of State and Federal laws and guidelines, including site-based decision making in the following categories:

  • Customized professional learning that supports school-wide theme implementation
  • Curriculum development and selection of resources that support meeting rigorous State standards along with theme objectives
  • Identification of school specific assessments that align to the school’s curriculum to enhance or replace measures that are not federally or state-mandated
  • Identification of accountability outcomes and measures specific to the theme  
  • Aligned resources of budget, clock, calendar, and physical space to maximize the school’s resources to meet goals within the magnet school framework
  • Opportunity to review and provide recommendations on any district MOUs and/or MOAs that impact the magnet school prior to district approval.  Specifically, any MOUs and/or MOAs that impact school-based programs shall be discussed by the office of innovation and school choice, the department that would be entering the MOU/MOA, the school associate that supervises the magnet school, and the magnet school principal and his/her designees so there may be common understanding of the purpose of the MOU/MOA, the intended outcome of the MOU/MOA , potential challenges of the MOU/MOA and solutions to ensure the magnet school can continue to serve its students, staff and families.
  • Optional site based budgeting with support of district administration.

Magnet School Responsibilities

Magnet schools shall continue to experience autonomy and support in exchange for increased responsibilities as a magnet school. Those responsibilities include, but may not be limited to:

  • Maintaining a current magnet school plan that specifies the implementation of the magnet school framework with process and outcome success measures
  • Aligning resources of time, operational and grant budgets, and professional learning to support the magnet school plan
  • Ensuring that instruction, practices, strategies, and routines are implemented in congruence with the stated magnet plan
  • Fulfilling the expectation for functioning as a demonstration school by hosting professional learning tours for APS staff and community partners
  • Communicating the Magnet Plan to the community
  • Recruiting to increase and/or maintain student enrollment commensurate with site capacity

Maintaining Magnet School Status

It is of utmost importance that schools that hold the title of magnet school deliver a substantially unique learning experience and demonstrate student progress in the context of the magnet school concept.  The office of innovation and school choice shall develop and implement a process to ensure that magnet schools deliver the student experience as outlined in the magnet school plan to include:

  • Review of progress indicators in the magnet plan twice per year
  • Annual review and update of magnet plan
  • Site visits from the office of innovation and school choice and other relevant district departments and staff using the Magnet School Rubric that aligns to the Framework.  This Rubric shall be created in consultation with appropriate stakeholders
  • Tools for self-evaluation and support in identifying next steps
  • Parent, Student, Staff and Community survey results

For schools in the implementation phase, the office of innovation and school choice shall monitor the magnet school’s ongoing demonstration of progress toward implementation of the magnet plan through:

  • Review of progress indicators twice per year
  • Site visits to review progress at a minimum, but not limited to annually
  • Develop and provide tools for self-evaluation and support in identifying next steps

The office of innovation and school choice shall provide an annual report on the progress of each magnet school in the month immediately following the release of the State annual assessment data.

Magnet School Mission Re-Alignment, Restoration or Loss of Designation

If a magnet school does not adhere to the magnet framework as stated in the school plan and demonstrated by the indicators in the Magnet School Rubric, the office of innovation and school choice shall develop and implement a process to ensure that magnet schools deliver the student experience as outlined in the magnet school plan to include progressive steps:

Stage 1: Magnet School Mission Re-Alignment

  • In collaboration with the appropriate associate superintendent(s), the office of innovation and school choice shall provide written documentation of evidence of concern/s which demonstrate how the magnet school is no longer aligned with its core mission
  • The magnet school’s Instructional Council shall respond within twenty (20) business days with a written plan to address the areas of concern that includes a timeline of no longer than one semester and specific deliverables and benchmarks that will serve as evidence of progress that the school is realigning with its magnet mission
  • This written plan shall be reviewed and modified as necessary with support of the office of innovation and school choice and the appropriate associate superintendent
  • The office of innovation and school choice my provide leadership coaching to support the implementation of the magnet alignment plan
  • At the end of the semester, the office of innovation and school choice shall convene a team to review progress according to established timelines and determine either successful completion of the improvement plan or the need to progress to Magnet School Restoration.
  • Once identified as a magnet school in need of restoration, the Instructional Council shall develop a new written plan within twenty (20) business days, created in consultation with the office of innovation and school choice and associate superintendent to address the areas of concern that includes a timeline of no longer than one semester and specific deliverables that will serve as evidence of that the mission of the magnet school may be recovered
  • The office of innovation and school choice shall conduct monthly site visits to support implementation and next steps and leadership coaching
  • At the end of the semester, the office of innovation and school choice shall convene a team to review progress according to established timelines and determine either successful completion of the restoration plan or to recommend loss of designation
  • The office of innovation and school choice and associate superintendent shall recommend to the Superintendent’s Cabinet Team that the designation of magnet school be removed
  • If approved, the Superintendent shall inform the Board of the removal of designation.                               
  • All school materials, such as but not limited to, the school marquee, website, and letterhead shall reflect the loss of designation within one month of loss of designation.

Stage 2:  Magnet School Mission Restoration

Stage 3:  Loss of Designation

Principal Transitions

Commitment to a magnet school’s focus and progress shall not change during or after a transition in the principal occurs.  The office of innovation and school choice, in collaboration with the associate superintendents, shall develop and implement a process to ensure that magnet schools continue to deliver the unique student experience as outlined in the magnet school plan throughout the leadership transition to include:

  • Ensuring that the job description, advertisement, screening tools, and interview questions reflect the unique knowledge, skills, aptitudes, and experience necessary for the magnet school
  • Include at least one magnet school principal on the selection committee, if a committee is created
  • Facilitate a transition meeting between the outgoing and incoming principals, when possible
  • Ensure that the mentor of the new principal is an experienced magnet school principal, when possible
  • Ensure that the new principal is thoroughly familiar with the application of all components of the APS Magnet School Framework, status of the school’s implementation with the Magnet School Rubric
  • Facilitate a transition meeting with the Instructional Council
  • Ensure that standard documents that define procedures are complete and accessible, such as the magnet school plan, enrollment/placement procedures, PD plan, etc.

Student Enrollment in Magnet Schools

Magnet schools that have more students apply for attendance at the school than there is physical capacity to house those students shall conduct a lottery.  All magnet schools shall comply with New Mexico law and regulation and district policy and procedural directives regarding open enrollment and transfer priorities for students wishing to attend the school.  The school may choose to comply with these requirements and implement a lottery on behalf of itself, or it may request that the APS Transfer Office implement the process.  Magnet schools that to implement their own lottery must ensure that information, deadlines, and forms are easily accessible on the school website and conform to district standards.  School-run lottery processes shall be submitted to the Office of Innovation and School Choice for review in consultation with the Transfer Office prior to December 1 for the following school year.  Magnet schools shall be subject to administrative transfer rules as approved by the superintendent.   

Transportation

Magnet schools, as part of the application process, may opt to provide transportation to students wishing to attend the school.  Requests for transportation shall be made to the office of innovation and school choice, the executive director of Student Transportation, the chief operations officer and the chief financial officer. 

Upon completion of a feasibility study and availability of funds for transportation to the magnet school, the transportation department may recommend bus routes to transport students.  The transportation may also explore options for transportation reimbursements to families transporting students to a magnet school. 

 

Administrative Position:             Assistant Superintendent of Equity, Instruction, and Support

Department Director:                  Executive Director of Innovation

References:

Legal Cross Ref.:                               

Board Policy Cross Ref.:                    IH4 Establishment of Magnet Schools

Procedural Directive Cross Ref.:       

 

NSBA/NEPN Classification:       IHB

 

Introduced: September 13, 2017