The Lansing School District has been awarded a $3.4 Million dollar grant for it's Magnet Schools. The money comes from the U.S. Department of Education's Magnet School Assistance Program.
The Lansing School District will use the money to roll out 6 new Magnet Schools in the fall of 2014. Lansing School District Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul says the new programs will be housed at Cavanagh, Fairview, Lewton, Mt. Hope, Sheridan Road and Everett.
Students can choose from several themes including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics), STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics), Global Studies, Spanish Language Immersion, & New Technology Network. Camaal Canul said, "I think we as educators, we're pretty firmly understanding now that students need to be meaningfully engaged in projects that develop their skills so that there's a real life meaning to what they're doing in school every day."
The Magnet schools will give students a project-based education. Paden Stalter, a 2nd grade teacher at Fairview Elementary says the projects engage students and make them excited to come to school. "They want to be at school on time, the whole day, so it helps with attendance and then the teacher can be very creative and the students can be creative in how the learning is done."
Magnet schools are not new to the Lansing School District. It already operates some theme-focused schools. Camaal Canul believes the district's experience delivering the magnet approach to education, helped it win the federal grant. "Kids can see themselves in the future following certain career paths and understanding that an education is not just to deposit information that later you can use. It actually is a preparation for you as you move into your life as an adult and you have options for careers."
Camaal Canul says the $3.4 million dollar grant will be split among the 6 new Magnet schools. Each will get anywhere from $500,000 to $750,000 to buy the materials they need to incorporate their particular magnet theme.
The federal grant program has given out nearly $90 million dollars to 27 school districts in 12 states. The Lansing School District is the only district in Michigan to receive the money.