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Magnet Program FAQ

General Information
What are magnet schools?

Magnet schools offer specialized programs of learning with a focused theme that attracts a diverse population of students from throughout Huntsville City Schools.

What specific magnet programs are offered by Huntsville City Schools?

Pre-K - 8th Grade

  • Academy for Academics & Arts
  • The Academy for Science and Foreign Language
    • Theme: International Baccalaureate (IB), Science, Foreign Language
    • Site: www.asflmagnet.org

6th-8th Grade

9th-12th Grade

  • Columbia High School
    • Grade 9/10 Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (MYP)
    • Grade 11/12 International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (DP)
    • Grade 11/12 International Baccalaureate Career-Related Programme (CP)
  • College Academy at Jemison High School
  • Lee Creative and Performing Arts
    • Theme: Visual Arts & Photography, Dance, Theatre Performance & Theatre Production, Vocal Performance, Creative Writing & Media Arts
    • Site: www.leemagnet.org
  • New Century Technology High School
Do my student's special education needs affect his or her magnet eligibility?

All students who are assigned to general education classrooms are eligible to apply for a magnet program.  Some special education students have Individual Education Plans (“IEP”) that require services in a self-contained special education classroom.  For pre-kindergarten students, these special education classes are called “Kid Skills” classes.  Due to their special education needs, students needing services met by self-contained or Kid Skills classrooms are not eligible to apply for a magnet program.  If a student is accepted to a magnet pre-kindergarten program but is later identified as needing the services of a Kid Skills program, the student will be placed in a Kid Skills class instead of his or her magnet program.  However, the student may be admitted to his or her magnet program for kindergarten the following school year if the student’s IEP at the end of his or her year in the Kid Skills program does not require services in a self-contained special education classroom. 

Do current magnet middle school students have priority for magnet high school programs?
  • Eighth grade students who attend AAA and want to attend the Creative and Performing Arts at Lee High School will need to apply for this program.  These AAA students will have a priority in the application process for Lee.
  • Eighth grade students who attend ASFL and want to attend Columbia do not need to apply for Columbia.  Students will need to inform their counselor that they intend to attend Columbia High School.
  • Eighth grade students at Williams Technology Middle School who want to attend New Century Technology High School will need to apply for this program.  These Williams Middle students will have a priority in the application process for New Century.
If a College Academy student is interested in playing sports, for what school would he/she play?

College Academy students are enrolled at Jemison High School and are eligible to participate in sports at Jemison High immediately upon enrolling in ninth grade.  This is allowed due to a ruling from the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) that magnet students enrolled in the College Academy at Jemison or the Lee High School Performing Arts Magnet Program are eligible for athletics in their magnet school.

Magnet Application Information
Who can apply to a magnet school?

Student applicants must live within the Huntsville City Schools district.  Magnet programs accept students from all Huntsville City Schools district school zones.

When can I apply for a magnet program?

The initial magnet application period for all programs, except for the College Academy at Jemison High and the Academy for Gifted & Talented Program at Williams Middle School, will be open each fall.  The initial application period for the College Academy and the Academy for Gifted & Talented will be open each spring.  Students who apply during the time frame to the program of interest (fall or spring) will be eligible for selection for any open seats in all magnet programs in the school year.

A second late application period will be open late spring for any students who did not apply in the earlier application period.  Applications will be available only for programs that have an opening where there are no students on a wait list.

How do I apply to a magnet school?

All magnet program applications are submitted online.  Applications may be accessed via the Magnet Programs page during the open application window or via the magnet school website.

Does applying on the first day of the application window increase chances of being accepted?

No.  There is no advantage to applying on the first day.  The application window is open to everyone.  Selection will not be based on date of application.  A lottery system or other eligibility criteria will be used to select students for available spaces if more eligible students apply than spaces are available.

Can I submit multiple applications for the same application window?

No.  The system will only allow for one application per student based on the student’s ID per application window.

Do I need to submit an application if my student is currently enrolled in a magnet program?

Students currently enrolled in a magnet program who wish to remain in the school/program for the following year, within the program/grade configuration (PreK-8, 6-8, 9-12), do not need to submit a magnet application to remain in the school/program.  For example, 5th grade students at AAA or ASFL do not need to apply for the 6th grade program at their school.  They will automatically be accepted into the 6th grade program.

Magnet Selection Process
How does the selection process work?
  • Pre-Kindergarten – 5th Grade Applicants: If the number of applicants exceeds the number of seats available the selection will be made by a lottery that is weighted by race and that considers the composition of the home/zoned schools of applicants.
  • 6th-8th Grade Applicants: All applicants must participate in the “Next Step” process in order to be eligible for selection. The “Next Step” is dependent on the magnet program and may be an audition or essay response. Upon committee review of the next step a score is entered for the student. Students with a qualifying score will be eligible for selection. If the number of eligible applicants exceeds the number of seats available the selection will be made by lottery that is weighted by race and committee score.
  • 9th-12th Grade Applicants: All applicants must participate in the “Next Step” process in order to be eligible for selection. The “Next Step” is dependent on the magnet program and may be an audition or essay response. A holistic review of the student’s grade average and next step score will determine the overall score. Students with a qualifying score will be eligible for selection. If the number of eligible applicants exceeds the number of seats available the selection will be made by lottery that is weighted by race and committee score.
  • Columbia High School 9th and 10th grade applicants are selected based on available seats. If the number of applicants exceeds the number of seats available the selection will be made by lottery that is weighted by race and that considers the composition of the home/zoned schools of applicants. 8th grade students from ASFL do not need to apply to be accepted into the program.
How will I learn the results of my student's magnet application?

Parents will learn the results of the magnet program selection process via email (if provided by the parent) or via letter sent via US Postal Mail to the address provided in the application.

There are four types of notifications that an applicant may receive:

  1. Awarded: This notification indicates that your student has been approved for selection. Applicants who receive this notification must accept the offer either by going to the online link or by calling the Magnet Office at 256-428-6864.
  2. Automatic Declined: If the applicant does not respond by the designated date and time listed on the awarded notification, the magnet offer will be automatically declined.
  3. Wait List: This notification indicates that your student has not be selected for the applied program(s) but will be placed on a wait list until an available seat is offered or until six weeks after the start of school.
  4. Denied: This notification indicates that your student did not meet the required criteria for selection and is not eligible for the applied program. Eligibility is based on committee review scores for applicants in grades 6-12.
  5. Inactive Due to No Transcripts: Student applicants in grades 9-12 who are not currently in the Huntsville City Schools system must provide grade transcripts prior to the close of the application process. Students who did not submit transcripts in the required time period are not eligible to continue in the application process.
What will happen once I accept placement in a magnet program?

Your exiting school will receive an email notification that your child will be transferring from their school.  It will instruct them to withdraw your child from their current school for next year and send your child’s cumulative file to the magnet school.  You should complete the HCS Online Returning Student Registration Process for SY 2018/19 using the magnet school as your student’s next school when registration begins.

What happens if my child is placed on a wait list?

Eligible applicants who are not offered a seat in the initial selection process will be placed on a wait list. If openings occur in the grade/program, selection will be made by lottery that is weighted by race and committee score. This may occur as often as seats become available. Students on the waitlist will remain on the list until either of two events occur:

  1. He/she is selected for an open seat in the lottery process or
  2. The wait list expires at six weeks after the start of the school year.
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