The deadline for submitting the Optional Schools Application has been extended to Friday, January 13, 2017. The reasons for this extension are varied, but they all come back to a point of equity.
District staff need additional time to ensure that all children who qualify to apply for academic magnet schools are identified and given the opportunity to do so. The district’s magnet schools with academic entrance requirements are Meigs Middle Magnet, Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet and Hume-Fogg Magnet High.
The extension applies to all families and all schools included on the application. Any families who wish to apply or make changes to their existing applications have until Friday, January 13, 2017, to do so. Parents will be able to continue to apply online or submit a paper application.
This extension changes nothing for students who already qualified to apply for Meigs, MLK or Hume-Fogg. The result of this extension will be that more students will qualify to apply for these schools, not fewer. No one will lose qualification status who already has it.
For parents, this extension has the following impacts on families:
· For families who have already applied for optional schools and do not wish to change their choices:
o The extension changes nothing, and no action is needed.
· For families who have already applied for optional schools but wish to change their choices – whether or not those choices include the academic magnet schools:
o They will now have until Friday, January 13 to do so.
· For families who have received letters stating their children qualify to apply for an academic magnet school:
o This extension will not affect qualification status.
o If they wish to make changes to their applications, they have until Friday, January 13 to do so.
· For families who have received letters stating their children do not qualify to apply for an academic magnet school:
o They may receive updated letters in the mail if there has been a change to their qualifying status.
o Note: This change is expected to happen only for a small number of families.
· For families who have received letters stating that their children’s qualifying status is still unknown:
o They may receive updated letters in the mail soon that will give a definite qualifying status.
Starting very soon, families will also be able to contact the Family Information Center to see if their children qualify. When that list is finalized, families and the public will be notified.
Because the application deadline has been extended, there will be additional changes to the Optional Schools Application calendar. Selection Day, the acceptance letter deadline and all waitlist pulls will now occur on later dates.
A fully updated calendar of Optional Schools’ Application dates will be posted to MNPS.org when all changes are final. The deadline extension also means there will be three pulls from school waitlists between now and the first day of school in 2017 rather than four.
The deadline extension is necessary in part because the process for qualifying for magnet schools with academic entrance requirements was much more complicated this year. Eligibility for Meigs, MLK and Hume-Fogg is determined using two criteria: state test scores and classroom grades.
In previous years, students who scored proficient or advanced on state tests like TCAP could be eligible to apply for one of these schools. Because state testing was canceled last year, and there were no scores to use for eligibility purposes, other tests given by the district had to be used instead. Because many test options and test administration dates could be used for qualifying, it will take additional time to ensure all students who meet this criterion have been identified.
For the grading qualification, students must maintain an average of 85 or above, with no failing grades in any individual classes, for the spring of the 2015-16 school year and the first nine weeks of the 2016-17 school year. Missing grade data from the current semester made determining that qualification difficult for many students.
Teams have been working for the last several weeks to comb through testing and grade data to ensure all students who qualify can be identified, but additional time is needed to complete the job. In the end, district leaders felt that the need to give all students eligible for academic magnets a fair chance to apply outweighed the need to keep a deadline.
The district believes strongly that no child should be denied the opportunity to apply for one of these schools because of missing data.
More information, including a list of frequently asked questions and updated calendars, is available at MNPS.org. Families can also reach out to the Family Information Center using any of the methods below.
Metro Schools Family Information Center
Live Chat at MNPS.org
2601 Bransford Avenue, 37204
(Back entrance on Berry Road)