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Elementary and Primary Education
Houston ISD Board of Education
News Release
Thursday, December 08, 2011

HISD Board of Education to Consider Magnet Program Policy
Board will also discuss creating new Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School   

The HISD Board of Education today will consider giving initial approval to a new policy governing the district’s popular magnet schools, which are designed to offer a high level of academic rigor and specialized themes that attract students from across the city.

The Board’s regular monthly meeting begins at 5 p.m. on Thursday, December 8, 2011 in the Board auditorium of the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center (4400 West 18th St., 77092).

The proposed policy would help simplify the magnet school application process by calling for the creation of a standard application form allowing for multiple school choices by the student. Each middle school and high school magnet program would have common admissions criteria as identified by the magnet theme and subject to auditions for the fine arts programs. Elementary magnet programs, except for Vanguard magnets that are designed for gifted students, would not have admissions criteria.

The proposed policy would also create processes for the creation of new magnet programs and set standards for magnet schools to meet if they are to continue operating as magnets.

In addition, the proposed policy calls for the creation of program funding formulas, which take into account program costs, unique themes, and innovation. If given preliminary approval, the policy would be considered for final approval at a later meeting.

Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School Proposed

The Board is also scheduled to vote on creating the district’s first Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School. The school would open in the fall of 2012 with students in early elementary school grades. Additional grade levels could be added in subsequent years. The school would be located at the site of the former Holden Elementary School, 812 West 28th Street.

Mandarin Chinese is the most spoken language in the world and U.S. trade with China has increased more than 600 percent over the past decade. Texas is second only to California among states that do the most business with China.

Last week, national leaders in Chinese language and culture education visited HISD to discuss the district’s plan to expand programs that teach Chinese language and culture. Click here to watch a video about the meeting.

HISD has applied for a $150,000 seed grant from the College Board to create a prestigious Confucius Institute, which would serve as a central hub of HISD’s Chinese language program, offering information and instructional resources, coordinating professional development for teachers, and strengthening partnerships with local and national organizations and institutions that have expertise.

The district, in partnership with the Asia Society, currently operates Confucius Classrooms at three schools: International High School at Sharpstown, Houston Academy for International Studies, and Kolter Elementary School. HISD also plans to expand the number of these classrooms and to seek additional models to increase access for students to learn about the language and culture of China.

The Board is scheduled to receive status updates on a number of projects and vote on several programs, contracts, and grants. For a full copy of the Board meeting agenda, click here.  The Board meeting will be carried live on HISD’s website and on the HISD Channel, which can be found on Comcast Channel 18 or AT&T Channel 99.

Ocean Star

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