GATE Magnet Program

  • 2021-2022 school year – General information

    What is Magnet?

    The Magnet program is a GATE program offered at four Middle School sites – Clayton, Pine, Sky Ranch and Swope. Students may enter Magnet as incoming sixth or seventh grade students, although there are more openings when entering in sixth grade. Magnet is accelerated and enriched in the four core academic content areas. Core classes in Magnet contain only gifted learners who have been accepted into the Magnet program. Teachers in the four core content areas are all GT endorsed. The curriculum is specific to Magnet and goes beyond typical MS standards expected, therefore successful Magnet students typically enter High School one year ahead in science, two years ahead in mathematics and already writing and researching at the HS level.

    Outside of the core classes, Magnet is a typical middle school experience, with opportunities for a variety of electives and participation in various clubs and teams. Your student will be a full student of the Magnet site school, simply participating in an advanced curriculum as part of the Magnet program.

    Do we have to be zoned for a Magnet site to participate?

    No, however your student does need to be enrolled in the WCSD. For students accepted into the Magnet program, we will work with the Magnet site registrars to obtain a variance to attend your Magnet site. Please continue to stay enrolled in the WCSD at your zoned school, and we will take care of the rest.

    Will transportation be provided?

    The Magnet program does not provide transportation. If a Magnet student lives within a zone for transportation to a Magnet site, that student is welcome to ride the bus.

    Who can apply?

    All GATE identified 5th and 6th grade students should receive an invitation to apply on Monday, Nov. 2. The application will be online via the WCSD- GATE Program Application page.
    The initial application window will extend until Dec. 4.

    Any current 5th or 6th grade student who is eligible for GATE services/GATE identified in the WCSD may apply for the following school year.

    What is the biggest challenge?

    The Magnet program offers a heavily enriched curriculum in ELA and Social Studies and an accelerated and enriched curriculum in Math and Science, and students should expect to find challenge in all four core content areas.

    Will there be homework?

    Yes, as with any middle school course of study, homework will be part of the program. We highly discourage and disdain busywork or homework just for the sake of homework, yet the Magnet program offers a challenging and full curriculum that will require some work outside of class. Students should expect, at minimum, some reading and math skills practice most days. Classwork left unfinished in class will typically default to homework as well.

    Are the expectations high for Magnet students?

    Yes, as Magnet is an invitation only program of choice, expectations include that students attend school regularly with non-disruptive classroom behavior and maintain passing grades, generally at a B or better.

    Which Magnets sites are open?

    Applications for all four sites are open during the initial application window. The application allows applicants to select site of first and second choice. We are typically able to place students at the site of first choice.

    Magnet is a middle-school program.

    The transition from ES to MS is a big transition for all students. Some of the changes students face in middle school are an earlier daily schedule, departmentalized instruction and a new and larger peer cohort. As well, there is the change from being the oldest students at the school to the younger or youngest students at the school. New MS students often report concerns about lockers (normal year) and changing out for PE (normal year). On the bright side, there is an opportunity for school athletics (normal year), and a generally far less restrictive environment during passing periods, lunch and recess. Magnet students are as likely as any other group to experience stress associated with these changes. Our teachers are empathetic to these transitional challenges, yet will move forward quite rapidly with instruction by, at latest, the second week of school.

    When will we find out about our application?

    The GATE department will notify all families who submit an application during the application window of the results by the end of January 2021. At that time, successful applicants will have the opportunity to commit to attend the Magnet program at the site offered in the invitation for the following year. If a successful applicant chooses not to commit to attend the program, GATE will not hold a placement for that student.