Fair offers fun and answers

Jan. 28, 2013 @ 08:25 PM

On the table were more than a dozen bubbling cups of red liquid.
“Come try it,” said the teacher wearing a white lab coat. “It’s good.”
James Comer, a 10-year-old science fan, was eager to try the mixture of dry ice and a syrupy liquid.
“It was cold and good,” he said after a swallow.
“It’s soda,” said Deborah Roll, a teacher at Welborn Middle School Academy of Science and Technology, who was one of dozens of teachers and administrators answering questions Monday about the 50 magnet school programs parents can choose. Several schools offered demonstrations at a Guilford County Schools magnet fair at Showplace to attract students and parents. All had information parents need to apply for attendance next year.
Matthew Abbott, 16, has an interest in aviation. He directed his family to the T.W. Andrews High School Aviation Academy exhibit.
“I want to be a pilot,” he said. “This could be a good program for me.”
The aviation magnet  program is one of three in North Carolina and 52 in the country. The school has a Piper airplane simulator.
Magnet programs range from performing arts to the sciences. District leaders say magnet schools have a proven record of academic success. Six of the district’s magnet schools were 2010 Honor Schools of Excellence, the highest level a school can obtain on the ABCs, the state’s accountability system. 
Next fall, the Welborn Middle School building will be home for a new magnet “advantage” academy. It will open with 100 fifth graders while renovations progress at the Allen Jay Middle School campus. The vacant campus is slated for $12 million in renovations for the new academy. But because construction has yet to start, district leaders had to find a temporary home.
“We’ve had good interest in the school, but because of the changes we have to get the new information out there,” said Kevin Wheat, principal of the new academy. “We’ll have our own school in a wing of the building.”
The new academy will offer special programs and a longer school day and year.  Teachers will use strategies similar to those in the Knowledge is Power Program schools and the Ron Clark Academy.
“It is a phenomenal program that is supportive of children and with 100 students everyone will know everybody,” Wheat said.
Guilford County Schools will offer five High School Options information nights throughout January and February to give parents a chance to meet  representatives from each of the high school programs. The last one scheduled for High Point area schools is from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Feb. 12 at Ragsdale High School, Jamestown.
The school district offers 21 high school programs that can prepare students for career programs or provide college credit, tuition-free.  In some cases, students can earn associate degrees or trade certifications while attending high school. 

Magnet Schools

Themes: Established themes include Montessori, International Baccalaureate and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

Applications: Taken through Feb. 22. Available at any magnet school, at the Guilford County Schools Student Assignment Office at 120 Franklin Boulevard, Greensboro, by calling (336) 370-8303 and online at www.gcsnc.com.

Information: www.gcsnc.com/magnet.