Here I am proposing a Magnet School/Choice Task Force to the Superintendent and School Board.
Americans love choice; walk through the cereal or toothpaste aisle at any store if you’re not convinced. All parents want the very best for their children. Many are willing to make sacrifices of money and convenience to enroll their child in what they perceive as the best available school. The fact that this year Leon County Schools had nearly 3,700 new choice requests for a school outside of their home-zoned school proves this point. Another 1,000 parents are homeschooling their children and 5,000 are choosing our 41 private schools, not including FAMU or FSU Developmental Research Schools.
There are many good reasons people choose a school other than their zoned school, such as work proximity, special programs, religion and tradition. There are also very ill informed reasons caused by misleading school grades, rumor mill, prejudice and misconceptions.
Often schools are too busy dealing with what they are doing to effectively market themselves and create new programs. It’s up to us in the Leon County School District to help them. To do this right, we’ll need help from the business community, developers, realtors and the City and County governments to help us make every school a good choice and an informed choice.
My Proposal–Include a wide-range of stakeholders to:
- Map out a long-range vision/plan to make all schools attractive to a broad socio-economic mix of students.
- Provide district support to existing magnet schools and programs and create new attractive, dynamic K-12 magnet programs in targeted schools.
- Design a marketing campaign to better inform parents of new and existing Leon County School options to those who are choosing to attend private, home, charter and public schools outside their school zone.