The Osseo Area Schools Board is considering Zanewood Community School for addition to the federal magnet grant program with the Northwest Suburban Integration School District Consortium. The school would specialize in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
The district currently has six magnet schools. They are Birch Grove School for the Arts, Weaver Lake, Brooklyn Middle STEAM School, North View Middle IB World School, Osseo Senior High and Park Center Senior High IB World School.
Magnet schools are public schools with specialized courses or curricula,and draw students from across normal school zone boundaries.
One goal for a magnet school is to have a student population with a racial makeup similar to that of the general population, Superintendent Kate Maguire said.
“The goals are physical, racial integration,” she said.
Currently, Zanewood’s student racial makeup is as follows: 55.2 percent black, 19.2 percent Hispanic, 21.7 percent Asian, 3.4 percent white and less than 1 percent American Indian.
The district estimates the annual sustainability cost for Zanewood as a magnet school after a three- or five-year grant period to be $250,000.
After being identified as a racially isolated school district, the district developed four magnet schools using two federal grants, Maguire said. Other districts in the consortium also developed magnet schools during that time, Maguire said.
Federal grants provide start-up and developed funding for magnet programs, Maguire said. After the grant period has ended, the district bears the cost of sustaining magnet programs, she said.
Both three- and five-year grants are available this year, Maguire said. However, as she understands it, to be awarded a five-year grant period, a research project must be embedded in the development and implementation of the program, she said.
Weaver Lake is an example of a school in the district that changed its racial demographics after adoption a magnet program, Maguire said.
Students who are currently assigned to Zanewood as their home school would remain at Zanewood, if they so choose, Maguire said.
One reason for selecting Zanewood as a magnet school is because it has the capacity to grow, Maguire said.
Boardmember Robert Gerhart said that these grants are not often available, and he supports pursuing it.
Boardmember Mike Ostaffe said he would like to see what the specific and measurable goals of the project would be before voting on it.
The consortium decides what amount of funding to ask for in the grant application, Magurie said.
The board will take formal action regarding the grant at its Feb. 21 meeting.
Contact Kevin Miller at [email protected]