A look at Cedar Rapids magnet schools - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

A look at Cedar Rapids magnet schools

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We are taking a closer look at a  growing school trend in Cedar Rapids, magnet schools.

The Cedar Rapids Community School District has  two elementary magnet schools already and plans to open their first middle school in the fall. 

A magnet school is a public school that is theme based, meant to allow parents to have a choice in the type of learning environment they want for their child. 

For example, Johnson Steam Academy has a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics theme. 

It's a place where they try to bring learning to life through hands-on activities and impressive technology. 

Today was one of five discovery days Johnson offers each year which allows students to choose a class focusing on something they are interested in. 

For example, in one class students were using electric paint to draw designs on paper, attach them to a computer and then press on their artwork to control a piano on the computer. 

"They are learning about science, they are learning about technology, they are integrating art," says Cassidy Reinken, Magnet Coordinator. 

Other classes offered mixing concoctions to learn about solids and liquids, writing fancy letters or even building structures out of straws. 
"I think it's fun because of the projects we get to do and some of the hands on learning," says Katelyn Kern, a student. 

While today was a special discovery day we are told a typical school day follows curriculum while taking a different route to get there, often incorporating hands on learning and technology. 
"An innovative environment with more hands on learning typically project based learning that connects skills to the real world," Reinken told us. 

Students say they are enjoying their time at Johnson.

"We have like a lot of technology at this school that we get to use like almost every day so that's really fun,"   Zoe Morey-Geissinger told us. 
Roosevelt Creative Corridor Business Academy is the middle school that will open in the fall, it will have a business theme.    

The magnet schools celebrate diversity, this school year 47% of students are not white. 

If a student lives out of the attendance zone and wants to go to a magnet school they need to apply for lottery enrollment which will randomly draw students to fill open spots. 

The deadline to apply for lottery enrollment at the elementary schools is March 12th at 11:59 p.m. 

The middle school application deadline is April 7th at 11:59 p.m. 

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