116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The opening of a magnet high school for freshman and sophomores in the Cedar Rapids Community School District is being delayed until at least fall 2023.
District officials originally proposed opening a magnet high school for the beginning of the 2022-23 school year.
After gathering input from staff, students, parents and residents about the concept of a magnet high school, the district decided to delay its opening, Superintendent Noreen Bush said in an email to The Gazette.
Bush said it has become “increasingly clear” more time is needed to develop the magnet high school.
"We thought there was potentially a path to offer this concept in the fall of 2022; however, we are going to delay that offering for another year,“ Bush said. ”This will give us a better opportunity to determine some more concrete plans, including a location, and clarify the program for our students, families and community.“
The district is canceling several parent interest meetings this week, which were intended for the district to gather interest for the magnet high school.
“We continue to be excited about this possibility in the future, and we will invite feedback as we develop this idea for the future,” Bush said. “For those who were initially interested in this concept, we will be happy to work with families on options in our current offerings at the high school level.”
The district has magnet schools for kindergarten through eighth grade, and high school juniors and seniors can get the magnet school experience through Iowa BIG. Each school has a different focus such as leadership, sustainability or STEAM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math.
In the Iowa BIG program — a concept championed by The Gazette’s parent company as the community rebuilt after the historic 2008 flood — high school students team up with businesses to work on projects.
This gives its students — mostly juniors and seniors — the ability to learn and use real-world skills such as leadership, accountability and teamwork on projects about which they are passionate, while earning high school credit at the same time.
The proposed freshman and sophomore magnet high school could initially have less than 400 students. Other Cedar Rapids high schools have between 1,300 and 1,700 students each.
The district has put aside $1 million per year over the next three years of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds to go toward the high school magnet program, Bush said in November.
The district also planned to apply for a Magnet School Assistance Program grant for up to $15 million over five years from the U.S. Department of Education.
The district initially applied for this grant five years ago and did not receive funding, partially because it didn’t have magnet programs available for K-12 grade.
Grant recipients will be announced by September 2022.
The Cedar Rapids magnet school program started in 2015 with Johnson STEAM Academy, in an effort to attract more students and provide family choice.
The other Cedar Rapids magnet schools are Cedar River Academy, Johnson STEAM Academy and Kenwood Leadership Academy elementary schools and McKinley STEAM Academy and Roosevelt Creative Corridor Business Academy middle schools.
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