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Magnet schools fair offers one-stop shopping for parents

An open house Saturday gives parents a chance to learn about programs and meet teachers in Wake County's magnet schools.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The Wake County Magnet School Program will host a fair Saturday that offers one-stop-shopping for parents.

At the fair – which will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School – parents can talk with administrators, teachers and students to decide which program is the best fit for their child.

There are 39 magnet schools in Wake County that offer 17 different themes. Three new schools are being added for the 2013-14 school year: Fox Road Elementary School, Green Elementary School and Carroll Middle School.

Within the magnet program, there are gifted and talented themes, engineering, creative arts and more. One of the newest themes to be offered next year is leadership and world languages, which will teach Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.

But the competition to get into these schools is tough. Administrators said less than 50 percent of those who apply are accepted, so parents need to be strategic in planning.

"Kindergarten is the best year to apply because that's when we have the most seats open,” said Tamani Anderson Powell, director of Magnet and Curriculum Enhancement Programs. “Then again, sixth grade and ninth grade are where people make different choices and transitions, and those are also good years to apply."

Powell said the fair will be the only one before applications are due in January.

“Take your time, really look around at the different programs and see what they offer,” she said. “Make sure you find one that fits your child.”

The right fit, she said, isn’t always the most popular program.

“Don’t just look at the popular ones,” Powell said. “Look at all, so you can make an informed decision.”


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