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Common Questions

About Magnet Programs

What are magnet programs?
Magnet programs offer a theme or focus that is designed to give students an opportunity to explore a special interest, gift, talent or skill. A magnet school may feature one or more magnet programs.

Do I have to apply for a magnet program?
No. It’s up to each family to decide whether to go to their neighborhood school, apply for one of the District’s many magnet program offerings or opt for another of Duval County’s Choice programs.

Why do we have magnet programs?
Magnet programs were started during the 1991–1992 school year as a voluntary desegregation plan. Today, Duval County’s magnet programs are the centerpiece of the District’s School Choice Program and promote diversity in our schools.

What is a Dreams Begin Here magnet school?
The Dreams Begin Here magnet schools refer to the 10 magnet programs that were started in 2007 as a result of the District’s Magnet Schools Assistance Program grant award of $10.9 million. The Dreams Begin Here: The Next Generation Magnet Schools are the District’s eight newest magnet programs, having started in 2010 with a $12 million Magnet Schools Assistance Program grant.

What is an Inspirations magnet school?
The Inspirations schools are seven magnet programs located mostly in the downtown area. They were funded by a $9 million grant from the federal Magnet Schools Assistance Program grant that the district received in 2004.

What is a dedicated magnet school?
A dedicated magnet school does not have a set boundary. All students who attend the school apply for acceptance through the magnet lottery. Students who live in the former attendance area of a dedicated magnet school receive first preference for admission.

When do I have to decide?
The application season is January and February, with applications due on Friday, February 28, 2014. Applications received by the deadline are processed in the magnet lottery. Applications received after the deadline are placed if and when space becomes available. You do not receive special consideration for submission of an application before the deadline.

How do I apply?
You may submit a paper or electronic application to the Magnet Programs office on or before February 28, 2014.

How do I get an application?
Each student currently enrolled in a Duval County Public School in Grades Pre-K–10 will be able to access the magnet application by logging into the Parent Portal beginning January 2nd.  Additionally, applications are available at the Magnet Office, located in the School Board Administration Building on Prudential Drive or click the Forms button at the top of this webpage to download a paper application (beginning January 2, 2014).

Does a magnet student give up the chance to get a traditional education?
No. Every student receives instruction in all subject areas that are required for promotion and/or graduation. In fact, in many cases, the magnet theme is integrated into the core curriculum.

Is a magnet school better than the non-magnet school that is close to my home?
No. Magnet Programs offer something different, but they are not designed to be better than any other school in the District.

Am I guaranteed to get in if I apply?
Unfortunately, there are no guarantees. Admission is determined by a lottery that is based on the number of openings and the number of applications received for a school or program.

What is the advantage of attending a magnet school?
Students are able to participate in the program theme and meet other students from different areas of the city.

Can anyone apply to a magnet school?
Yes! With very few exceptions, all of Duval County’s magnet programs are “open admissions.” This means that all students may apply and have a chance to be selected through the magnet lottery.

About Choice Programs

What is a Choice School?
Last year, DCPS is began a new initiative known as Reinventing School Choice. This means that all middle schools and all high schools will offer one or more “special programs” designed to attract students to the school.

Why is the District changing all middle and high schools to Choice Schools?
The District wants all schools, including neighborhood schools, to be viewed as good options for students.

Are there any exceptions?
Yes. Dedicated magnet schools are still known as magnet schools.

What about the elementary magnet schools and programs?
There is no change for the elementary magnet schools and programs.

Do the Choice Schools offer a special program or theme?
Yes. Each Choice School will offer something special. There are Choice Schools with a Career Academy; Choice Schools with an Acceleration Program; Choice Schools with a Special Program; and there are Choice Schools with a Magnet Program.

How do I apply for a Choice Program?
A Special Transfer Option application is used for most non-magnet “Choice Programs.” The exceptions include charter schools and the High School Acceleration Programs. You may submit a Special Transfer Option application to the School Choice Office on or before May 16, 2014.

Am I guaranteed to get in if I apply?
No. Just like the magnet programs, there is a lottery that is based on the number of openings versus the number of applicants for each grade level. Schools that are over utilized cannot open seats for applicants from outside the school’s attendance area.

Is there transportation to a Choice School?
No. Parents are responsible for transportation to and from a Choice School for a student who does not live within the attendance boundary of the Choice School.


How do I apply for a High School Acceleration Program?
High School Acceleration Programs are designed to serve their own neighborhood students first. Schools that have space after serving the neighborhood population may open seats for students from outside the attendance area. High School Acceleration Programs have admissions criteria, and applications are submitted directly to the school. Applications are rank ordered, and placement is offered to the most highly qualified students. Students accepted into a High School Acceleration Program from outside the attendance area must also submit a Special Transfer Option application.

What is a Charter School?
Charter Schools are public schools that operate on a performance contract with the Duval County School Board and are intended to expand school choice options for students. Charter Schools are freed from many of the regulations that govern traditional public schools, but they are held accountable for academic results and financial solvency.

How do I apply for a Charter School?
Each Charter School manages its own application process at the school. If a Charter School receives more applications than can be accommodated, a lottery is conducted to determine which students may attend. Click here for a complete listing of Charter Schools.

What is a Career Academy?
A Career Academy is a “school within a school” program that features a family-like atmosphere, integration of academic and career-related curricula, and the involvement of employers in a variety of roles. The academic course work is coordinated with a career focus, and normally there is a small group of teachers who work as a team to plan and manage the program.

What is a Middle School Acceleration Program?
A Middle School Acceleration Program is a middle school version of the High School Acceleration Programs—such as International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP),Cambridge Secondary 1 or Early High School.

What is a Choice School with a Magnet Theme?
A Choice School with magnet theme is the new way of referring to a non-dedicated magnet middle school or magnet high school. The magnet theme is still in place at these schools.