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U-46 Community Encouraged to Offer Feedback on Magnet School Themes

May 15, 2019

As School District U-46 prepares to transition its existing five high school academies to Magnet Academies, it has issued a bilingual survey to gather feedback from students, parents, staff, and community members about the themes of two high school programs. All the academies have offered strong programming since they began 20 years ago but District leaders are reviewing how the academies at two of its high schools - Bartlett High School and Streamwood High School - can offer a unique and relevant curriculum that prepares students for the 21st century global economy.

All five academies are in various stages of a multi-year process to earn certification with Magnet Academies of America. They are:

  • BEACON Academy of Media and Digital Arts at South Elgin High School
  • Gifted and Talented Academy at Elgin High School
  • Science, Engineering and High Technology Academy at Bartlett High School
  • Visual and Performing Arts Academy at Larkin High School
  • World Languages and International Studies Academy at Streamwood High School

“U-46 is committed to creating learning environments that prepare students to be college and career-ready,” said Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools Instruction and Equity Lela Majstorovic. “The data gathered through this survey will guide the District as it transitions the current Bartlett and Streamwood High School academies to Magnet Academies.”

The survey, which is open through May 29, asks respondents to rank the importance of a variety of 21st century skills and potential new themes for the Bartlett and Streamwood academies.

Results will be used for research purposes only; all survey responses will remain confidential through Hanover Research and will only be reported to U-46 in an aggregate, or summary, form. The results will be shared with U-46 faculty, students, families and community members.

These academies have long been accessible through an application process that begins for students in 8th grade each fall. While the transition to Magnet Academies is underway, the District is also developing additional college and career academies at all of its five comprehensive high schools. These smaller learning communities may offer similar courses and programs, through a course and sequence being referred to as “Educational Pathways,” but U-46 is working to ensure the Magnet Academies remain unique opportunities for in-depth experiences and study in specific areas of interest.

The transition plan has already determined that Elgin High School’s Gifted Academy will become an International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, a process expected to take a couple of years. Meanwhile, the curriculum at South Elgin’s BEACON Academy of Media and Digital Arts was updated in 2018. The Larkin High School Visual and Performing Arts Academy will retain its focus but curriculum will also be updated over the next couple of years. All curriculum updates must go before the Board of Education for approval.

All current students in these academies, as well as the incoming freshmen class of 2019-20, can expect the same rigorous program that has been offered in the past. This review (and survey) of the current academies at Streamwood and Bartlett high schools will not impact current students or incoming freshmen. Any potential changes to these two programs are not expected to be implemented until at least 2022.