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General Information

  1. What are magnet programs?
    Magnet programs are theme-oriented programs with a specialized curriculum or an emphasis on instruction that is different from that generally offered in other schools in the school system.  They provide in-depth experiences and distinct choices for students with different interests, talents, and aptitudes, while fulfilling Baltimore County Public Schools' requirements for promotion and graduation.  Access to these specialized programs is provided through the magnet application process.

  2. What magnet programs are available to students?
    Baltimore County Public Schools offers over 100 magnet programs for elementary, middle and high school students.  Descriptions of the magnet programs available at each level are provided on this site, on the Office of Magnet Programs' Web site and in the magnet program brochures.

  3. Are magnet programs only for students in GT/Advanced Academic courses?
    No.  Magnet programs address the interests and needs of a wide range of students.  Any student who has a strong interest in and a particular talent or aptitude for one of the specialized programs is encouraged to apply.  No admission advantage or priority is given to students in advanced academic courses.  Advanced academic courses are available in almost all Baltimore County public schools and are described in detail on the Office of Advanced Academic's Web site.

  4. Can students with disabilities participate in magnet programs?
    No.  Magnet Programs are viable options for all students, including students with disabilities.  Special education (IEP) and Section 504 supports and services are available in all public schools, including schools with magnet programs.  Students who are entitled to transportation as a necessary and current related service under an IEP or Section 504 Plan are eligible for transportation to a magnet school and program.

  5. Where are the magnet programs located?
    Baltimore County Public Schools provides magnet programs at three elementary school, ten middle school, and fifteen high school locations.  The host school(s) for each magnet program is identified in the program descriptions.  A map of schools hosting magnet programs is available on the Office of Magnet Programs’ Web site and in the magnet program brochures.

  6. Will my child receive transportation to and from the magnet program?
    Transportation is provided to students who live within the established transportation zone of a magnet program. The transportation zones can be found in the magnet brochures, in the program and transportation descriptions on this site, and on the Office of Magnet Programs' Web site.  Baltimore County Public Schools does not provide magnet program transportation outside of the established transportation zone.

  7. How is transportation for magnet programs provided?
    At the elementary level, some transportation is provided at pick-up points within the neighborhoods and some transportation is arranged as shuttle service from the home school location.  Shuttle service from the home school may require students to ride the regular neighborhood bus or to walk to the home school, where they are picked up as a group and then transported to the magnet program.  Schools notify parents of specific transportation provisions prior to the opening of school.

    At the secondary level, transportation is provided between a limited number of pick-up points, located at designated school sites.  Schools notify students of their respective pick-up points prior to the opening of school for the upcoming year. Parents are responsible for transporting their student to and from the pick-up points.  Pick-up points do not fall under the same guidelines as regular bus stops with regard to distance and walking conditions.  In addition, supervision is not provided by the school system at pick-up points.

Application Process – Current Residents

  1. Who may apply to magnet programs?
    Students who are eligible to attend a Baltimore County public school at the time of application may apply.  Most programs have entry grade level restrictions.  Students who are homeless are entitled to apply to a magnet program just as any other student.

  2. How do I apply for a magnet program?
    You may apply online or you may obtain a paper application from a variety of sources: public school counselors, magnet open houses, public libraries, by mail upon request, or from the Office of Magnet Programs' Web site.  Parents should carefully review all application materials, noting that most high school programs require an on-site assessment that the student must attend

  3. What documents must be submitted with the application?
    Whether you apply online or by submitting a paper application, applicants to high school magnet programs who received grade reports from a non-BCPS school for any portion of the 2016-2017 school year must submit a copy of the report card(s) to the the Office of Magnet Programs at the time of application.  Applicants who will receive  a report card from a non-BCPS school for the first quarter/trimester of the 2017-2018 school year, must submit a copy of the report card when available, but not later than December 15, 2017. Applicants seeking early admission to kindergarten, must submit a copy of the letter requesting Early Admission Kindergarten Testing to the Office of Magnet Programs at the time of application.  Applicants to high school who receive testing accommodations as part of a documented education plan in a non-BCPS school must submit a copy of the education plan with the application.  If you apply online, all of these documents may be uploaded to the application as PDF files.

  4. If my child is currently on a wait list for a magnet program, do I need to re-apply?
    All students seeking admission to a magnet program must apply for the school year for which admission is sought.  To be considered for a magnet program for the 2018-2019  school year, you MUST apply by the application deadline, Friday, November 17, 2017.  Please be aware that entry grade level restrictions may be in place for certain programs and/or schools.  Some schools and programs permit application for multiple grade levels and others do not.  Review the magnet brochure for specific information.

  5. Will I jeopardize my child's chances of being offered a seat from the current wait list if I apply for a magnet program for 2018-2019?
    No.  Your child's status on the 2017-2018 wait list will remain active until the close of business on Friday, November 3, 2017, regardless of whether or not you submit an application for the 2018-2019 school year. 

  6. May I select more than one magnet program on the application?
    You may select three programs on the application.  Only one application may be submitted for each applicant.

  7. May I fax my application?
    No.  Applications are to be submitted online by 1:00 p.m. on Friday, November 17, 2017 or sent via U.S. mail or an approved carrier to the Office of Magnet Programs, 105 W. Chesapeake Avenue, Jefferson Building, Towson, MD 21204, postmarked by Friday, November 17, 2017.  
                             
                          
  8. May I change my selection(s) after submitting my application?
    ANY changes in program selection(s) MUST be made by updating the online application or by submitting a REVISED paper application by the application deadline, Friday, November 17, 2017.

  9. How will I know that my application is received?
    Online applicants will receive an e-mailed confirmation of receipt.  For verification of mailed applications, parents are strongly encouraged to send the application via certified mail, with a return receipt requested from the U.S. Post Office. The certified mail receipt serves as verification of delivery and as your proof of timely submission.  
     
  10. What happens if my application is received after the deadline or is not received?
    Applications will not be processed without proof of timely submission (i.e., a clear date stamp or a certified mail receipt).  This includes applications postmarked, hand-delivered, or received without a legible postal date stamp after the application deadline, Friday, November 17, 2017.

Application Process – New Residents

  1. Can I apply for a magnet program if my child moves into Baltimore County after the application deadline?
    Parents of students who are new residents of Baltimore County after the application deadline and before the start of the school year for which admission is being sought may submit a New Resident Letter of Interest to the Office of Magnet Programs.  Information regarding the new resident application process, the letter of interest, and required documentation is made available on the Office of Magnet Programs' Web site beginning in April of each year.  New resident applicants are considered if program seats become available and the wait list for the program is exhausted.

  2. If my child lives in Baltimore County but does not attend a public school in Baltimore County, can I apply as a new resident?
    No.  A student who lived in Baltimore County prior to the application deadline, whether or not the student attended a Baltimore County public school, is not eligible to apply as a new resident.  Any student who lived in Baltimore County prior to the application deadline was eligible to apply during the regular application cycle.

Admission Process – Qualification

  1. What are the requirements to be considered for placement in a magnet program?


    Elementary
    Elementary magnet school applicants must be eligible to attend a Baltimore County public school and, if applying to kindergarten, must either meet Maryland Age of Entry requirements at the time of application or must qualify for early admission to kindergarten as a result of testing at their zoned elementary schools.  (A copy of the letter requesting early admission to kindergarten testing must be submitted with the magnet application.)  There are no other academic or performance criteria for the elementary magnet programs.

    Middle
    Middle magnet school applicants must be eligible to attend a Baltimore County public school. There are no other academic or performance criteria for the middle magnet programs.

    High
    High school magnet school applicants must be eligible to attend a Baltimore County public school and must complete the magnet evaluation and assessment process.  For most high school magnet programs, the evaluation includes an assessment of the student's academic performance for the most recent 5 quarters/4 trimesters and a program specific assessment conducted by the school hosting the magnet program.


  2. How is academic performance evaluated? (for high school ONLY)
    The academic performance for the previous year and the first quarter/trimester of the current year may be reviewed and evaluated.  Program specific academic criteria and associated point values are provided in the Assessment Guidelines.

    The academic grade reports will be obtained from system data for high school applicants who have received only Baltimore County Public Schools report cards during the 2016-2017 and the first quarter of the 2017-2018 school year.  Applicants who received grade reports from a non-BCPS school for any portion of the 2016-2017 school year must submit a copy of the report cards at the time of application.  Applicants who will receive a report card from a non-BCPS school for the first quarter/trimester of the 2017-2018 school year, must submit a copy of the report card when received, but by no later than December 15, 2017.

    Academic grades, current mathematics enrollment and attendance may be reviewed. Students are awarded points for meeting established standards. There is no weighting or special consideration given to grades received in gifted and talented classes, trimester grades, or grades that are calculated on scales other than those used by Baltimore County Public Schools.  (For additional information, please refer to the High School Magnet Program Scoring Guidelines - http://www.bcps.org/offices/omp/high/scoring_guidelines.html)

  3. What is the magnet assessment? (for high school ONLY)
    Most high schools with magnet programs conduct assessments that are specific to each magnet program and may include an audition, practicum, interview, writing sample, test, and/or performance assessment.  It is the responsibility of the parent to note the date and time of the assessment, to review the application materials, and to ensure that the applicant prepares for and attends the assessment.  Assessment Guidelines are available on the Office of Magnet Programs' Web site.

  4. Why is it important to obtain the Assessment Guidelines prior to the assessment(s)? (for high school ONLY)
    The Assessment Guidelines contain specific information regarding the components of each assessment and any preparation required prior to the assessment. They may also include sample questions and self-evaluation tools.  The guidelines may be downloaded from the Office of Magnet Programs' Web site, or they may be obtained from individual schools at which assessments are held.  It is the parent's responsibility to obtain the Assessment Guidelines for each program to which the applicant applies.

  5. What if my child has documented testing accommodations?
    Students receiving special education, 504, and/or ESOL services are given the same consideration in the selection process as all other students.  Documented testing accommodations and modifications will be provided during the high school magnet assessment process.  Parents of students not attending a Baltimore County public school must submit documentation of testing accommodation requirements with the magnet application.  

    Parents of children with Special Education plans are strongly encouraged to work with the school's Special Education team and/or Special Education Transition Facilitator in completing the magnet application.  

Admission Process – Selection

  1. Do students currently enrolled in magnet programs receive preference in selection for magnet programs at the next level (middle or high)?
    No.  Current magnet students must reapply for the next level (ex. fifth grader going to middle school or eighth grader going to high school) and are not provided any preference in the application process.

  2. Do students currently on a wait list for a magnet program get preferential placement in the next application cycle?
    No.  All applicants are given equal consideration in the selection process.  In order to be considered for placement in the next application cycle, wait-listed students must apply and qualify for their program(s) of interest.  Some grade-level restrictions may apply.

  3. How are applicants selected for placement in a magnet program?
    If there are fewer eligible applicants than seats available for a magnet program, all eligible applicants are offered placement.  If the number of eligible applicants exceeds the number of seats available, seats are first filled with priority placements and then a random lottery is conducted to fill all remaining seats and to generate a wait list.  For high school magnet programs, applicants who score a minimum of 80% on the admission criteria are given first consideration in the lottery placements.  Applicants who score less than 80% on the admission criteria are then considered for placement in descending order of their score.
                           
                          
  4. Who receives priority placement in magnet programs?
    Child of an Employee – If the primary work site of a BCPS employee is a school with a magnet program and the employee's child applies to and is eligible for a magnet program in that school, and for high school applicants, meets at least 80% of the admission criteria, the child will be given priority placement in the magnet program.

    Kindergarten Sibling Priority Placement
    - At the elementary level, kindergarten applicants who have an older sibling who is currently enrolled in and who will continue to attend the same magnet program for which admission is being sought receive preferential placement for that program. 

    High School Priority Placement
    - Up to 20% of the available seats will first be filled by applicants who score 80% or higher on the admissions criteria and who earn the highest scores on the magnet assessment(s).

    NOTE: Sibling applicants, including multiples, do not receive preferential placement.

  5. How and when will I be notified of my admission status?
    Elementary and Middle School applicants will receive written notification of their status from the Magnet Programs' office by early February.  High School applicants receive written notification of their status from the Magnet Programs' office by early March. The following status categories are possible:

    • Admitted: The applicant is offered a seat in the program.
    • Wait Listed: The applicant is not offered a seat at that time (see below). Instead, the applicant is assigned a wait list number.
    • Disqualified: The applicant did not complete the application process. Applications are considered incomplete if any required materials are not submitted or if the applicant does not attend the required audition/assessment for the magnet program(s) to which he/she applied.  The applicant is not offered admission to the program nor placed on the wait list.
    • Not Eligible:  An application was submitted for a program to which the applicant could not apply due to residency, age-of-entry status, or grade-level restrictions.

  6. If I am offered and accept a magnet placement, what do I need to do next?
    Parents will need to schedule a registration appointment with the school.  Failure to register in a timely manner may result in forfeiture of the program seat.

    PLEASE NOTE:
    1. Enrollment in a magnet program is contingent upon proof of eligibility to attend a Baltimore County public school.
    2. The parent is responsible for providing transportation to and from the magnet program if transportation is not provided by Baltimore County Public Schools.  Where transportation is provided by Baltimore County Public Schools, parents are responsible for transporting their student to and from the designated magnet bus stop.
    3. When placement is accepted in a magnet program that is not in the child's zoned (neighborhood) school, the child will be enrolled as a "Special Transfer" student under the terms and conditions of Policy and Rule 5140 (available at http://www.bcps.org/system/policies_rules/).

Admission Process - Wait List

  1. How do I get my child on a wait list?
    Only students for whom an application was submitted by the deadline and who are eligible for a magnet program can be placed on a wait list.  When there are more eligible applicants for a magnet program than there are seats to accommodate them, a random lottery selection process is used to fill the available seats and create a wait list for the program.  Placement on the wait list means that your child applied and is eligible for the program and, as a result of the lottery process, was not selected for initial placement.  Wait lists are maintained until the close of business on the last day of the first quarter of the school year for which admission is sought.

  2. What does the wait-list number mean?
    The wait-list number indicates your child's position on the wait list.  You will need this number when checking on your child's wait-list status.  Your child's wait-list number will not change even though the number of students on the wait list may decrease as placements are offered.

  3. How can I check the status of the wait list?
    The wait-list status for all programs is posted on the Magnet Programs' Web site (www.bcps.org/offices/omp) beginning in mid-April. The posted wait list will identify the next wait-list number to be contacted if a program seat becomes available, as well as the next scheduled update.  It is recommended that parents frequently check the wait list for updates.

  4. What are my child's chances of getting into a program from the wait list?
    If an applicant is offered placement in a magnet program and declines the seat, the Magnet Programs' staff will contact the next applicant on the wait list by telephone and by email.  This process continues until the close of business on the last day of the first quarter of the school year for which admission is sought.  It is impossible to predict how many, if any, applicants may decline a placement offer.  If all of the seats in a program are filled, no additional applicants will be offered placement from the wait list.

  5. How will I be contacted with a placement offer?
    The Office of Magnet Programs will contact parents of wait-listed applicants by telephone using the number provided on the application and by email using the email addresses provided with the application.  If no one is available to take the call, the Magnet Programs' staff must be able to leave a message.  It is the parent's responsibility to inform the Magnet Programs staff if a phone number or email address changes.

  6. If my child is offered placement, how long will I have to make a decision?
    The parent will have three (3) calendar days in which to respond to the placement offer.  If the last day to accept the offer falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or a school system holiday, the period ends on the next day which is not a Saturday, Sunday, or school system holiday.  Failure to respond by the deadline will result in forfeiture of the seat and the offer will be extended to the next applicant on the wait list.

  7. If I accept a seat in one program, will my child be removed from the wait list(s) for other programs?
    No.  Unless you inform the Magnet Programs' staff that you want your child to be removed from the list(s), your child will remain on the other wait list(s) until you are offered a seat or until the wait list is no longer active.  If you decline a placement offer for a program, your child will be removed from only that program's list.

  8. If I have two or more children on a wait list for the same magnet program or school and one is offered a seat, will the sibling(s) be offered placement at the same time?
    No.  Sibling applicants, including multiples, receive no priority placement from the wait lists.  Applicants can only be offered placement in the order in which they appear on the wait list.

  9. If I accept a magnet placement offer from the wait list, what do I need to do next?
    Parents will need to schedule a registration appointment with the school.  Failure to register in a timely manner may result in forfeiture of the program seat.

    PLEASE NOTE: 
    • Enrollment in a magnet program is contingent upon proof of eligibility to attend a Baltimore County public school. 
    • The parent is responsible for providing transportation to and from the magnet program if transportation is not provided by Baltimore County Public Schools.
    • When placement is accepted in a magnet program that is not in the child's zoned (neighborhood) school, the child will be enrolled as a "Special Transfer" student under the terms and conditions of Policy and Rule 5140 (available at http://www.bcps.org/system/policies_rules/).

  10. What should I do if my child is not offered placement from the wait list by the start of the school year?
    You will need to enroll your child in his/her zoned (neighborhood) school or any other school where your child has been offered placement.

  11. Could my child be offered a seat after the school year starts?
    Yes.  Placement offers may be made until the close of business on the last day of the first quarter of the school year for which admission is sought.  If you accept a magnet program placement after the start of the school year, your child will be permitted to transfer at that time.  The school will assist parents in the transfer and registration process.

Withdrawal Process

  1. Is it possible for my child to transfer from one magnet program to another? 
    No. Students may not transfer from one magnet program to another.  Students wishing to change magnet programs must apply, qualify, and be offered placement for the program during the regular application cycle.  Some grade-level restrictions may be in place for certain programs.

  2. Can my child stay in the magnet program if we move?
    Students admitted to the magnet programs may remain in the program as long as their parents are residents of Baltimore County, and the student has not been withdrawn.  If a family or student moves within Baltimore County but out of the magnet program's transportation zone, transportation will not be provided by BCPS.

  3. Can I request a temporary leave of absence from a magnet program?
    A parent of a student enrolled in a magnet program may request a temporary leave of absence.  Any request for temporary leave from a magnet school or program must be approved in writing, in advance of such leave of absence, by the principal of the school.  Re-enrollment in a magnet program will not be granted if the student is withdrawn without a pre-approved leave of absence.

  4. Under what circumstances will a leave-of-absence request be considered?

    • A student may be granted a leave of absence for a maximum of one (1) year if the family and/or student move(s) out of Baltimore County temporarily.
    • A student may be granted a leave of absence from the magnet program for the period of time necessary to complete any of the following: a stay as a patient in a hospital for an extended period of time or enrollment in a licensed full-time substance abuse treatment program.
    • A student may be granted a leave of absence from the magnet program for medical reasons for the period of time necessary to complete treatment and/or recovery from treatment. Requests which are based on medical, physical, or mental health reasons must be accompanied by documentation from a physician or mental health provider.

  5. Under what circumstances can my child be removed from a magnet program?
    (1)  Parents may remove students from magnet schools and programs and return them to their home schools. Principals of the students' home schools will not deny the enrollment of such students.

    (2)  Students who violate the provisions of Policy 5550: Disruptive Behavior, or Policy 5540: Alcoholic Beverages and Drugs, will be suspended and expelled in accordance with applicable policies and rules. At the end of the expulsion period, the superintendent's designee, in consultation with the area office, may either return the students to the magnet program from which they were expelled or to another appropriate, non-magnet school or program.

    (3)  A student may be withdrawn from a magnet program at the end of the year failure in one or more required magnet courses in a magnet program

A student who is withdrawn from a magnet program housed in a comprehensive school will be required to attend the student's home school unless an application for Special Permission Transfer to another comprehensive school is filed by the parent and approved in accordance with Policy and Rule 5140.

Students in danger of being withdrawn from a magnet program will receive written notification of their status. Counseling regarding the propriety of a student's continuation in magnet schools and programs will take place at the end of the school year. Any decision by the principal to withdraw a student from a magnet program because of academic failure in a magnet course must be approved in advance by the coordinator of Magnet Programs, or a designee. The principal will provide the student's parent(s) with a written explanation of the basis for the withdrawal that includes the process for appealing the decision.

Appeal Process

  1. Under what circumstances can I appeal?
    Parents have the right to appeal any admission or dismissal decision, but must do so in accordance with Superintendent's Rule 6400.

  2. How do I appeal an admission or dismissal decision?
    Appeals must be made by the parent in writing to the Director of Educational Options, within ten (10) calendar days from the date of the notification (decision) letter or the postmarked date, whichever is later. An appeal will be considered timely filed, if, within the allotted time period, it has been delivered to the Director of Educational Options, or postmarked, or deposited in the U.S. mail as registered or certified mail.  Electronic submissions are not accepted.

  3. What happens when an admission or dismissal decision is appealed to the Director of Educational Options?
    The Director or the Director's designee researches any relevant concerns raised in the appeal; reviews all relevant documentation, policies, rules, and procedures; and makes a determination as to whether or not the decision was made in accordance with Board Policy and Superintendent's Rule 6400 and the admission/ withdrawal procedures for Magnet Programs.

  4. How will I be informed of an appeal decision?
    When an appeal is made to and evaluated by the Director of Educational Options, the parent receives a written decision.  The response will include the basis for the decision.

  5. What If my appeal is denied by the Director of Educational Options?
    Appeals of magnet admissions or dismissal decisions by the Director of Educational Options must be made in writing to the Superintendent within ten (10) calendar days of the date of the denial letter from the Director of Educational Options, or the postmarked date, whichever is later.  An appeal will be considered timely filed, if, within the allotted time period, it has been delivered to the Superintendent, or postmarked, or deposited in the U.S. mail as registered or certified mail. Electronic submissions will not be accepted. The Superintendent or the Superintendent's designee will research and evaluate the appeal and issue a written decision.

    If the appeal is denied by the Superintendent, or a designee, the written decision will inform the parent(s) of the right to appeal in writing to the Board within thirty (30) calendar days of the date of the denial letter in accordance with §4-205 of the Education Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland and Policy 8339 – Internal Board Policies: Operations, Appeal Before Hearing Examiner. An appeal will be considered timely filed, if, within the allotted time period, it has been delivered to the Board, postmarked, or deposited in the U.S. Mail as registered or certified mail.

Other Questions

  1. What if my question is not addressed here?
    Please explore the Office of Magnet Programs' Web site in depth to get answers to other questions.  To help you in your research, the Web site contains links to a variety of information including program descriptions, application materials, timelines, a flyer for the Magnet EXPO!, magnet showcase schedules, and magnet assessment schedules.  There is also a map showing the locations of the magnet programs to assist applicants in making application selections.

For additional information, please call the Office of Magnet Programs at

(443) 809-4127.