Saturday, January 14, 2012

Magnet School Students Honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Magnet School Students Honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

UPPER WEST SIDE — District 3 students honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On Thursday, and used the occasion to spotlight how the district's new magnet schools are helping them achieve their dreams.


Magnet school students gathered at P.S. 333's auditorium on West 93rd Street to celebrate the civil rights leader with speeches, videos and artwork. But the event doubled as a sort of pep rally to celebrate an $11 million federal grant the district won to create eight magnet schools on the Upper West Side and in Harlem.


"The roots of magnet schools are firmly planted in the struggles of the civil rights movement," District 3 Magnet Schools director Lainie Leber told students. "Just as Dr. King dreamed of a world where there would be equal opportunities for all people...Magnet schools have provided choice and opportunity for students and their families so that they too can reach their greatest possible heights."


Magnet schools receive federal money to create themed curricula that will attract a more diverse student body. The eight magnet schools in District 3, some of which have struggled with poor performance in the past, now have specialized instruction, new names and a focus on parent involvement.


District 3's grant lasts four years, but the improvements at each school are meant to be sustainable over the long run.

Fifth grader Anthony Guerrido, whose principal said he was "a hot mess" a few years ago but has since improved greatly, delivered a speech about the STEM Institute (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) magnet school, formerly known as P.S. 241, on West 113th Street.

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