WINSTON-SALEM/FORSYTH COUNTY SCHOOLS MAGNET PROGRAMS
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are Magnet schools and how do they differ from other district schools?
Magnet schools are classified under a broad definition of school choice in which application and random selection is used to select and admit students.
Magnet Schools are offered at elementary, middle and high school grade spans in order to provide options for families encouraging their student’s intensive study in specific areas. WSFC Magnet programs are designed to reflect the diversity of the district and are designated to attract students from across the District. Magnet programs provide personalized learning environments aimed at increasing student achievement and permit students to focus on a particular interest, talent, or career path.
Who is eligible to apply to a WSFC Magnet School?
Families who are eligible to enroll in a District school, or will be enrolled in a grade level served by a magnet program, may apply for admission. Some admission requirements exist for specific programs, such as The Downtown School, which requires the family to live or work in the immediate Downtown area. [See individual school website for more details.]
One of the goals of Magnet programs in WSFCS is to recruit students whose unique language needs or abilities, socio-economic circumstances, race, ethnicity, gender and exceptional needs are underrepresented in the magnet school. Another goal is to ensure students have ample opportunities to enroll in educational programs that may not be available in their zone school.
When does the application window begin? What is the deadline for submitting an application? What if I miss the deadline?
The Magnet Enrollment/Application Period begins January 1 of the year prior to the enrollment year and runs through the end of January. The deadline for applications is posted on the district’s website. Only applications completed during the Magnet Enrollment Period window will be eligible for seats in any of the Magnet programs, with the exception of Early College of Forsyth and Middle College of Forsyth. [See individual school website for more details.]
If you miss the deadline, download an application from the District’s website and send directly to the Magnet School Office. Your student will then be added to the waitlist for the magnet school/s requested.
Is there any advantage to applying early in the application period for a Magnet School?
No. Applications are not processed on a first-come, first-served basis. All magnet school applications received during the application period are entered into the Magnet lottery process.
How do I apply?
Families apply using the online application during the established Application Period. The online application allows families to request up to three magnet school options for elementary schools and up to two options for middle and high schools. The lottery will consider all first choice options first, then all second choice options, and lastly all third choice options (for elementary schools only). Families should select their most wanted magnet school option as their first choice.
Employee and Sibling preferences (if a sibling of an applicant is currently enrolled in the chosen magnet school) are considered first, and then if more applications are received than available Magnet seats, the student’s name go into a lottery. The lottery is random, and results will be available by the end of January. Please note that the available seats are generally in the entry level grades only.
How does the online application work?
Starting on January 1, families can visit the Student Assignment page and click on the sign-up link. The parent of the child applying will need a valid email address during the sign-up process to create an online account. Once the online account is created, families can add applications for your each child by clicking on the “Add Application” button at the top of the page. Please make sure you SUBMIT the application by clicking on the “SUBMIT” button. After completing the application and submitting it, you will be redirected back to your initial page. Your submitted applications will be viewable on the page.
If you would like to change your choices for a particular application, simply click on the edit button for that application and make the necessary changes. The edit link will only work until the application deadline.
Please make sure to only submit one application per child as duplicates will not be allowed.
Also, if your child is currently a student in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, you will need his/her student number to apply. This number can be found on report cards, progress reports, or by contacting your child’s school.
If you want to check on your application or make edits to your choices, you can re-visit the online application at any time by visiting the Student Assignment page and clicking on the login link. You can use the email address and password provided during the sign-up process to access your applications. If you forgot your password, use the “forgot my password” link to retrieve it via email. By submitting the email for this account, you will be emailed your password.
What if the parent does not have a valid email address?
Families who do not have a valid email address will need to complete a paper application, which can be downloaded at our Magnet application page The paper application should be mailed or delivered to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Magnet Schools Office, 475 Corporate Square Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27105, prior to the Magnet Enrollment Period Deadline. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
Can a student outside of Forsyth County apply to a WS/FC Magnet School?
Families residing outside of Forsyth County cannot complete an online application to a Magnet School. However, if the family desires placement at a magnet school and is willing to pay tuition, the family can complete a paper application and submit it to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Magnet Schools Office, 475 Corporate Square Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27105, prior to the January Magnet Enrollment Period Deadline. Out-of-district applications will only be accepted for magnet schools where space is available. For more information or questions, please call the Magnet Schools Office at (336) 727-2519, ext. 4.
Will I receive confirmation when I apply online?
Families who apply online will receive an online confirmation after completing the application. The submitted application can be viewed at any time during the Magnet period by logging into the Magnet online application system. Families who submit a paper application and would like to receive confirmation, should mail the application to Magnet School Office at the specified address via certified mail. Families are also strongly encouraged to provide a valid email address for confirmation and notification purposes.
What age does my child have to be to enter Kindergarten?
Children who are five (5) years of age on or before August 31, of enrollment year, may enter Kindergarten.
Students entering Kindergarten must complete a paper application for Magnet School admission unless they are currently enrolled in a District (WS/FC) Preschool. If your child is currently attending a WS/FC school, he/she will have a student number needed to complete the online application.
If my child is attending a public WSFCS Preschool, do we need to apply for Kindergarten?
Yes. If your child currently attends any Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Preschool (other than The Downtown Preschool), and he or she wishes to attend Kindergarten in any of our Magnet programs, you will need to apply online for Kindergarten. Please include the child’s student number to complete the online application.
My child is in a Magnet School currently. Do I need to reapply?
No. Families do not have to reapply to their current Magnet School each year. Students may stay at their current Magnet School through the highest grade at the school. For example, students who are chosen for The Downtown School may remain through 8th grade, or students entering R.J.Reynolds in the 9th grade may remain through 12th grade.
I filled out an online application, but have visited schools and changed my mind on my first choice. Can I change my choices?
Yes, any time before the application period deadline, families can edit their application noting their updated first, second or third (elementary school only) choices. Each time you edit school choices, you should receive a new confirmation number. The edit link will only be available through the application deadline.
How are students selected for admission to Magnet Schools?
Families apply using the online application during the application period. The online application allows families to select first, second and third choices – only elementary schools will have a third option available. After the application period ends, the total number of applications to the individual schools will be reviewed as well as the number of Magnet seats available per school. If the applications totals should exceed the number of Magnet seats available, the students will be entered into a randomized lottery. This lottery is conducted the last week in January and is open to the public.
How does the Lottery work?
When there are more students who apply to a magnet school than magnet seats available, students participate in the Magnet Lottery. The lottery assigns students based on a random number. After all available seats are assigned; the lottery will establish a randomized waitlist for the remaining applicants.
What is the waitlist?
If the student is not selected for their first, second, or third choice (elementary only) during the lottery, then the student will go onto the school’s waitlist. The waitlist are also randomized at the time of the lottery.
Waitlists are checked by Student Assignment periodically following the lottery. If a seat becomes available, the school will contact the next person on the waitlist and offer them a seat. The student has the opportunity to accept or decline placement. The school will continue to contact students until all available seats are filled.
The waitlists do have an order; additions go to the bottom of the waitlist. Students who apply for the Magnet school after the lottery, and don’t get their first choice, are added to their first choice school’s waitlist. Applicants accepted from the waitlist after July 1 will be contingent upon course accommodations (specifically at the high school level).
How will families be notified of their child’s Magnet School assignment?
Families, who apply online and provide an email address, will receive email notification of placement in early February. All families who have met the enrollment deadline will be notified by U.S. Mail of their child’s acceptance to a magnet school in early February. If your child is offered a seat at one of your choices, you will have the opportunity to accept or decline the offer. Once the results of the lottery and Magnet assignments have been processed, you can login to the online application to view the results.
Please check your email spam folder for emails coming from the application system if you do not receive them in your inbox.
Do families have to respond to the offer? How long is the offer good?
Yes. The school needs to know if indeed you or your student will attend the school. School personnel should make contact with the family of the accepted student within two weeks of the acceptance letters being mailed (letters mailed early February). If you do not hear directly from the school, please call the schools’ guidance department and ask for assistance with enrollment. Families need to notify the school if they are accepting or declining their Magnet seat. If the school does not receive a response of acceptance of the magnet seat, the Magnet Seat could be passed on to a waitlist candidate.
Once you have accepted the offer, the student’s assignment at the magnet school is good through the highest grade level at that school provided the student remains in good standing and continues to meet program requirements.
Can English Language Learners and Students with disabilities participate in the WSFCS Magnet School Application?
Yes. The school needs to know if you or your student is identified as an English Language Learner or Exceptional child so that services may be provided; however, all school acceptances are lottery based, and thus all students have an equal opportunity to participate in any of the WSFCS’ Magnet programs.
What if I don’t get any of my choices?
Some Magnet programs have more applicants than seats available, reducing the chances of securing a seat in the program. If your child did not receive any of the Magnet School choices, he/she may be placed on the student’s 1st, 2nd or 3rd choice (Elementary only) school’s waitlist.
What happens after I have my Magnet assignment decisions and how does this work with other assignment periods such as Choice?
· If you are happy with your Magnet assignment: Do not participate in other assignment periods such as Choice or Out of Zone. A decision from our Choice or Out of Zone assignment period will overwrite your Magnet assignment. If this happens, we will not be able to re-assign you to your Magnet spot. You will have to re-apply and, depending on space availability, be added to the waitlist for the school you are applying to attend.
· If you are on waitlist: You may participate in our other assignment periods such as Choice and Out of Zone and accept the decision from those applications until your number is reached from the Magnet waitlist. At this time, you will be invited to the waitlisted Magnet school and have the option of accepting or denying the spot. If you accept, your assignment will change to a Magnet assignment. If you decline, you will continue being assigned to your school of Choice or Out of Zone.
· If you no longer want to attend your assigned Magnet school: Please notify the Magnet school guidance department or the Student Assignment Office with your decision no later than March 1, of the enrollment year. If you choose to decline your child’s Magnet seat, upon receipt of your notice, your student will be re-assigned to his/her residential school. Depending on the time you resend your Magnet assignment, you may be able to participate in our other assignment periods such as Choice and out of Zone.
· For more information about Choice or Out-of-Zone visit: The Student Assignment website
Do Magnet School parents have special responsibilities?
Yes, at The Downtown School, for example, parents are required to provide service to the school for a prescribed number of hours per week per student. [See individual school website for specific details.] All Magnet school programs are designed to enhance your student’s natural abilities, talents and interests; thus, parental engagement is crucial and could include the student’s involvement in extracurricular activities, transportation to events/competitions, etc.
Is bus transportation provided to Magnet Schools?
Yes, bus transportation is provided to all magnet schools, with the exception of The Downtown School, via Magnet Shuttle stops.
The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools "Magnet Shuttle" Program currently provides over 2,000 students with transportation through "shuttle" bus service. This program was developed to allow us to continue to provide transportation service for our magnet students who live out-of-zone for the magnet school they have chosen to attend. This program allows students to remain at a magnet shuttle site until as late as 6:00 pm each day.
In the event there are (10) or more students within a single neighborhood who ride the school bus daily, Transportation will offer one residential stop within the neighborhood to those magnet students who attend the same magnet school and live out-of-zone.
If my child is currently in 5th or 8th grades in a Magnet School, does my child receive preference in the next grade span within the continuum – for example IB or STEM?
Yes, magnet priorities allow for continuum preference for students transitioning from one grade span to another in the same continuum strand.
What if my child is applying to the Early College of Forsyth or the Forsyth Middle College as a first choice, but whose second choice is a magnet high school, should we apply to the magnet school during the earlier application period?
Yes. Families, who desire to apply to either the Early College of Forsyth or the Forsyth Middle College as a first choice, are encouraged to apply to other magnet high schools of choice during the Magnet Application period, in January. The deadline for Magnet School applications is earlier than either the Early or Middle College application deadline. [See individual school websites for deadline information.]
Early or Middle College candidates who qualify for enrollment and are accepted will not be notified until after the Magnet School application deadline has passed. If chosen to attend either the Early or Middle College, after receiving acceptance to a magnet high school, the student may decline acceptance to the magnet high school. However, if the student is not awarded a spot in either the Early or Middle College, he/she would apply late to a magnet high school and may be waitlisted.
For more information on the Early College of Forsyth’s application/admissions process, please visit http://wsfcs.k12.nc.us//site/Default.aspx?PageID=80230.
For more information on Forsyth Middle College’s application/admission process, please visit http://wsfcs.k12.nc.us/domain/6535.
How does applying to a Magnet School impact Athletic eligibility?
Families, who apply to a magnet school during the Magnet Application period in January, and are selected for a magnet school or are waitlisted (and later added to the magnet school of choice acceptances prior to the end of the school year), are eligible for athletic competition the following year providing the student meets all other eligibility requirements. If, however, a student chooses to apply and attend a magnet school after the final Report Card of current enrollment year, the student is not eligible to participate in athletics for 365 days.Revised December 21, 2016