Magnet schools offer students choices

March 21, 2016

Northside magnet schools offer a focused, career-specific education for students who show an interest in a particular field or know what career path they want to take. Today, about 3,000 students are enrolled in NISD’s five magnet high school programs.

“There’s a myth that public schools do not provide students choices in their education,” said Dr. Brian Woods, superintendent. “Northside’s excellent magnet programs prove that is not the case because students are able to follow their interests whether that be business, communications, STEM, health/medicine, or construction.”

Four programs share campuses with their larger comprehensive high schools. Business Careers High School is located at Holmes High School; Communications Arts High School is located at Taft High School; Jay Science & Engineering Academy is located at Jay High School; and Construction Careers Academy is located at Warren High School. The fifth, Health Careers High School, is located on its own campus in the South Texas Medical Center. All schools accept students via an application process.

Here are some impressive accomplishments from each magnet program:

·         Business Careers High School leads the district in computer certifications earned by students and is home to one of the largest career-based mentor programs in the state. The school’s CyberPatriot program, which focuses on cybersecurity competition and skill development, has won first place in the city, first place in the state, and third place in national competition.

·         Communications Arts High School students gain real-world video production skills through participation in competitions and by working with national news programs. Since 2008, CAHS students have won first or second place in the Teens in the Driver’s Seat PSA competition, resulting in thousands of dollars in cash prizes to purchase cameras, tripods, and microphones for the school’s communications department. For the past three years, advanced video students have been producing news stories as part of the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs program.

·         Construction Careers Academy hosts the only student-built Parade of Homes event in the nation. Teams made up of student architects, engineers, construction managers, plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, and carpenters design, build, and sell up to four homes each year. In 2015, students transformed three shipping containers which sold for a combined $125,000 at auction. The annual event showcases the real-world skills and training students receive in four years at the Academy.

·         Health Careers High School students are pre-accepted into medical schools across the country each year. Over 75 percent of all Health Careers students earn medical certifications in five different areas of health care. Student participate in cutting-edge medical research with professionals at the UT Health Science Center. Frequently, the names of HCHS students are included when the research is published in medical journals. HCHS, established in 1984, is the oldest magnet school in Bexar County.

·         The Jay Science & Engineering Academy hosts one of the largest school science fairs in the state. More than 600 projects were entered in the most recent fair, and half a million dollars in scholarships was awarded by St. Mary’s University and the University of the Incarnate Word. Students participate in academic research all four years of high school.

For more information on NISD magnet schools visit their school websites or download the Magnet Schools brochure.