The application window for the Montgomery Public Schools(MPS) magnet school program opened on January 4th and runs through January 31st, although many in the county may not be aware. 

Jeanne Charbonneau, president of Friends of Arts and Music Education(F.A.M.E.), says the lack of advertising campaign for the magnet program, especially during the limited enrollment period, is frustrating to many parents and students. 

“Word of mouth should not be the primary way that people learn about them,” Charbonneau says of magnet schools, “they are literally for everyone, not just the few people who happen to know about them.”

Magnet schools began in the 1960s and '70s and feature specialized programs designed around themes that focus on the talents and abilities of students. The kindergarten through 12th grade programs provide “innovative and stimulating instruction to students.”

In order to apply for one of the limited open spots in the magnet program parents and students should visit and scroll down to the Quick Links section and then click on Magnet Applications. From there follow the instructions to fill out the application. 

But, Charbonneau says, be sure to fill out the application completely to avoid the frustration some applicants experienced last school year. 

“People complained last year that if they missed a section on the application they got a message saying ‘ineligible’, not incomplete but 'ineligible.' So they thought that their kids weren't eligible to attend,” she says. 

After applying and being deemed eligible students' names are entered in a lottery and the computer system randomly selects students for open spots at each school. Also important to know is that for those who do apply the students' transcripts must be turned in to the Central MPS office by 4:00 p.m. on February 14th. 

For those interested in applying and wanting to learn more about the schools themselves the individual schools websites have information on programs that they offer and tours of the schools.