DANBURY - School officials have received 700 applications from parents in the region who want their children to attend the new elementary magnet school that will open in August.
Parents of children entering kindergarten through fourth-grade in Brookfield, Newtown, New Fairfield, Redding and Danbury have until the end of the work day March 3 to submit applications for the
Western Connecticut Academy of International Studies Elementary Magnet School
"We're definitely pleased with the high interest there is in the region for the magnet school," Danbury Superintendent
The new school will have 270 students in kindergarten through fourth grade in 2006-07. In 2007, when fifth grade is added, the school will reach its capacity of 360 students.
Each of the participating towns committed to a certain number of seats, and 60 unassigned seats are up for grabs.
In the first year, Danbury students will fill 180 seats, and when the school is at full capacity in 2007, there will be 210 Danbury students.
So far, parents of 576 Danbury students have applied for the city's 180 seats.
For the first year, Brookfield and New Fairfield have committed to 15 seats. So far, 41 applications have been received from Brookfield and 61 from New Fairfield.
"I think it's pretty exciting. The whole area is lucky to have a school of this caliber," said
, assistant superintendent of Brookfield schools.
Newtown committed to 20 seats for the fall, and parents of 10 children have applied so far. The district will holds its public hearing on the school Monday at 7 p.m in
John Reed Intermediate School
Redding has committed to six seats, and the parents of nine Redding students have applied.
Education Connection, the regional education support agency, will hold a lottery March 30 for the students in each town that has more applicants than there are seats.
The school provides a choice for parents in the region.
"I think it's an interesting option that gives families a chance to craft the education they want," said Canavan. "The magnet school offers a dual language (Spanish) and before- and after-school program. The technology that is planned is different and more accessible than what is typical."
Canavan said the magnet school's planned collaboration with the
Smithsonian Institution Museum
Western Connecticut State University
are strong additions to the program.
Parents in the sending districts must weigh the special attributes of the school with the need for their children to travel to Danbury.
The state-of-the-art K-5 school of global studies, adjacent to the Westside campus of Western Connecticut State University, will operate under state guidelines as a public school of choice. It is managed by an advisory trustee board with members from the participating towns. In turn, the board will report to the
Danbury Board of Education
School districts of the sending towns will pay $1,000 per student for operating costs and provide transportation. The state will give the magnet school $5,400 for each student from the sending districts, and $3,500 for each Danbury student.
Parents of students who attend religious or private schools in Danbury-area towns can apply to the new school, but need to provide proof of residency. The understanding is that if the student is accepted, he or she will enroll in the public school district so tuition and transportation costs are covered.
Preference will be given to applicants with a sibling currently enrolled in the magnet school, if the brother or sister resides in the same household.
For more information about the magnet school, look at the Danbury schools Web site,
., under schools,
Regional Magnet School
, or call (203) 797-4701.
Contact Eileen FitzGerald
or (203) 731-3333.