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A Groton Magnet School Changes Focus

Catherine Kolnaski Magnet School, which was at the center of a debate over racial balance, will change its focus to attract more magnet students.

Catherine Kolnaski Magnet School plans to revamp its magnet program to attract more students from outside the immediate neighborhood and boost student performance in science.

The school’s relatively high minority population was part of the reason Groton was forced to redistrict this year.

The where the population was 418 and the minority student population was 31 percent as of Oct. 1, 2012. A school is considered racially imbalanced if the minority population is greater than 25 percentage points above the district average.

Principal Christine Dauphinais told the school board last month the magnet school has 35 magnet students. The school was unable to attract more students from across Groton and became crowded with children from the immediate neighborhood.

After redistricting, the magnet school will have a minimum of 60 slots for magnet students, she said.

The school plans to change its magnet program from “arts, technology and health and wellness” to a program called “Steam”, which stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

Dauphinais said she hopes the new focus will also improve student performance in math and science.

“We’ve put such a focus on the language arts at the expense of some of our other content,” she said.

She explained that engineering can be taught to elementary students if presented as simple principles.

For example, kindergarten students are reading the fairy tale “Three Billy Goats Gruff” and learning how bridges are constructed. The children are being taught what structures support bridges, and how to build and test bridges to determine which ones hold the most weight.

“You’ve got to bring it down to the very simple basic concepts,” Dauphinais said.

The plan is to roll out the new program over three years, she said.

Upset April 01, 2013 at 10:32 PM
It gets its magnet status from integrating the arts and technology throughout the curriculum and its support of the health and wellness stuff. It has the Family Resource Center that provides pre-kindergarten and child care and KSAC.
GlpGeorge April 02, 2013 at 05:14 AM
Just a question...because this is a magnet school, is the transportation of magnet students reimbursed by the state?
Sara April 02, 2013 at 11:31 AM
what's funny is this Magnet school is still on the needs improvement list. Both my kids have attended that school from the day they opened their doors...administrators lied about my son having a learning disability to save on on budget...they doing the wrong testing to find out if a kid has a disability...they don't care about the kids they care more about money. Don't you think if a child can't do the basic math in 3rd grade theirs a problem..well, I think so. I'm happy that my last child will be out of that school next year because of the being tossed around. Maybe if Groton Housing didn't have 80% + in a certain race than the kids wouldn't have to be going all over the place. Come on people put the kids first not yourselves!!!
Upset April 02, 2013 at 06:41 PM
GLP George, this is not an inter-district magnet school.
Jon April 02, 2013 at 06:47 PM
My son was moved from CK due to overcrowding to Claude Chester. The magnet program is a joke and everyone knows it. When it was first established, they did not know how it would work and they still don't. This move to concentrations in various areas is a joke. Call it the way it is, the magnet status was a way to make CK more diverse. It did not work.

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