Five new "magnet" programs will begin in 14 Prince George's County public schools next fall, and school officials are encouraging parents interested in the programs to decide soon whether to enroll their children.
School spokesman Brian J. Porter said applications for the new programs, as well as the the existing Extended Day and Talented and Gifted magnet programs, will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Parents can submit applications in person at six informational meetings and at open-house receptions later this month.
Enrollment in each program is governed by desegregation guidelines, Porter said.
"My advice to people is that if they are really serious about getting their child in a particular program, they should come to a meeting on the first night and position themselves in front of the proctor for that program," Porter said.
Applications can also be mailed to Department of Pupil Accounting and School Boundaries, Magnet School Program, 14201 School La., Upper Marlboro 20772. However, those applications will not be recorded until June 2.
Students who would normally attend a school that will now offer a magnet program (except the Talented and Gifted program) are automatically accepted into that school's program if they wish to participate, Porter said. Those parents should submit applications to the school's principal.
The first set of informational meetings will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, 7601 Hanover Pkwy., Greenbelt; Frederick Douglass High School, 8000 Croom Rd., Upper Marlboro; and High Point High School, 3601 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville.
The second set of meetings will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Benjamin Tasker Middle School, 4901 Collington Rd., Bowie; Crossland High School, 6901 Temple Hills Rd., Temple Hills; and Friendly High School, 10000 Allentown Rd., Fort Washington.
Applications will be accepted beginning at 7 p.m. before each of the meetings.
Open houses will be held at all of the new magnet schools starting at 10 a.m. May 31.
More than 240,000 brochures explaining the programs were mailed to county residents last week, and copies are available in schools or public libraries. For more information call 952-4706.
The following is a brief summary of the seven magnet programs:
*Extended Day, grades one through six, offers early morning and after-school activities to children of working parents. The program is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and costs $30 a week. The schools offering the extended day program remain open when other county schools close because of bad weather.
The program includes supervised activities in arts and crafts, recreation, music and dance, computer labs, science and mathematics, sewing and cooking and reading.
Transportation is not provided for this program, although students who live within the school's regular attendance area may continue to ride the morning school bus.
*French Foreign Language Immersion, kindergarten, is a full-day program for 5-year-olds conducted entirely in French. The classes are taught by a bilingual teacher and prepare children for eventual fluency in French.
The program will expand to grade six as the first year's kindergarten students advance. Children starting the program in kindergarten can expect to aquire a fluency in French by the third grade comparable to native-speaking children of the same age. Instruction in English language arts such as reading and spelling begins in the second grade, and continues through the sixth grade. In the fourth through sixth grade, the school day will be split evenly between French and English.
The program also includes instruction in the school system's usual core curriculum, including mathematics, science and social studies.
*Montessori, for preschool and kindergarten students ages 3, 4 and 5, is based on the educational concepts of the Montessori philosophy, which encourages learning through participation to develop a child's sense of responsibility, self-confidence and independence.
Activities in the program are aimed at helping young children develop and understanding of themselves and a joy for learning, and include instruction in mathematics, science, art, music and social studies.
The program is a half-day for preschool pupils ages 3 and 4 at a cost of $800 per year, with an optional child care program offered four hours a day at $20 a week. A full-day program for 5-year-old kindergarten pupils who have previous Montessori experience is free, with bus transportation provided.
*Science, Mathematics and Technology, for elementary and middle school students, is open to students who want to develop or expand an interest in sceince, mathematics and technology. The program focuses on independent analysis, critical thinking, problem solving and decision making. Classes are offered from beginning through advanced levels and no pre-testing is required to enter the program.
Local research facilities, such as Harry Diamond Laboratories, Goddard Space Flight Center, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Maryland Academy of Sciences will participate in the program. State-of-the-art laboratory equipment, calculators and computers will be provided.
*Talented and Gifted, grades two through six and seven through eight, offers full-day instruction in advanced courses to students who have been designated as "talented and gifted" through testing. The program includes accelerated classes in science and mathematics, a foreign language program at the elementary and middle school levels, fine arts classes and computer-assisted instruction through computer centers.
*Traditional Academy, kindergarten through grade six, offers highly structured classes that emphasize fundamentals of reading, writing, mathematics and science, as well as traditional approaches to history, geography, civics and economics. The program also includes rigorous teaching of spelling, listening and study skills. Literature, music and art are taught in all grades and Latin is added at the intermediate level.
The program stresses disciplined behavior, proper dress and punctuality. Homework assignments will be given four nights a week, at an average of one hour per night, with the expectation of parental monitoring of homework and academic progress of their children.
*The Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, for grade nine, offers the first year of a rigorous and academically challenging four-year high school program to prepare students for study at a university. While the program emphasizes humanities and social sciences, classes in mathematics, science and foreign language also will be required.
Computer labs, a monthly lecture series, seminars and short courses also will be offered. Each student will be required to present a research paper to the faculty every year. Students also will have the opportunity to get one or more years of college credit. There are no entry or admissions tests required.