CMSD magnet school lottery opens Friday

February 21, 2009



"Have it your way" and synonymous sayings seem to be the slogans of choice for fast-food restaurants. 


And since the beginning of this school year, it seems local schools have joined the throngs of entities offering it "your way." 


In the fall, Columbus Municipal School District will begin its second year of magnet schools with five themes, geared toward catering not only teaching reading, writing and ''rithmatic but also keeping children engaged in something that really interests them as they learn. 


But to get their theme of choice -- fine arts, aerospace, medical sciences and wellness, international studies or technology and communication -- parents and students will have to enter the lottery. Parents who wish to enroll their child in the pre-kindergarten program at Stokes-Beard Elementary also must submit a lottery form. 


School choice forms for Columbus city elementary schools go out Monday and can be picked up at schools and at Brandon Central Services on McArthur Drive. 


Columbus Municipal School District officials are urging parents to get their children signed up for the lottery early to ensure their children are placed in their first choice. 


The initial lottery program went into place in 2005 when construction of a new Stokes-Beard Elementary School was complete. A tornado ripped through the old facility in 2001. 


The students previously assigned to Stokes-Beard temporarily met in classes at Hunt Intermediate. When the building was complete, the school board had to come up with a student assignment plan so as not to undermine a 1970 court order that mandates equal facilities, transportation and extracurricular opportunities for all students. 


Through the lottery program, parents are able to list their first three choices of elementary schools. They are then assigned accordingly. 


Last year, students again were offered the chance to enter the lottery, if they were new to the district or wanted to schools because of the inception of the magnet program; about 97 percent of families got their first choice. 


School choice forms for CMSD''s 2009-10 school year are available at Brandon Central Services. The lottery application window officially opens Friday. 


For more information about the lottery, please contact CMSD Assistant Superintendent Dr. Martha Liddell at 662-241-7400 or e-mail [email protected] The Magnet Schools Lottery Application and Information Newsletter will be sent to parents of elementary students on Tuesday, along with the fourth six weeks report card. The application will also be available at 


The deadline for submitting lottery applications is Friday, March 27, at 4 p.m. The lottery for the 2009-10 school year will be conducted at Brandon Central Services on Friday, April 17, at 10 a.m. 




Magnet school open house schedule