Where are the Nation’s Top Magnet Schools?

by Steve CookAugust 11, 2017

Proximity to good schools is one of the most important factors influencing home buying. The quality of local schools influences the neighborhood choice of “one out of four buyers” and “half of all buyers who have children younger than 18 years old,” according to a 2016 profile of home buyers and sellers.

Good schools not only make a lasting difference in a child’s quality of life; they also have a direct impact on home values. A recent RealtyTrac study found that in zip codes with at least one good school, the average estimated home value was “77 percent higher” than in other zip codes. Homes bought in zip codes with good schools gained an average of “$51,000 more in home value than those in zip codes without good schools.”

Every listing on Homes.com includes information on the nearest elementary, middle and high schools, including ratings based on state performance and test data.

Parents looking for the very best in public education are turning their focus towards magnet schools. Magnet schools, which are public elementary and secondary schools, offer specialized curricula ranging from science and technology, to fine and performing arts. Each magnet school has a focused theme and draws students from entire school districts or a consortium of districts.

Here are some of the nation’s top magnet schools according to US News and World Report.
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School for the Talented and Gifted, Dallas, TX | Dallas Independent School District

The School for the Talented and Gifted follows the Texas’s Distinguished Achievement Program and emphasizes Advanced Placement curriculum — a minimum of 11 AP courses are required for graduation. Students at the School for the Talented and Gifted may conduct field research via partnerships with local universities, take electives such as web mastery and enroll in mini-courses like ballroom dancing or glass blowing during interim terms.

Carnegie Vanguard High School, Houston, TX Houston Independent School District

Located in Houston, Carnegie Vanguard High School’s curriculum consists of AP and pre-AP courses as well as honors electives. Carnegie students must pass at least seven AP courses to graduate. Students at Carnegie Vanguard High School exceed state and national averages on SAT and ACT exams. Carnegie places a strong emphasis on community involvement and requires every student to complete 100 hours of community service before graduation.
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School of Science and Engineering Dallas, TX | Dallas Independent School District

Students at the School of Science and Engineering start AP courses their freshman year and can earn college credit via dual-enrollment opportunities with several local community colleges and universities. Located in a complex that houses five other magnet schools, the School of Science and Engineering offer AP courses in calculus, biology and statistics, among others. Parents can get involved by fundraising and hosting college planning nights.

Academic Magnet High School North Charleston, SC | Charleston County School District

Nestled in the Holy City, Academic Magnet High School aims to “challenge each student, teacher, and parent with high academic expectations.” All courses offered at Academic Magnet High School are either honors or AP courses and every student completes a yearlong independent research project. Students’ work has been published in multiple academic and professional journals. Students can stay connected with Wi-Fi access in the cafeteria and three computer labs. Academic Magnet High School is truly heavenly!

DeBakey High School for Health Professions Houston, TX | Houston Independent School District

DeBakey High School for Health Professions is located on the Texas Medical Center campus. Students have access to research facilities and academic programs at the center. Graduates are eligible for the Houston Premedical Academy, an undergraduate program at the University of Houston designed specifically for DeBakey High School students. Those selected for the pre-medical academy receive provisional acceptance to the Baylor College of Medicine. DeBakey’s Parent Teacher Association provides volunteer opportunities and sponsors school activities.
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Maine School of Science and Mathematics Limestone, ME | ME School Of Science & Mathematics

Maine School of Science and Mathematics (MSSM,) is a boarding school that fosters a community-learning environment through small class sizes, extracurricular activities and work assignments. Students live in a dorm, separated into wings by gender. The curriculum at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics includes AP courses in physics, English and statistics, among others. During the January term, students can participate in internships, conduct research projects or expand upon in-class learning.

Design and Architecture Senior High Miami, FL | Miami-Dade County Public Schools

Academic programs at Design and Architecture Senior High (DASH) include fashion, entertainment, visual communications, fine art, architecture and industrial design. Students at DASH combine courses from their chosen programs with traditional math, science and language arts courses offered with honors and AP options. Admittance to Design and Architecture Senior High requires online and in-person auditions and an optional workshop. Parents can participate in the school’s Parent Teacher Student Association.

International Studies Preparatory Academy Coral Gables, FL | Miami-Dade County Public Schools

International Studies Preparatory Academy is ranked 4th in Florida. Students have the opportunity to take AP coursework and exams. The AP participation rate at International Studies Preparatory Academy is 100 percent. The student body makeup is 38 percent male and 62 percent female, and the total minority enrollment is 83 percent. International Studies Preparatory Academy is 1 of 113 high schools in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools System.
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Stanton College Preparatory School Jacksonville, FL | Duval County Public Schools

The Stanton College Preparatory School challenges students to excel via a rigorous curriculum made up of honors, AP and International Baccalaureate courses. Students can earn college credit for courses taken through partnerships with the University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. The majority of Stanton College Preparatory School graduates enter the State University System of Florida. Opportunities for parent involvement include: field trips, volunteering and fundraising.

Central Magnet School Murfreesboro, TN | Rutherford County

Central Magnet School is ranked 1st in Tennessee. Students have the opportunity to take AP coursework and exams. The AP participation rate at Central Magnet School is 100 percent. The student body makeup is 47 percent male and 53 percent female, and the total minority enrollment is 13 percent. Central Magnet School is 1 of 10 high schools in the Rutherford County School System.

If your child has special gifts and strong ambition, a magnet school might be the answer. Search the homes for sale in the cities where you are planning to buy to find out what programs are available.

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About The Author
Steve Cook
Steve Cook is editor and co-publisher of Real Estate Economy Watch. He is a member of the board of the National Association of Real Estate Editors and writes for several leading Web sites, including Inman News. From 1999 to 2007 he was vice president for public affairs at the National Association of Realtors.

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