Lexington-Richland School District Five has been awarded a five-year federal grant totaling more than $13.7 million to fund new magnet programs at Nursery Road Elementary, H. E. Corley Elementary, and Leaphart Elementary. It will also fund a new career initiative magnet program partnering Irmo High School and the Center for Advanced Technical Studies.

The grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Education through its Magnet School Assistance Program (MSAP), is the second multimillion dollar magnet program grant for the district. In 2013, District Five was awarded a $10.3 million MSAP grant for magnet programs at five schools.

“We couldn’t be more excited about this great news for our district,” said Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hefner. “District Five has long placed a priority on growing our magnet program offerings and providing our families with the choices they need to make their students successful in school and in future careers. Every Choice is a Great Choice in District Five, and we’re proud to add more choices today with this grant.”

The new MSAP grant will support specific magnet initiatives, including: an Arts Integrated Magnet Program at Nursery Road Elementary, a Montessori Program at H. E. Corley Elementary, an expansion of the LEAP Program at Leaphart Elementary from STEM to STEAM (Science Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math), and IBCP, a career emphasis initiative partnering the Center for Advanced Technical Studies to the existing International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Irmo High School.

The federal MSAP program aims to improve school diversity while growing students’ knowledge of academic subjects and their grasp of marketable career skills. Federal officials say the special curriculum of a magnet school attracts substantial numbers of students from different social, economic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. Magnet schools must meet state academic standards and graduation requirements.

“We are so proud to receive another MSAP grant and excited about the added opportunities it will bring families in District Five,” said Sara Wheeler, District Five magnet school program director. “As the recipients of this grant in 2013, we know these grants help students gain access to challenging curricula that will help prepare them for college and 21st century careers.”

In District Five, school magnet themes were developed in response to a community-wide survey. Current magnet offerings in the district include: Spring Hill High School Career Pathways Magnet; Dutch Fork Elementary School Academy of Environmental Sciences; STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program at Dutch Fork High; Escolares Academy at Harbison West Elementary; The Leader in Me program at H. E. Corley; Irmo Middle School International Academic Magnet (iAM); Irmo High School International School for the Arts; IB (International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme) at Irmo High; LEAP (Leaphart Engineering Arts Program) at Leaphart Elementary; and Seven Oaks Elementary School MEDIA (Mass Communications, Engagement, Digital Media, Interactive Learning, Academics) Magnet.

In addition to magnet programs, District Five CHOICE provides students and parents with the option to request a school outside their attendance zone provided that school has the capacity to accept additional students.

District Five will hold a Magnet Fair November 9 from 5:30 pm to 7 pm at CrossRoads Intermediate School so that interested families and students can learn more about all the magnet programs offered by the district.