Magnet school set to launch in Washington County

August 08, 2002|by DAN KAUFFMAN

In the 2002-2003 school year, Washington County Public Schools will launch its first magnet school program, and a major overhaul of Williamsport Elementary School will continue and possibly be completed by May.

The Fountaindale School for Arts and Academic Excellence will have a gifted program for 40 students and enhanced art and music classes for all Fountaindale students.

The gifted program will have 20 students in a combined second- and third-grade class, and 20 students in a combined fourth- and fifth-grade class.


Students will be selected for the gifted program based on several factors, including student interviews, standardized test scores and a questionnaire.

The schoolwide enhanced arts and music programs will include computer graphics, painting, dance, drama, choral music and instrumental music classes.

For example, Fountaindale students will begin learning how to play the piano using small keyboards in kindergarten, and then be taught another instrument, probably violin, beginning in third grade, Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan has said.

Art and music will be used more in regular classes.

Morgan said the enhanced programs at Fountaindale will cost about $80,000 above normal spending.

The magnet programs, so named because they tend to attract students, will help bring some voluntary redistricting to the area, Morgan said.

Morgan said she hopes Fountaindale will be the first of many county schools offering special programs.

The $8.5 million renovation and expansion of Williamsport Elementary School began last fall.

The addition, which includes a new cafeteria, gymnasium and seven classrooms, should be completed by the beginning of the coming school year, said schools Director of Facilities Management Dennis McGee.

Because of the expansion, the former cafeteria/gym will be turned into a media center, he said.

During the coming school year, the older part of the school will be renovated in three stages, which will allow students to be moved into finished parts of the school as their classrooms are renovated, McGee said.

Each section will take three to four months to renovate, and all the construction should be done by May, he said.

The renovation plan also includes the installation of air-conditioning and fire suppression sprinklers in the school.

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