Junior High Magnet Programs

Schools

1309 Holly Drive
Richardson, TX 75080
469-593-3700
Principal: Kimberly Kindred

7630 Arapaho Road
Dallas, 75248
469-593-3600
Principal: Katie Mottram

FAQs

General Questions

Applications are available online now and due Dec 1. Applications received after Dec. 1 are considered for placement after Feb. 1 along with any applicants who are put in the waiting pool.

Yes, but the application includes both junior highs.
  • If you live in the Westwood attendance area, you don’t have to complete the application for Westwood because you will automatically feed into your neighborhood junior high.
  • If you live in the West attendance area, you do not have to complete the application to attend West; unless, you want to be in a magnet course.
  • If you live in the Prestonwood, Bowie, Richland or Hamilton Park (the area that feeds into Berkner HS) attendance areas, the same application will first ask you to select your preference between your choice or managed choice options. A card-stock form was sent home with each student the week of the information meeting. Use the QR code or link on this form, and it will speed up the process for you.
The answer to this question applies differently for each magnet school.
  • West requires all students – neighborhood and magnet volunteers – to complete the application if they want to be in a magnet course.
  • Westwood requires an application for all students who live outside the Westwood attendance area. Once you’ve been assigned to the school, then you are free to select among all the programs they offer.

No, however…

  • The only test that students must take is to qualify for Algebra 1 for 7th Graders, which is offered but not required at Westwood.
  • Theatre & Visual Arts offered at West have a required interview process. The student signs up for an interview date/time when completing their application. The interview schedule this year is Jan 19-21, 4-7pm.
  • Are there prerequisites to apply for the Junior High magnet programs? No, the junior high magnet programs do not have prerequisites. However, West does require that you submit an application to be in a magnet program.
No, however…
  • The only test that students must take is to qualify for Algebra 1 for 7th Graders, which is offered but not required at Westwood.
  • Theatre & Visual Arts offered at West have a required interview process. The student signs up for an interview date/time when completing their application. The interview schedule this year is Jan 19-21, 4-7pm.
  • Are there prerequisites to apply for the Junior High magnet programs? No, the junior high magnet programs do not have prerequisites. However, West does require that you submit an application to be in a magnet program.
Students should only apply for a magnet program they are willing to attend. Students can set a first choice and a second choice for the schools. RISD makes placements by school and assigns first choice applicants ahead of second choice applicants. While the magnet schools usually have enough applicants to fill the programs from first choice applicants, it is always possible that some applicants will receive their second choice.
Placements are made by random selection with the following priorities:
  • Elementary magnet students have priority of placement, but are not guaranteed their first choice.
  • Students who qualify for Theatre or Visual Arts, as well as students who pass the acceleration exam to be in Algebra 1 for 7th Graders, have priority of placement.
  • Siblings have priority of placement assuming they are enrolled at the same school at the same time. West requires all siblings, who live outside the West attendance area, to be enrolled in a magnet program to receive sibling priority.
  • Students from all other neighborhood schools are placed by random selection.

Westwood Junior High Math, Science, Leadership Magnet Questions

Westwood is the only junior high to offer Business, Marketing & Finance, and Health Science magnet coursework. Westwood also is the only junior high school to offer leadership classes, geometry (on campus) and intermediate digital photography.
The classes within the different magnet programs are open to all students. If assigned to Westwood, the magnet program courses are electives you select.
Junior High students take one math class in seventh grade and one math class in eighth grade. However, Westwood students have an opportunity to accelerate into Algebra 1 for seventh grade by taking a credit by exam the summer before seventh grade. Students who accelerate are able to earn Algebra 1 credit in seventh grade and take Geometry in eighth grade at Westwood.
The Leadership magnet program is aimed at supporting student growth in the areas of character and interpersonal communication. This is accomplished through specific character and communication training and real-world scenario discussions and role play. The Leadership magnet is a schoolwide initiative and expectation that is carried through the Westwood mission statement, which is to holistically empower student leaders to become innovative, compassionate, globally minded members of society.
Westwood offers many of the same extracurricular activities and classes as all other RISD junior high schools. Westwood has accelerated math classes taught on campus so students do not have to travel to a high school as an eighth grader. Westwood’s Health Science classes are a great pathway of learning for students who have an interest in careers in Health Science and the Health Science program in high school. Westwood also has intro and intermediate photography classes here so students can explore photography for a full year.
Investigating Engineering, or math-based science, is a seventh grade course offered to better prepare students to take Principles of Applied Engineering in eighth grade, which is part of the STEM cluster and not part of the Health Science cluster.

West Junior High Arts & Technology Magnet Questions

Each magnet program at West takes up one elective class period. Seventh and eighth grade students may take three electives in addition to the four core classes of math, science, social studies, and english/language arts. These can be any combination of electives as long as it works with the student’s schedule. Students in a magnet program still choose two other electives to participate in each semester (including athletics/PE, music/fine arts, foreign language, etc).
Bus transportation is provided to West Junior High for students who live two or more miles away from campus, within the RISD attendance area.
Yes, Richardson West Junior High offers the same athletics opportunities that all other junior high schools in the district offer, including volleyball, cross country, football, basketball, track, tennis, and soccer.
Yes, Richardson West has wonderful band, choir, and orchestra programs.
Richardson West supports all students and accommodates all IEPs, 504s, dyslexia, and other student needs. West has a dyslexia teacher on campus, multiple special education staff members on campus, and all RISD staff are trained on how to best follow IEP accommodations.

Students do not need prior experience. A student simply needs a desire to learn and a strong work ethic. Communication Arts and Robotics do not have talent-based criteria. There is a required portfolio project for Visual Arts and a monologue for Theatre Arts, but these are talent-based programs and prior experience isn’t necessary.

The Richardson West Theatre magnet is still learning, working, and creating at the same level of excellence. Students are learning the full curriculum, including theater basics, playwriting, acting, and technical theater. Students are working virtual scenes in breakout rooms, and using socially distanced blocking and masks for face-to-face scenes. The Fall play, February Broadway Revue, and Spring play/musical will all be modified to adhere to COVID protocols. The Fall show will be pre-recorded individually at home with a streamed individual monologue showcase. The February Broadway Revue will be pre-recorded individually at home and streamed solos of Broadway songs (performance is optional). The Spring play/musical will be a 100% virtual show, or possibly a radio play. Students learning virtually and those face-to-face are both learning the same content, and doing the same projects.
Richardson West does not offer any courses specific to video/graphics/music mixing. However, the Communication Arts magnet teaches components such as video composition, TV graphics and sound design. The Visual Arts magnet curriculum includes graphic design projects to create the school yearbook cover and the Visual Arts magnet T-shirt. Students learn the basics of graphic layout using digital programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Pixlr, and Canva.
Richardson West does not offer any courses specific to video/graphics/music mixing. However, the Communication Arts magnet teaches components such as video composition, TV graphics and sound design. The Visual Arts magnet curriculum includes graphic design projects to create the school yearbook cover and the Visual Arts magnet T-shirt. Students learn the basics of graphic layout using digital programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Pixlr, and Canva.
Sixth grader students should contact their elementary campus art teacher with questions and directions about the Visual Arts portfolio. All RISD elementary art teachers have the requirements for the artworks. After completing the magnet application, Mrs. Van Hamersveld will enroll each sixth grade Visual Arts magnet applicant into the “West Visual Arts Magnet Portfolio” in Google Classroom. Students can join the Google Classroom to submit their portfolio to Mrs. Van Hamersveld.
One of the main advantages of the robotics program at Richardson West is that most of the content students learn in the first year can be covered online. Both Scratch and TinkerCAD can be taught online so COVID doesn’t affect that aspect of the seventh grade robotics program. The eighth students normally learn to build and program robots using VEX-IQ equipment, but that has been temporarily replaced with an online robotics curriculum that is just as rigorous as the pre-pandemic version of the program. The current online curriculum is taught using “Coderz,” an online program where students code a virtual robot and learn about the different sensors and parts of a robot.
Students in the Robotics magnet spend roughly the same amount of time they’d spend at any other class. The two-year program includes one Robotics class per school year and no additional time commitment is needed.
The Robotics magnet program at West places heavy emphasis on giving the students a solid foundation to design, build, and apply an advanced level of critical thinking to robotics and technology in general. For this reason, the program is divided into two years. During the first year, students learn all the skills needed to build and code robots effectively. They learn the programming and the design/manufacturing process that enables them to effectively build and program robots during the second year. While a Robotics class at a different school might cover one particular aspect of robotics, the Robotics magnet at Richardson West also attempts to instill an engineering mindset.
The AVID program is independent of magnet programs, and does not affect placement in a magnet program. AVID is a separate elective period and is available at all eight junior highs in RISD. Students are able to drop the AVID elective if it is not the right fit.

Additional FAQs from Parent Information Meeting 2021

Buses are provided for students who live more than two miles from the school, within RISD boundaries.

GT programming is districtwide. West and Westwood provide the same GT courses as all other junior highs.

Course selection for the 2021-22 school year will take place in January and February 2021.
Yes, AVID is a program offered at both West and Westwood.
Yes, dyslexia services are offered in the magnet programs.
Yes, athletics and sports are offered at all eight junior highs, including West and Westwood.
If a student is not accepted into a magnet school, they will attend their neighborhood junior high.