Junior High Magnet Programs


1309 Holly Drive
Richardson, TX 75080
Principal: Kimberly Kindred

7630 Arapaho Road
Dallas, 75248
Principal: Katie Mottram


General Questions

Applications are available online and due Dec 1. Applications received after Dec. 1 are considered for placement after Jan. 31 along with any applicants who request to be put in the waiting pool.
  • Notification of placement is emailed by Jan. 31.
  • An additional interview is required of students who apply for Theatre and/or Visual Arts at West.  Students select their interview date and time during the application process, and these interviews are in January after school.  Families are responsible for transportation to these after-school interviews.
  • It is important that you add noreply@qemailserver.com and  michael.freeman@risd.org to your contacts because notifications come from these email addresses.  Adding these email addresses to your contacts should prevent your mail server from filtering or blocking an email regarding a magnet school application.
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. 
  • 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.
Siblings have priority when they are at the same school at the same time. West requires all students, who do not live in the West attendance zone, to be enrolled 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.
The magnet schools are open to all students, and the magnet programs have similar ranges of challenge and support that one would find at other junior high schools.
It will depend upon the format of each school’s meet what portions can and are recorded. Any videos that are made will be included in a link that will be available on the RISD Magnet School website.
Yes – students from all four learning communities are eligible to apply to RISD junior high magnet programs.  In the case of 6th graders in the Lake Highlands learning community starting in 2024-25, students would attend middle school for their 6th grade year and then a magnet junior high starting in 7th grade.

Likewise, any RISD family may apply to one of RISD’s three elementary magnet schools in advance of any school year, including their 6th grade year.  Any RISD family may also request a transfer to a non-magnet elementary school in advance of any school year.  District transfer guidelines apply to all transfer requests.

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 selected during preregistration in February. It will depend upon the master schedule each school year, the other courses each student has requested, and whether or not the student’s schedule can accommodate all of the programs.

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 an 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, Culinary Arts and Robotics do not have talent-based criteria; Theatre and Visual Arts do. Although Theatre and Visual Arts require a memorized monologue and a portfolio project at the students’ scheduled interview, in which talent-based criteria are used to select students, prior experience is not necessary and is not included in the established rubrics.
Communication Arts, Culinary Arts and Robotics are distinctly different programs from Theatre and Visual Arts and do not require an addition. All students must apply by the Dec. 1 deadline and select Communication Arts, Culinary Arts and/or Robotics. Students will be assigned via lottery to one or more of these programs.
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 music teacher for support in preparing for their Theatre Arts monologue. The elementary campus art teachers are also prepared to help students with their Visual Arts portfolio. The RISD elementary music and art teachers have awareness of and know the requirements for Theatre and Visual Arts at West.
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.

Additional FAQs

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

Application for both schools can be found online.

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

Course selection for secondary schools typically takes place in February of each year.
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.
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.