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

What is the general application process and deadlines?

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.

Does a student need an application for both junior highs?

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.

Is the application for enrollment in magnet classes?

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.

Does my child have to take a test to get into the school?

No, the only test that students must take is to qualify for Algebra 1 for 7th Graders, which is offered at Westwood.

  • Theatre & Visual Arts offered at West have a required interview process. This process is new this year, and students submit additional materials if they are invited to do so as an opportunity to showcase their potential in these disciplines.

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 applying for a magnet program.

If my child has a sibling attending West or Westwood, will the incoming student have priority?

Siblings have priority when they are at the same school at the same time. West requires all siblings, who do not live in the West attendance zone, to be enrolled in a magnet program.

If my student has a preferred magnet school, should the student complete the application for both magnet schools or only the preferred magnet school?

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.

What is the selection process and criteria for placing students?

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.

Do you give up your spot at your home campus if you apply for a magnet school?

No, this option is always open to you.

Is the magnet program appropriate for students who are neurodiverse?

The magnet schools are open to all students, and the magnet programs all have similar ranges of challenge and support that one would find at other junior high schools.

Will the magnet information night be recorded for those unable to attend on Nov. 18?

Yes, and the link will be available on the RISD Magnet School website.

West Junior High Arts & Technology Magnet Questions

How much of the student’s schedule will be standard? and how much will be magnet? Does a magnet program take up all electives?

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).

Is bus transportation provided to and from the magnet school?

Bus transportation is provided to West Junior High for students who live two or more miles away from campus, within the RISD attendance area.

Are there junior high sports programs?

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.

Are there any music electives offered?

Yes, Richardson West has wonderful band, choir, and orchestra programs.

What support do you have for children with an Individual Educational Plan or dyslexia?

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.

How much experience does a student need in a particular magnet program or field to be considered for a specific program?

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.

How will the Theatre magnet work virtually?

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 a 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.

How will the Theatre magnet work virtually?

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 a 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.

What is the audition process for Theatre/Communication Arts?

Theatre Arts and Communication Arts are two distinctly different programs. Theatre Arts focuses on stage acting. Communication Arts focuses on how to film and edit. The admissions process is different for each.

Theatre Magnet Audition Process is outlined here: Richardson West Junior High Arts Application Process, including monologue options.

Communication Arts Admission Process: There is no audition for the Communication Arts Magnet. Students simply apply by the Dec. 1 deadline, selecting communication arts and West as their first choice school.

Does West offer courses in programming including video/graphics and design? Any courses on music production and mixing?

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. 

What will Culinary Arts be like? How will I do an audition for Culinary Arts? What kind of opportunities will be offered to my child if accepted?

Richardson West Junior High redesigned a new Cafe classroom, featuring multiple full kitchen areas, and a dining space. The Culinary Arts Magnet does not require an audition. Students simply apply, and are assigned to the program as space allows. The program focuses on cooking techniques, safety and sanitation, culinary laws, hospitality, and more.

Who helps the student with their Visual Arts portfolio?

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.

How does the Robotics magnet program look like with COVID protocols?

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.

How much time do students spend in Robotics classes?

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.

How is the Robotics magnet different from just taking a Robotics class?

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.

Does the AVID program help my child get into a Magnet junior high if we decide to go that route? What if we decide the AVID program is not a fit for my child?

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.

Westwood Junior High Math, Science, Leadership Magnet Questions

How is the program different from other RISD Junior High schools?

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.

Does a student have to select one area of specialty/program? or can a student be involved in all of them?

The classes within the different magnet programs are open to all students. If assigned to Westwood, the magnet program courses are electives you select.

How much more math will a student be taking?

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.

What is it about Westwood that makes it a Leadership magnet?

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.

What does Westwood do differently from other junior high programs?

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.

Is Health Science a separate magnet from math-based science? or does the program incorporate both?

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.