El Crystal Elementary Petitions to Start Magnet School

The magnet school, if approved by the school board, would be launched next year and focus on STEM education, taking advantage of the technology resources that the school already uses on a daily basis.

has petitioned the school district to change to a magnet program that will specialize in teaching technology in the classroom, San Bruno Patch has learned.

Several parents from the school submitted the proposal to the San Bruno Park School District office on Thursday, with the goal of bringing the idea to the school board this fall so that El Crystal could be turned into a magnet school for next year.

"By creating a district magnet school with a strong academic purpose and focus, the district gains a value-added resource that provides parents and students a reason to stay in our district, offers a challenging learning and teaching environment, and provides a model for other schools within and outside our district to emulate," the proposal stated.

The idea of turning El Crystal into a magnet has been two years in the making, said parent Vince Carini, the president of the school's PTA.

At first, parents were considering starting a charter school to take advantage of the technology resources that the school already has, Carini said. El Crystal is home to the and, because of the leadership of the school's principal, Skip Johnson, the school uses technology in much of its curriculum.

But that idea was dropped. Crestmoor Elementary previously asked to be made into a K-8 school, and that request stirred up some controversy.

Over the summer, building on the momentum that began after the , El Crystal parents began getting together to share other ideas. When they asked Johnson for more input, the idea for a technology magnet school came up and got support from within the school community.

If the proposal is approved by the school board, then El Crystal will focus on technology, especially science, technology, engineering and math—known as STEM—learning.

"I think the community is ready for something like this," Carini said.

The school would not separate from the district, its boundaries wouldn't change, and state and federal funds normally allocated to sustain public schools would be used.

With three open classrooms and room for 90 more students, the big change would be that any San Bruno student from outside the school's boundaries could attend El Crystal's magnet school. The student would be able to apply for an intradistrict transfer, just like students are already able to do so.

El Crystal parent Joe Capote, who is a board member for the school's PTA, said he is excited about the plan because it would not only benefit the students at the school but also San Bruno as a whole.

"We wanted this to be inclusive—a tool that the district could take advantage of," Capote said. "That was the goal and our intent."

Parents are now working to get the magnet school proposal on the agenda for the school board's October meeting.

Chris Kiely September 08, 2012 at 01:50 AM
By law, when evaluating kids for GATE, they are supposed to seek out English Language Learners and Special Education kids, who might not do well on standardized testing. So GATE should be inclusionary.
Chris Kiely September 08, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Nice that San Bruno issues are finally being discussed on Patch again.
Karin Cunningham September 08, 2012 at 05:33 AM
I think it's cool that Allen, Bell Aire, and Parkside all have awesome computer labs. I don't know if the others have them. It seems like Allen and Parkside, that I know pretty well, have all the kids working on the computers, even at the after school program.
Scott Curtner September 11, 2012 at 02:48 AM
I support El Crystal's bid to use their donations for becoming a Magnet school next year because I think that inspires our other schools with some friendly competition. However, I do hope that everyone in San Bruno will support our San Bruno Park School District's Educational Parcel Tax (measure G) this November. I see the opposition is already using Mrs. Blanco's "No" vote in their official argument against this measure, which is sad because I know she doesn't want to close any of San Bruno's schools, or cut up to 4 weeks off the end of the school year, nor does she (or anyone I know) want to increase the student/teacher ratio beyond today's 31/1; however, those are the grim options the district must consider if San Bruno fails to pass its educational parcel tax (measure G), and CA fails to pass Governor Brown's proposition 30, and the CA PTA proposition 38 fails. If all 3 fail, I'm sure we'll see many CA school districts head towards bankruptcy. Back to measure G... Currently, the only organized opposition against measure G comes from outside of San Bruno, which makes me optimistic that nobody in San Bruno (so far) wants to damage our public schools any further. I hope endorsing measure G is something that everyone in San Bruno will do. Attend the school board meeting 7pm, this Wednesday, @ Crestmoor Elementary to learn more. ~Scott -- PS: Hey Dennis C., if we aren't already talking, reach out to me about the many different options you have to support Crestmoor :-)
Annie Goldstein September 19, 2012 at 06:36 PM
I am happy that the El Crystal community is banding together and fighting for what they believe in; better education for their children!!! Go El Crystal!!


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