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.