First published in the Feb. 23 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.
CONTENT AND PHOTOS PROVIDED BY PUSD
With its state-of-the-art auditorium, colorful murals, spacious dance studio and gorgeous art gallery, Eliot Arts Magnet Academy is much more than a middle school.
Eliot is one of seven outstanding magnet schools in the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) and one of three selected to share the district’s third federal magnet grant. PUSD was also awarded magnet grants in 2017 and 2013. The third grant totals nearly $15 million over the next five years.
As part of the nationwide Magnet Schools Month in February, students from Eliot and its elementary counterpart, Altadena Arts Magnet, gave U.S. Rep. Judy Chu a warm welcome on Feb. 3. The school tour highlighted just a few of the benefits of attending a PUSD magnet public school.
“I think this is such a magnificent achievement — recognition by our U.S. Department of Education’s Magnet Schools Assistance Program,” Chu said. “I’m so proud of PUSD for having schools like this and that Altadena Arts Magnet was nationally certified as a Demonstration Arts Magnet for this nation.”
Each of PUSD’s seven magnet schools has a concentrated curriculum based upon educational themes including: visual and performing arts, environmental science, STEM, dual language (Spanish, French) and Early College.
“It is truly extraordinary because this is the third major magnet grant awarded to PUSD since 2013. It recognizes the excellent work we have done so far, and it energizes us to do more on behalf of the students of Pasadena, Altadena and Sierra Madre,” said Superintendent Brian McDonald.
Longfellow Elementary, Washington Elementary STEM Magnet, Jackson STEM Dual Language Magnet Academy, Octavia E. Butler Magnet and John Muir High School Early College Magnet, all 2013 or 2017 grantees, are also celebrating National Magnet Schools Month.
The latest five-year grant from the federal Magnet School Assistance Program brings an environmental science program and Spanish world language to Washington, creates a new cross-cultural learning magnet program at Longfellow, and enhances the visual and performing arts and French programs at Eliot.
“The new magnet grant brings significant funding to expand PUSD’s arts, STEM and language learning pathways that are based on students’ interests and aspirations,” said Shannon Mumolo, project director for Pasadena’s two current magnet grants. “Magnet Schools Month is a great opportunity to celebrate PUSD magnet schools and see first-hand how our students benefit from the engaging curricula and learning environments that magnets provide.”
These innovative magnet programs allow students to come together from different social, economic, ethnic and racial backgrounds. Thanks to the Pasadena Educational Foundation which co-wrote the competitive grant application, the new funding will support professional development, as well as the creation of collaborative learning spaces for years to come.
Magnet Schools are free and open to students within and outside of PUSD boundaries through the PUSD Open Enrollment system. The next lottery takes place March 6, at 9 a.m. through- March 10, at 4 p.m. Out-of-district applications are also accepted during the March lottery dates. For more information, visit pusd.us/openenrollment.