Q: We read about different types of schools and are confused about some of the names. Can you give us the missions of, and difference between, the following: global elementary schools, magnet schools, middle schools, Title 1 schools and street schools? Many thanks.
Answer: Here are explanations of different categories of schools as provided by Brent Campbell, chief marketing and communications officer for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools:
- “A global elementary school in our district represents a school that has a focus on understanding all or multiple parts of the world by incorporating different languages, cultures, and ideas into the traditional course of study. Speas Global Elementary, for example, is a dual immersion school meaning the students learn most all things in both Spanish and English. They also have multi-cultural events and perspectives woven into their studies and try to take a look at the world and it’s varying ways of life as a part of the daily studies.”
- “A magnet school is a school with a specialized course set and curriculum. We have more than 20 magnet schools in our district which are schools students can choose to attend if they have an interest in say the arts, or STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math). Magnet schools have varying themes and are meant to attract children of various backgrounds, interests and achievement levels. They are still accountable to state standards.”
- “Middle schools” in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County system are any school that serves students in grades 6 through 8. Grades 5 and under are considered elementary schools, Campbell said.
- “A Title 1 school by definition is a school with larger concentrations of low-income students. Those schools are federally identified and typically receive supplemental federal funds to assist in meeting the student’s educational goals and bring additional resources to the school and learning environment.”
- “A ‘street school’ is not something we have in our public school district. Typically street schools are private, alternative schools designed for students who have struggled in other more traditional learning environments. That is a broad definition based on my limited experience. We do not have a ‘street’ school that is part of our district.”
The Winston-Salem Street School, which is on Sixth Street in downtown Winston-Salem, is a private alternative high school, according to its website.
Something else Campbell said he frequently gets questions about from people unfamiliar with the concept are International Baccalaureate, or IB, programs.
“These are programs/schools that have an international focus based on principles created in Switzerland that really focus on setting high standards and on creative thinking, critical thinking, and research,” he said. “There are programs for all levels and can include entire schools or parts of a school. These share a commitment to high quality, challenging international education. They encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning and work to help students gain an understanding of the world.”