Magnet program launches this fall

Lee High School is inviting people interested in a new magnet program the school is starting this fall to attend a community forum at the Instructional Resource Center, 1022 S. Foster Drive, next to the School Board Office on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

“We want to make sure that what we’re setting up and implementing is what the community is really interested in,” said Carlos Sam, assistant superintendent for school leadership and instruction.

A similar meeting was held in June at the high school, but it was broader, soliciting ideas for the entire school in advance of its reopening in August; the high school was closed in 2009 to avert a state takeover.

Sam said one idea being seriously considered is to center the new magnet program around science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, but with some art added, earning the acronym STEAM.

Lee High’s magnet program will be the 15th such program in the East Baton Rouge Parish school system.

Superintendent Bernard Taylor has floated the idea of creating magnet programs at six more schools, at least, but Lee High is the only definite one. Lee is also one of four schools for which the school system plans to seek a large federal grant to help finance new magnet programs.

Lee High reopened in August and has 226 students in the ninth and 10th grades who live in the school’s new south Baton Rouge attendance zone.

The school plans to add an 11th grade next year and a 12th grade in fall 2014.

The School Board voted Nov. 15 to rebuild the old rundown campus at 1105 Lee Drive, requiring a two-year relocation until construction finishes in summer 2015. The board, though, has yet to settle on where Lee students, both those in the regular program and those in the new magnet program, will attend classes during the interim.

This story was updated on Dec. 3, 2012, to correct the location of the Wednesday meeting to the Instructional Resource Center, 1022 S. Foster Drive, next to the School Board Office.