Magnet program accepting applications

Published 12:04 am Monday, January 20, 2014

Ridgecrest — Parents hoping to send their children to the Concordia Parish Academy of Math, Science and Technology have until Feb. 27 to submit their applications for the available slots.

The magnet program, which operates at the former Ridgecrest school site, offers specialized courses and does not rely on school district lines, but rather can draw students from the entire parish.

The school opened in 2012 for grades kindergarten to fifth grade with 120 students. Each school year, students in the highest grade move up and create the next grade level. Sixth grade students this school year will move up and create the first seventh-grade class at the 2014-15 school year.

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Director Nancy Anders said the enthusiasm of students at the school the last two years has validated the need for a magnet program in the area.

“I really didn’t expect to see it take off like this, but the children, parents and teachers all enjoy coming here and being a part of the program,” Anders said. “I am excited about the future and just to be able to visualize the progress some of these kids have had already.

“I think we have a really good future ahead of us.”

The students enrolled at the school automatically will be enrolled in the next grade if they have maintained the academic and disciplinary requirements.

Slots for a new kindergarten class will be open as well as a few throughout all grade levels, Superintendent Paul Nelson said.

“A couple of other spots have come open from people leaving the area, so we’re hoping to have a big group of folks applying so we can fill every spot,” Nelson said. “We’re really excited about the magnet school as it continues to grow.”

Students will be chosen by a random lottery system.

A sibling rule, allowing a brother or sister of a student who was chosen in the lottery the choice to attend the school, will also be put in place.

Even if all spots are taken, Nelson said students will be put on a waiting list and get first preference when a spot opens at the school.

There are no requirements to enter the magnet program, but once a student is enrolled, they have to maintain a 2.5 GPA and keep good behavior and attendance records to remain enrolled.

Parental involvement and participation are also factored in to a student remaining at the school.

Applications are available at the school, the central administration building on U.S. 84 in front of the municipal complex or online at

The deadline for the applications is 3 p.m. Feb. 27.

Applications can be dropped off at the central administration building or mailed to P.O. Box 950, Vidalia, LA 71373.

For questions on the application process, contact Cindy Smith at 318-336-4226 ext. 35120.

As the school continues to expand, Nelson said the district will begin looking at athletic and extracurricular programs for the students, as well as plans for when current students reach higher grade levels.

One idea during the planning phase for the program, Nelson said, was to eventually expand the Ridgecrest site to be able to house grades kindergarten through 12th.

At the school board’s meeting Thursday, Nelson said the board voted to create a committee to study the idea of building a college and career center in Ferriday next to the Central Louisiana Technical Community College.

“The college and career center would serve as a hub for juniors and seniors who could take a 100 or 200 level college course there and walk across the street and take nursing, welding or building courses at the community college,” Nelson said. “It would be open to students at all three schools plus the magnet schools and would give us a dual threat there by being able to meet the needs of that college-bound student and a vocational student.”