At its March 14 meeting, the District 65 School Board approved a proposal to change the focus of Dr. Bessie Rhodes Magnet School to a “global studies” school and to enhance the focus of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School as a “literary and fine arts” school.

Each school has been preparing for the change, and each has already taken some steps to make the change. The transformation, however, will not immediate, but will be phased in over time. “Each school will continue to refine their theme through curriculum development and professional development,” said Superintendent Hardy Murphy in a memo to the Board.

District administrators presented an “evaluation plan” that lists implementation outcomes and expects “continuous improvement in student achievement.” The plan says the MAP, ISAT, DRA, ISEL tests will be used to generate baseline data.

In addition, the District will track the number of applications to the magnet schools to determine if parental interest in the schools has increased, and surveys will be developed to seek feedback on implementation and student outcomes.

The District estimated the incremental cost to implement the changes at $77,000 in year one, $87,000 in year two, and $77,000 in year three. Assistant Superintendent Susan Schultz said no amounts were built in for renovations to the schools to accommodate the new programs.