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DPS Magnet School Applications Open Friday, December 1 for 2024-25 School Year

Decatur, Illinois — Decatur Public Schools’ three magnet programs will begin accepting applications online on December 1, 2023, for students interested in enrolling in a magnet program for the 2024-25 school year. Again this year, the magnet application process will be done completely online using an online application and lottery system again this year, called SchoolMint.

Each of the magnet school programs offer unique philosophies to draw students from all over the district. Any student living within the District #61 boundaries can apply to a magnet school. Programs range from structured environments in which students wear uniforms to a curriculum that encourages independence. You can learn more about each program now and submit an application starting December 1 at

Each magnet school will host MANDATORY orientation sessions in the coming weeks, during which interested families can tour the schools and speak with the magnet principals to get a feel for each program. Attendance at these informational sessions is required this year to apply for magnet programs, so that families understand the individual programs and academic requirements at each school. Dates for these orientation sessions will be announced as soon as possible.

Online applications are open Friday, December 1, 2023, through Wednesday, January 31, 2024. The District’s central office will then conduct an electronic lottery in March 2024 to fill the available seats in each magnet school program. Parents/guardians will be notified by email and/or text message throughout the application and lottery process.

Decatur Public Schools will offer the following magnet school programs for the 2024-25 school year:

American Dreamer STEM Academy (K-8th Grade)

American Dreamer STEM Academy will offer Kindergarten through 8th grade in the 2024-25 school year. This program provides a strong STEM education, emphasizing science, technology, engineering, and math. The Academy has been designed to foster innovative thinking through STEM teaching and learning, a passion for inquiry, and a compassion for others so students can enrich our world. We provide a challenging learning environment in STEM which maximizes individual potential and ensures students are well-equipped to meet the challenges in the world around them. American Dreamer STEM Academy has a positive environment designed to

promote self-confidence and self-efficacy in each child. The Academy also has high expectations for manners, respect, and being considerate to others. Students learn to work together through daily collaborative experiences, which develop a sense of being a part of the learning team. We empower students to think critically, reflectively, and apply their knowledge and skills to a greater context. Students experience unique opportunities for STEM education with rigorous and relevant hands-on investigations through inquiry-based instruction, integrated curriculum, and collaboration. The Academy adheres to a uniform dress which fosters a sense of pride and family. To create a successful atmosphere for progressive learning, commitment to the American Dreamer STEM Academy guidelines is required by parents, students, and staff

Johns Hill Magnet School (K-8th Grade)

Johns Hill Magnet School will offer Kindergarten through 8th grade in the 2024-25 school year. Johns Hill has the longest history as a magnet school in Decatur and houses the district’s English as a Second Language program. Johns Hill encourages all students to reach their greatest potential. Johns Hill’s vision statement, “Inspiring students by enhancing academics with multicultural experiences and the visual and performing arts”, sums up the Johns Hill philosophy. In addition to the core academic subjects, we are integrating the arts in all of our programs. We offer solid programs in foreign language, fine arts, music, and sports. Many students excel in several areas, and most students participate in a variety of activities. There are multiple languages spoken by students who attend Johns Hill and students have opportunities to celebrate cultural diversity. It is expected that all parents are fully involved in their child’s education. This includes volunteering in the classroom or helping with programs outside the school day. Students succeed when the learning community of parents, teachers, and students communicate and work together on a regular basis.

Montessori Academy for Peace (PreK-8th Grade)

Montessori Academy for Peace will offer full- and half-day PreKindergarten for three- and four-year-old students, plus Kindergarten through 8th grade in the 2024-25 school year. The Montessori program is based on the philosophies of Dr. Maria Montessori, world-renowned physician and educator. The Montessori curriculum is designed to encourage respect, responsibility, cooperation, manners, and a sense of community. The emphasis on reading, math, language, science, geography, and cultural and practical life experiences are encouraged as part of the Montessori environment. Self-discipline, independence, and the development of personal responsibility are also a strong focus of Montessori. One of the goals of the school is to allow students to reach their full potential in all areas of life. Teachers are highly qualified and work with students based on the individual needs of the child. Parents and families are encouraged to participate in the school. These factors add to the academic success demonstrated by the students.

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