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Only positives, no negatives for magnets

<p>From left, Technology Specialist Lynn Leidigh and Speech Communication Specialist Masako Christian Clinton Elementary Magnet School in Sherwood show off the booth they displayed Saturday during the annual Magnet School Fair which was held at the McCain Mall. Clinton Elementary was one of 16 schools represented where Pulaski County magnet schools are holding open enrollment for new students.</p><p>Photos by Greg Rayburn</p>Buy Photo

From left, Technology Specialist Lynn Leidigh and Speech Communication Specialist Masako Christian Clinton Elementary Magnet School in Sherwood show off the booth they displayed Saturday during the annual Magnet School Fair which was held at the McCain Mall. Clinton Elementary was one of 16 schools represented where Pulaski County magnet schools are holding open enrollment for new students.

Photos by Greg Rayburn

<p>From left, students Kameryn Presberry, Meredith Werner, Gavin Putman, Maggie Lawrence, and Eva Casto of Crystal Hill Elementary Communications Magnet School in North Little Rock hold cuddly hamsters Saturday during the annual Magnet School Fair which was held at the McCain Mall. Crystal Hill was one of 16 schools represented where Pulaski County magnet schools are holding open enrollment for new students.</p>Buy Photo

From left, students Kameryn Presberry, Meredith Werner, Gavin Putman, Maggie Lawrence, and Eva Casto of Crystal Hill Elementary Communications Magnet School in North Little Rock hold cuddly hamsters Saturday during the annual Magnet School Fair which was held at the McCain Mall. Crystal Hill was one of 16 schools represented where Pulaski County magnet schools are holding open enrollment for new students.

Magnet schools within the school districts of Little Rock, North Little Rock and Pulaski County Special School District were on display Saturday at the McCain Mall in North Little Rock as their institutions tried to encourage the students of shoppers to enroll into their houses of learning.

Donna Creer, executive director of the Magnet Review Committee, said 16 schools were represented at this year’s annual Magnet School Fair.

“We have held these probably for 16 or 17 years,” Creer said.

The annual events usually have been held at the Park Plaza Mall in Little Rock but this year’s school fair was held in North Little Rock.

“We try to come where people are rather than bring them to us,” Creer said. “We like to go where there is a lot of high traffic.”

Creer said the committee decided to hold its fair in North Little Rock because some of the students live on the north side of the river.

“This year we wanted to do outreach in North Little Rock and Pulaski County,” Creer said. “We wanted to be closer to the parents in Jacksonville, Maumelle and North Little Rock. We wanted to be in their backyard.”

Crystal Hill Elementary Teacher Cindy Casto said she and fellow teachers Sherri Keesee and Pamela Keith wanted to man their magnet school’s booth because they wanted to show prospective students all the wonderful programs their school has to offer.

“We are very proud of our school,” Casto said. “We have a very diverse student body.”

The Magnet School Fair coincides with the magnet school early application period that started Jan. 28 and concludes on Friday, Feb. 8.

Creer said students from pre-K to 12 could enroll in a magnet school.

“You can enroll anytime, but if you enroll in the early enrollment period, you have the best chance and option if you enroll now,” Creer said. “You can find out before Spring Break whether you are in.”

Clinton Elementary Magnet School in Sherwood was also represented.

Clinton Technology Specialist Lynn Leidigh said the event provided the school a chance for prospective students to learn about her schools many programs, including in the area of technology.

The magnet school fair was held in both the main floor and food court areas of the Mall.

On the lower level, near the food court and stage, event sponsors, the Magnet Review Committee, its staff and volunteers, shared enrollment information and provided sample applications.

Students from different magnet schools performed on the McCain Mall’s stage, with demonstrations including orchestras, choirs, drama, ROTC, and dance.

Creer said the fair provided potential magnet school parents, students and interested community members the chance to ask questions and get answers.

“They could ask questions and get answers from the folks who make magnets happen – magnet school principals, teachers, parents, students and district administrators,” Creer said.

Crystal Hill teacher Pamela Keith said she was happy to participate at this year’s fair because it was a way to raise awareness about the magnet school program. Keith said there is a chance that the magnet school program could be done away with and she wanted to do her part to bring more students into the magnet school system and promote Crystal Hill.

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