PUSD Magnets ‘Attract’ New Numbers

Altadena Arts, Muir Early College, and Washington STEAM all see higher enrollment this semester



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In a year that has seen students and teachers adjust to a “new normal” of the Coronavirus pandemic, a little good news has popped up in the Pasadena Unified School District.

Magnet school enrollment is on the rise. John Muir High High School Early College Magnet’s enrollment has suddenly jumped up by more than 120 students from the previous Fall, while Altadena Elementary is up by more than 200 new students, according to PUSD Magnet Schools Coordinator Shannon Mumolo.

According to Mumolo, the goal of the magnet schools is to attract students from different neighborhoods, as well as students outside of school boundaries.

“And so,” says Mumolo, “we’re working really hard to make sure that we promote the great things that are happening at the schools.”

As a strong example, she noted, Altadena Elementary has almost doubled its enrollment in one year. While acknowledging that approximately half of the increase is due to school consolidation, Mumolo emphasized that half of the students chose Altadena for its arts and French immersion programs.

According to Mumolo, Altadena Arts Magnet is in the top three percent of schools in the nation, in terms of the amount of arts education offered within the school day.

At the same time, she said, the John Muir Early College program is up by more than a hundred students. And, notes Mumolo, the numbers at Muir can be directly attributed to the strength and attraction of college courses for high school students.

“It’s the early college offerings that Muir has,” said Mumolo, adding that more than 60% of PUSD ninth graders earned college credit last year.

“Those are students who are just beginning their high school journey,” said Mulumo, “So, to know that they’re going into 10th grade with college credit and experience under their belt, just speaks volumes about the potential for significant college credit completion at the high school level.”

Along with good numbers at Altadena and Muir, said Mumolo, Washington STEM has also seen an increase of about 33 students. The school offers a math Academy and a Spanish language dual immersion program.

Blair High, with the addition of its Armenian language program this year, is also up by approximately 100 students.

“Despite the shift to remote instruction, PUSD continues to offer its special programs and a high-quality educational experience, and people are starting to take notice,” Mumolo noted, proudly.

Magnet schools offer monthly tours, and dates are posted on their respective websites.

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