Potsdam Central School should consider becoming magnet school, resident says
Monday, March 11, 2013 - 2:59 pm

To the Editor:

The financial crisis facing Potsdam Central (and so many other districts) is resulting in discussions of ways to re-organize schools to save money and to protect the education of students. It might be just the time for the PCSD to look into becoming a magnet school.

According to education.com,“...magnet schools are distinct from other public schools because they offer specialized academic focuses or themes...they are open to students outside the normal school district boundaries but offer rigorous, yet competitive, programs to attract high-caliber students.”

It only makes sense that the BOE at Potsdam Central should be discussing the possibility of making PCS a magnet school for music. The district’s strong music program, coupled with its proximity to the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, makes the PCSD an ideal location for a music magnet school. The district could shore up its viability (Supt. Brady stated at a recent forum that the district is about 2 years from insolvency) by attracting students from outside the district boundaries.

Additionally, it makes sense for the PCSD to become a magnet school for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). The school district’s proximity to Clarkson University - renowned for its work in STEM subjects - makes the notion of having a magnet school for STEM at Potsdam Central an obvious choice.

“NY Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing to establish 10 new programs modeled on Pathways in Technology Early College High Scholl (P-TECH), the IBM-backed school in Brooklyn that takes students through high school and  two years of college with the goal of meeting the demand for workers with the right skills for high-tech jobs.” See: http://www.informationweek.com/education/policy/new-york-state-plans-exp...

According to the article, there would be one new school based on this model in each of 10 economic development zones around the state. Why not make PCSD the model for our economic zone?

It’s time to plan for the future instead of constantly reacting to circumstances that are thrust upon us. The PCSD has two enormous assets - SUNY Potsdam and Clarkson University. Imagine the PCSD as being a magnet school for both music and STEM...it would take the school district to another level, attract students from the region, and might go a long way to addressing fiscal problems and improving educational offerings.

Ann Martin Carvill, Potsdam