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After the Doors Open: Implementing
Where magnet schools are a vehicle for achieving a district goal, early development steps involve determining a direction through a chosen theme, mission, and specialized curriculum and then pulling together the people needed for successful implementation. Then comes the reality of translating mission and vision into practice. During this period, as the program evolves and faces its early challenges, it is important to build capacity and remain focused. Among the questions that can loom large are: How do we ensure equitable outcomes for all students while committing to innovative curriculum? How do we empower all stakeholders to take responsibility for our fledgling program?
Some researchers believe that teachers are the most important influence on what students learn.10 In the successful magnet schools featured here, school leaders moved quickly to minimize the impact of start-up issues and stayed focused on ensuring the quality of teaching and learning in the classroom. Reports from the profiled schools reveal that, in each case, staff tried to approach major challenges by implementing pragmatic solutions to meet immediate needs without compromising a vision for sustaining success.