Magnet Schools

Picture of Garlough Students with Teacher To provide families with more choices to find the right school for their child, School District 197 includes four magnet schools in addition to neighborhood schools. Magnet schools offer the same rigorous curriculum as other schools, but magnet schools integrate specialized themes ("magnet programs") designed to meet the learning interests and strengths of each child. 

District 197's magnet schools are: 

  • Pilot Knob STEM Magnet School (Grades K-4)
    Focuses on science, technology, engineering and math, with projects related to scientific discovery and problem solving 

  • Heritage E-STEM Magnet School (Grades 5-8)
    Provides a focus on science, technology, engineering and math, with projects and field experiences related to the environment 

All four magnet schools provide:

  • Academically rigorous classes that meet state standards
  • Group projects and learning experiences
  • Attention to individual student learning needs
  • Up-to-date technology throughout the building
  • A focus on inquiry that teaches students to ask questions that help them learn
  • Bus transportation from any location within the school district in accordance with the district’s busing guidelines.
  • Special education services, however, based on the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and level of need, a placement in another district school may be determined.

Magnet schools are free and open to all students. Find out how to enroll in a magnet school

Garlough Environmental Magnet School has been operational as a magnet school since 2007, making it School District 197's first magnet. Garlough was formed in partnership with Dodge Nature Center, and offers the same core curriculum as the district’s other elementary schools but with a nature-based theme integrated into every class. Garlough has gained numerous state and national recognitions, including being named a National Magnet School of Excellence in 2009-2011, 2014 and 2015; and a National Magnet School of Distinction in 2016 and 2018.

Encouraged by Garlough's success and seeking ways to offer parents more school choices, District 197 applied for and received a federal magnet grant to develop three new magnet programs, starting in 2010. This grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) provided funding for establishing Heritage E-STEM Magnet School, Pilot Knob STEM Magnet School and Moreland Arts & Health Sciences Magnet School. These schools' magnet themes were selected after extensive study by school staff as well as surveys and focus groups with current and prospective parents throughout the district.