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New Haven Magnet School Applications Down 30% This Year

Alan Levine

Applications to enroll in magnet schools in New Haven, Connecticut, for the upcoming year dropped nearly 30% compared to last year. The school choice program is a key component of ensuring racial diversity in Connecticut schools.

Marquelle Middleton is the director of school choice and enrollment for New Haven Public Schools. He said applications from both city and suburban residents declined at the same rate and the district is working to fill vacant spots.

“Our district continues to implement post-recruitment strategies, particularly to our suburban market to see if there is still an interest in coming to some of our inter-district schools. Hopefully we can make up some of the loss,” Middleton said.

Middleton said he is also planning a campaign to reach out to New Haven residents to make sure children are signed up for kindergarten in the fall. He said it is too early to say how much the fall semester closure of city schools due to the pandemic affected enrollment.

“Because of the pandemic we know that some families may have felt less comfortable sending their children to in-person schooling, or New Haven did remote learning initially for the first several months of school and we know that that model did not work for all families. So we’re sure that that had some part on it, but we’re not sure how much role it plays,” Middleton said.

Middleton said families in New Haven and beyond who are interested in regional schools can still contact his office to enroll anywhere there is not a waitlist.

Cassandra Basler, a former senior editor at WSHU, came to the station by way of Columbia Journalism School in New York City. When she's not reporting on wealth and poverty, she's writing about food and family.