What is Early Review?

Isabella Bonilla

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The Jefferson County Public Schools system offers 66 magnet schools and programs between its 169 educational facilities and stands as the 29th largest school system in the United States. The district runs on a school choice system where students from all grade levels have the opportunity to attend either their neighborhood or a magnet school.

Magnet schools or programs cater to specific subjects, learning environments or teach niche skill sets. Unlike resides, these programs require an application process for admission where in some cases students are required to turn in multiple essays, recommendations or work portfolios. Those who are rejected are left to attend their neighborhood school, only allowed to reapply the following school year. For students who find their neighborhood school unsatisfactory, magnet programs offer potentially life-changing chances.  

Most magnet programs start in middle school, and have connecting programs in high school.  For example, Newsburg, Farnsley and Meyzeek all have an MST magnet, which can be continued at Manual or Central High School.  Manual specifically has three magnets of continuation; MST, VA and YPAS. There are a total of five magnets, but only three could have been taken in middle school prior.

Since these particular middle schoolers have prior experience and training, they are open to a unique application process known as Early Review. However, just because a student was in a particular magnet program in middle school does not mean they will necessarily gain admission to the high school continuation. 

Early Review is an application procedure only for those who’ve been in a recognized MST, VA or YPAS program. Most, if not all of the middle schoolers will have been in the magnet for three years, already learning in specialized courses or curriculum. This includes the middle schools Newburg, Farnsley, Meyzeek, Noe and Western.  

“.. there are still openings for students from other middle schools who apply to this magnet,” states Manual’s website.

Students who are eligible for Early Review have a submission deadline that’s over a month before regular application begins. They are notified whether or not they’ve been accepted to Manual a week before the official district deadline. If they are rejected, they are still allowed and have time to reapply to a different Manual magnet or school.

“Early Review does not help a student gain admission to a magnet program at Manual, but it does allow students to re-apply if their ER application is unsuccessful. This is the primary advantage of Early Review,”  Manual’s Assistant Principal Mr.Kuhn said.

Not even half of all Manual students are Early Review applicants. There is a blend of familiarity, tyros and the first introduction to diversity. 

There are those who start freshman year and have met their craft firsthand in the classroom, proud in three years of dedication beforehand and looking forward to future growth. There are also those who start freshman year and have opened their minds to this flood of erudition, who have invested in the power of their education and also look forward to future growth. Both students have equal worth and desire to pursue. Both students exist and thrive at Manual.