Personal Experiences in the MCPS Magnet

Meredith Casper, director of the Division of Accelerated and Enriched Instruction (AEI) of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), gave a talk about the many choices of accelerated learning programs in the Montgomery County area from the elementary to high school level.


Written by Lillian Zhou, edited by Rachel Li and Lucas Lin


On September 23, Meredith Casper, director of the Division of Accelerated and Enriched Instruction (AEI) of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), gave a talk about the many choices of accelerated learning programs in the Montgomery County area from the elementary to high school level. Additionally, Casper provided information on admission and application processes to the aforementioned programs, as well as news on recent or possibly upcoming updates to certain aspects of current instruction.

Many parents that attended the talk have children who are considering applying to a magnet program. Choosing which program to go to or preparing to apply for a program can be difficult.

When applying to schools, Casper said that the best preparation is to get a good night’s sleep before the day of the test and to have a good breakfast. Schooling should have already prepared applicants for the magnet program. If preparation is desired, Clemente Middle School and many high schools have test prep books available. Casper warns, however, that if you need to do a lot of prep work before the test to get good scores, the program might not be a good fit for you.

As a magnet student, what I find to be the first, and most important, step in preparing for tests is to excel in classes, which includes turning in homework, paying attention, understanding the content, and challenging yourself academically. If you are not doing these things, the application test and getting in will be much more difficult.

Kaitlyn, a seventh grader currently in the humanities magnet program at Eastern Middle School, said, “For Eastern, taking practice tests or courses like A Plus of Dr. Li aren’t going to guarantee you get into the magnet in any way, but they do help a lot. You don’t have to go to expensive programs to study for the test – you can get free practice tests online, and study by yourself.”

However, the hard work is worth the reward. Magnet programs have many positive aspects. Every parent interviewed said that one of the best parts of magnet programs is being with other kids that are willing to learn. Another parent added that “…Teachers can teach at the same level, a higher level, rather than having to teach lower level kids and higher level kids at the same time.”

Vickie, a tenth grader at RM, says that “students at my school share study guides to help each other study.” A result of this is that students can learn new things from their peers that they didn’t know before, leading to increased knowledge and a more interesting school experience.

Another positive of magnet programs is that there are many different choices. Casper introduced a wide variety of schools and programs from the elementary to high school level. Some of these programs included a sciences magnet program at Roberto Clemente Middle School, arts program at Einstein High School, or sciences magnet program at Poolesville High School.

Hopefully, everyone who attended the talk learned something new about the many magnet programs offered by MCPS. Good luck to any that are applying to programs soon, and thank you to Meredith Casper for spending her afternoon with us and for all her work with the magnet programs.


This article was provided by Chinese American Parents Association Junior Reporter Club (CAPA JRC) with members who interviewed, audio recorded, wrote, translated, and video recorded. CAPA JRC has 19 Montgomery County middle to high school students. They have created a bilingual platform delivering news and serving the community.

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