Frequently Asked Questions



Find answers to the most frequently asked questions parents have about our intra-district magnet schools, application and lottery process below. 



If you have additional questions, please Feel free to Contact Us

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How are the magnet themes linked to the curriculum and what makes each school unique?

  • Each school offers a unique magnet theme and approach to teaching and learning that is integrated into the curriculum,
  • Themes provide students the opportunity to explore an interest that will make teaching and learning most enjoyable and meaningful to them.
  • Partners from the community, region and beyond also provide coaching to staff and unique curricular opportunities and partnerships.
  • Students exposure to the theme is enriched and expanded through in-class experiences, field trips, before and after school programs and more.
  • Partners from the community, region and beyond also provide coaching to staff and unique curricular opportunities and partnerships.

How are all schools the same academically and what services are available?

  • All Groton elementary magnet schools will follow the district curriculum for literacy, math, science and other core subjects. 
  • We will seek for students to achieve the same grade level expectations and proficiencies, and students will take the same state assessments. 
  • All students will have specials including art, music, health and PE, as well as well as other enrichment opportunities linked to their theme.
  • All of our elementary magnet schools will have special education teachers on staff in addition to related service providers.
  • District family and student services including, School Based Health Centers, Free & Reduced lunch and Before and After Care are available to all students regardless of what school they attend.

What is an intra-district magnet school?

Groton's intra-district magnet schools serve families who are residents of Groton and are districted to attend Groton Public Schools. Residents of surrounding towns are not eligible to apply to Groton Public Schools magnet schools.  

Do need to complete an application if I plan to attend my neighborhood school?

No. Students who live in the districted attendance zone of each school do not need to enter the lottery and will be assigned to their neighborhood school. However, we encourage all K-5 families and students to explore all the Groton magnet elementary school choices including our two new schools - Mystic River Magnet School and Thames River Magnet School - and the exciting opportunities each offer your child.  


How do I know which school is my neighborhood school?

Families can identify their neighborhood school on our School Listings By Street


My elementary student entering an upper grade (3-5) is interested in one of the new themed magnet schools. Can my child apply? 

Yes! Any Groton student who will be in grades K-5 can apply.  In fact, now is a great time for our older students to begin exploring a new area of interest and start on a path that they can continue at our STEAM themed Groton Middle School. As we look ahead to a return to full in-person learning, an opportunity to attend one of our newest elementary schools and enjoy a new theme may be just the right fit for many of our students as they get re-engaged in learning. They may even have a friend already planning to attend or apply to the same school. 


Which schools will offer Preschool and Pre-K programs?

Mystic River Magnet School and Thames River Magnet School will be home to Groton Public Schools Preschool and Pre-K programs beginning in September 2021. Older siblings may also apply to these schools for a seat in their respective grade.


I am currently a magnet student who enrolled in Catherine Kolnaski STEAM Magnet School or Northeast Academy Arts Magnet School after being accepted through the lottery?  Do I need to reapply?

Students who previously accepted a seat through a lottery do not need to reapply and can continue at that school through fifth grade or until the student decides to move schools.


How do I apply to one of the magnet schools?  

Groton families interested in having their child attend one of Groton's intra-district magnet school may complete the district online application, which will be available in early March, to be entered into the lottery.  

We encourage new students to the district to also register with Groton Public Schools. Visit Registration for more information.


Is there a separate application for each school?

No, there will be one district application, which will be available at in early March 2021. The application will be available for approximately one month. The closing date will be announced at the time the application is made available.


Do I need to reapply each year? 

Students who are accepted to a school via the lottery and enroll in that school do not need to reapply each year. 

Students who were not accepted may reapply in the following year's lottery.


How is admission determined?

Selection is through a random, district-wide lottery. Each school will determine the available number of seats available per grade based on enrollment and fill those seats.


Is there a waitlist?

Families offered a seat through the lottery will have the option to decline or accept a seat for their child.  Students who were not accepted will be placed on a waitlist, should a seat become available.


If one of my children applies and get offered a seat, will my other child also be accepted?

Students who have an older sibling already attending one of our magnet schools do receive a preference, if a seat in their grade is available.

If siblings apply to the same school and one is offered a seat in the lottery, their sibling will be offered the next available seat in their respective grade, if one is available.

Siblings may apply to different schools, but will not receive any preference.

Students who are siblings must live in the same household, at the same address, to be offered a seat through a Sibling Preference.


Does applying early increase my chance of getting a seat at a specific school?

No.  Families can apply anytime within the announced application period and before deadline and will receive the same chance of receiving a seat in the lottery. 


Can I tour the schools?

Do to the pandemic we will be hosting virtual information sessions and tours.  You can also follow the progress of our two new schools on the Community Link Building Page on Facebook.


Is bus transportation provided?

Yes. In-district student bus transportation is provided to students that are accepted through the lottery.  Bus transportation is also available to Groton preschool and Pre-K students who will be attending one of our two new schools - either Mystic River Magnet School or Thames River Magnet School. 


What if I move to the area after the application period?

Families new to Groton must first complete the Online Registration Form and follow the steps outlined on the Registration page. After registering, if you are interested in attending a Groton magnet school that can be discussed at the time of registration, should a spot become available throughout the school year.  Please visit Registration for more information.


My child currently has an IEP or Section 504 Plan?  Will he/she continue to receive the services in their individual plan in their new school? 

All of our elementary schools will have special education teachers on staff in addition to related service providers such as a speech and language pathologist, occupational therapist, occupational therapy assistant, school psychologist, school social worker, and physical therapist. Each school’s student support team will be available to provide students with the services required in their Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 Plan within the general education setting and in the resource room. Students who have IEPs that require specialized instruction in district-wide programs will attend the schools where these programs are located.