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Magnet Schools

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Innovative learning for the 21st century

We have five elementary, one middle and two high school magnet opportunities. Magnet schools are free public schools organized around specialized themes designed to appeal to students' interests and aptitudes. Our magnet school learning environments are designed to successfully educate all students.
We are proud of the innovative learning environment we cultivate in District 196, and another way we engage our students is through our magnet program.
Magnet schools offer parents increased choice in their child’s education by providing a concentrated theme that offers innovative ways to meet students’ learning goals through a particular focus. While giving parents increased choice, our magnet schools still provide the district’s core curriculum in the areas of science, math, language arts and social studies.
To attend our elementary, middle school and the School of Environmental Studies Magnets, parents must fill out an application. A lottery is held for spots at each school and families will be notified of placement after the lottery is completed.

Application Information!

Selecting a school for your child is an exciting process! We invite families to take a tour of our magnet schools to find the right fit for their student. Please contact your school of choice to schedule a tour.  Parents may only apply to one school for the Elementary Magnet Lottery.  All late applications (after the window has closed) will automatically be added to the schools waitlist.  Students may be pulled off of school waitlists until July 15th.  For more information click on the links in our "Resources" section.
  • Elementary Magnet Window - CLOSED - Applications will now be added to the 2024-25 waitlist.  


  • Valley Middle School of STEM (VMSS) Window - CLOSED - Applications will now be added to the 2024-25 waitlist.  


  • The School of Environmental Studies (SES) - Applications are still being accepted for the 2024-25 school year. Apply using the link below. Please contact Michelle Oberg at 952-431-8752 for more information.


  • Apple Valley High School - No application necessary.  Contact the school directly for registration at 952-431-8200.

Our Magnet Schools

K-12 STEM Pathway

District 196 is a national leader in STEM education and incorporates a "STEM For All" philosophy. We established a Pre-K STEM Pathway at our four STEM-focused magnet schools. From an early age, students learn the importances of researching, experimenting, analyzing and critical thinking. We believe the classes offered in this pathway are more than just curriculum, but rather an innovative approach to learning in the 21st century.

Students following the STEM Pathway begin their journey at either Cedar Park Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) School or Echo Park School or Leadership, Engineering and Technology. They continue their learning at Valley Middle School of STEM, followed by an immersive and rigorous educational experience at Apple Valley High School.

Magnet School Events

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