ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - During the month of February, Rapides Parish Schools hold open registration for all students in the district. While they have plenty of traditional brick and mortar educational options to choose from, there are a few new programs available.
Inside Mabel Brasher's classrooms, students learn the Montessori way.
"Focus a lot on manipulatives and hands-on learning, because kids really do learn through manipulating things with their hands," said Mabel Brash Pre-K and Kindergarten teacher Marissa Palombo.
Mabel Brasher is one of the newest Montessori schools in Rapides Parish. Next year they will offer first and second grades. Peabody Montessori and Rosenthal Montessori are also in Alexandria.
Palombo said students learn at their own pace.
"I write 20 different lesson plans a week for 20 different kids, based on what their needs are," Palombo said.
Across the parish students can find specialized instruction at five magnet schools: Rapides Academy for Advanced Academics and Virtual Learning (RAAAVL), Alexandria Middle Magnet, Arthur F. Smith Magnet, Phoenix Magnet, and W.O Hall.
"Our students want to here everyday, and we want to give that opportunity to every student in Rapides Parish," said RAAAVL Principal Jenifer Scott.
The advanced academic magnet first appeared two years ago, helping students dive deeper and cover more topics.
"The curriculum is pretty strict, but the kids have a lot of options available to them," said social studies teacher Taylor Broussard.
Students in grades 6 through 8 face daily challenges.
"This is a very challenging school," said RAAAVL student Christian Beraud. "Like college is challenging, so this is just one step under it."
But, before college, students can pick their high school through open enrollment.
Next year, Bolton High School will offer a performing and visual arts program. It will focus on six different areas: vocal music, visual art, theater, orchestral strings, dance, and band. Students who are interested in applying must also audition.
The district's new Career and Technical Education Center is also expanding at Peabody Magnet High School.
"These teenagers need opportunities and the workforce needs these kids," said Certified Nursing Instructor Amber Laborde.
CTEC offers students a chance to get certifications in skilled work like carpentry, welding cosmetology and even become a certified nurse after high school.
"College is a different ballgame," said student Breasha Eggins. "Being able to know what you want and to go and strive for it and set your goals."
Next Year, students from ASH, Bolton and Rapides High will be eligible to enroll and will be bused to Peabody.
"This is just really giving them a leg up and they are going to be ahead of all their peers," Laborde said. "And next year we get to open that up to everyone."
Applications for open registration can be found on the RPSB website, a link is attached.
Below is a full list of open registration contacts for Rapides Parish Schools:
Pre-Kindergarten (on-line throughout the month and on-site the week of March 5th) Cindy Rushing (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Kindergarten (at each individual school) Cindy Rushing is the contact.
Magnet School Registration:
Phoenix Elementary (email@example.com)
RAAAVL (Rapides Academy for Advanced Academics & Virtual Learning) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Arthur F. Smith Magnet (email@example.com)
Alexandria Middle Magnet (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mabel Brasher (NEW) email@example.com
Rosenthal Montessori firstname.lastname@example.org
Peabody Montessori email@example.com
Career and Technical Education Center: