Enrollment for the upcoming school year is already underway. Whether you choose public or private, there are a lot of options and factors to consider when deciding what's best for your children's education.

One option is magnet schools, in Hamilton County, there are 15 of them. Each are still a part of the public school system, but they offer special instruction and programs not available at other schools.

The Carter family is from Ooltewah, they are up early and near the front of the drop off line at Battle Academy.

"With me working downtown, it's easier for me to get off work and come here and pick her up," said Natalie Carter.

Choosing a school is an important decision for families. When the time came for Carter to pick a school for her daughter, she looked into magnet schools.

"The reason why I chose a magnet school over public school is because it's more hands-on in regards to the teachers and the parents," Carter said.

Each magnet has a unique personality as some might say, and they have different themes and instructional approaches.

At Battle Academy they focus on the theory of multiple intelligences developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner.

"We try to plan instruction throughout the day that hits the body smarts, logic smarts, music smarts, all the different smarts, and a strong arts integration," Battle Academy Principal Jesse Goins said.

Class sizes range from 18 to 21 students per class and are often more diverse because students from anywhere in the county can apply to attend.

"I like the diversity here. Everyone is treated equal, everyone is valued for what they bring to the table," Carter explained.

Parents can't get out of homework either. Each family has to complete 18 hours of service to the school each year.

"We have dads that come in and build the bench that's outside. Moms come in and help with various activities throughout the day," Goins explained.

The process to get in can be competitive, last year 150 students applied for 40 spots at Battle Academy.

"Sometimes parents like magnet schools based on location, but more often than not it's our instructional practices that are the big draw," Goins said.

This year, the system is moving to an electronic lottery system. Carter said to research options to narrow your search before applying.

"Take a look at the school, you're able to tour the school, they offer tours. It's always fun just to look at what your child is interested in," she said.

Some magnets are grade-level specific, and some are for kindergarten through twelfth grade.

Applications for magnet schools are due on Thursday, January 31.

You can apply online on the Hamilton County School's website.

On Monday, January 14th, you can visit all of the magnet schools in one night.

Hamilton County Schools will host a Magnet Schools Fair where families will be able to meet with representatives from all 15 magnet schools and learn more about each school's unique offerings. The event is free and open to the public.


Magnet School Fair details:

Date: Monday, Jan. 14

Time: 5 PM to 7 PM

Location: South Chattanooga Recreation Center, 1151 W. 40th St., Chattanooga, TN 37409