In West Hartford you have a
choice of Elementary Schools!

Take a look at our 2
magnet school options! 

West Hartford families are justifiably proud of the quality of their neighborhood elementary schools. So some parents wonder, why consider a magnet school? West Hartford’s two magnet elementary schools begin with the same comprehensive curriculum standards as neighborhood schools, but enrich the student experience with an inquiry based teaching and learning model. Many families find the inquiry-based model encourages children to think more creatively and independently.

In addition to the inquiry-based learning model, our magnet schools each embrace a specific learning theme. Charter Oak International Academy’s instructional philosophy is based upon the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Program, which encourages students to develop a more global perspective. Florence E. Smith STEM School emphasizes science, technology, engineering and math.

If you feel your child would thrive in one of the West Hartford School System’s magnet school environments, we encourage you to explore further. Read more at our website, schedule a visit to either or both schools, or talk to someone whose child already attends a magnet school. You know your child best, so why not explore the full range of options available? Florence E. Smith STEM School and Charter Oak International Academy are available exclusively to West Hartford residents.

Magnet school admission is available only to students who are currently enrolled in the West Hartford Public Schools or are residents of West Hartford. If admitted into a magnet school you will need to demonstrate West Hartford residency before the magnet slot can be awarded to your child. An application form must be completed for each child seeking admission. Applications are available online between January 9, 2020 and March 6, 2020 at 4:00 p.m.  For assistance, please call or visit the Residency Office in Room 162 at Town Hall, phone 860-561-6620.

Frequently Asked Questions

Magnet School Timeline 2020-2021

Application Process Starts
January 9, 2020

Parent Information Meeting at Smith STEM
February 13, 2020 at 6:30 PM
(snow date: February 20, 2020 at 6:30 PM)

Parent Information Meetings at Charter Oak
January 23, 2020 at 6:30 PM
(snow date: February 6 at 6:00 PM)

Application Due
March 6, 2020 by 4:00 PM

Lottery Results sent
March 20, 2020

Responses to acceptance due
March 27, 2020

Waiting List Review
Late June and mid-August

Who can apply to these magnet schools?

Only residents of West Hartford. Both Smith STEM and Charter Oak International Academy magnet schools are open to students in pre-kindergarten through grade 5.

Where can I apply?

You can apply online at These magnet schools are open to West Hartford residents only. If you are admitted into a magnet school, you will need to establish residency before your admittance can be accepted. Please visit Residency for more information on residency requirements. 

May we apply to both magnet schools?

Yes and No. Kindergarten thru 5th grade applicants can apply to both schools with a first and second choice option.

Pre-Kindergarten applicants can apply to one of the two magnet schools.

If my child gets into a magnet school, will we have to go through the lottery again the next year?

No. Once your child is enrolled in a magnet school, their slot is guaranteed.

I live in the Charter Oak or Smith neighborhood. Do I need to apply to the lottery?

If you live the magnet school attendance zone and are entering grades K through 5, you do not need to apply. If you live in the attendance zone and are applying for pre-kindergarten, you will need to apply through the lottery.

If we have one child currently enrolled in a magnet school as a magnet student, will his/her brother or sister get in as well?

All children, including siblings of currently enrolled magnet students, must apply through the lottery. Siblings of currently enrolled students at Charter Oak will be given the lowest lottery numbers. K-5 siblings of currently enrolled K-5 students at Smith will be given the lowest lottery numbers.

Is transportation provided to the magnet schools?

Yes, transportation will be provided to students who attend a magnet school and live more than a mile from the magnet school.

What if my child doesn’t get into a magnet school through the lottery?

Students who don’t make enrollment through the magnet school lottery will be put on a wait list, and then given the choice to enroll as slots open. The wait list is reviewed in June and again just prior to the start of school in late August. The wait list is then deleted as a new magnet lottery process is started each year.

Tips for completing your child's magnet school application

  1. Read through the materials included in this application packet. Considerable care and planning have gone into devising clear and equitable procedures for the selection of students in a manner that is consistent with the magnet school admissions criteria adopted by the West Hartford Board of Education. The magnet brochure explains some of parents’ most frequently asked questions about selection criteria and other procedures related to the application process.
  2. If you have not already done so, you may want to visit the magnet schools before deciding to apply. In fact, we encourage you to do so! To arrange a visit, simply call the principal and set a mutually convenient time. Mr. Juan Melián, principal of Charter Oak International Academy, can be reached at 860-233-8506 and Ms. Teresa Giolito, principal of Florence E. Smith STEM School of Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math, can be contacted at 860-236-3315. Both principals are eager to show you their schools and share their exciting programs.
  3. Please make certain that your on-line application, at is completed on time. Applications are due by 4:00 p.m., Thursday, March 6, 2020. Early applications are appreciated, but the order in which they are received will not affect the selection process.
COIA art


Charter Oak
International Academy

The world is our classroom all day everyday.

50 pre-kindergarten slots, open to students ages 3+

Developing internationally-minded students who inquire into global issues and take action on their learning.

The world is becoming a smaller place. This generation of children will be the most international and diverse in modern US history. The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP) brings a deeper level of inquiry to the curriculum. Students’ natural curiosity drives investigation of current world issues in relation to science, social studies and the arts.

Students at Charter Oak International Academy learn across subject areas to understand multiple perspectives and promote peace:

  • Inquiry-based units of study focused on global issues with an emphasis on the environment and sustainability
  • Instruction in social, communication, research, thinking and self-management skills
  • Technology-rich classrooms promote student research, creation and presentation through a variety of media
  • Enrichment for All: flexible whole class and small group enrichment opportunities engaging students in transdisciplinary problem solving and critical thinking
  • Partnerships with IB schools and global institutions around the world
  • Student developed video announcements using state-of-the-art video production equipment
  • Student-led conferences enable students to take responsibility for their own learning, reflect and set goals with their parents and teachers
  • Student-led assemblies provide a forum for students to share their work, talents and achievements and develop leadership skills
  • Fifth grade collaborative capstone project where students inquire, collaborate, synthesize thinking, present and take action on globally significant, locally relevant issues
  • World language instruction pre-kindergarten to grade 5
  • Full day, NAEYC accredited, inquiry-based pre-kindergarten
  • After school Explorations to enrich and enhance learning
  • Suzuki violin lessons pre-kindergarten to grade 3

For tours and more information, contact: 

Charter Oak International Academy

425 Oakwood Ave.
West Hartford, CT 06110

stem sign

Florence E. Smith
Stem School


16 pre-kindergarten slots, open to students ages 4+

Cultivating student’s curiosity and creativity through inquiry-based learning, with an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

The Florence E. Smith STEM School is an exemplary 21st Century learning community whose students persevere to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and learning dispositions to be responsible, productive, creative, and self-directed learners. With 21st century skills at the heart of a STEM Education, Smith STEM School prepares all students today for the world of tomorrow no matter which career paths they follow. In addition to the district curriculum, Smith STEM School provides students with innovative learning experiences through our Habits of Mind, engineering curriculum, integration of technology, and student-centered inquiry experiences. Our inquiry-based instruction and learning empowers students by cultivating critical thinking, problem solving, perseverance and collaboration.

Smith STEM students reach beyond subject areas to challenge their minds in creative ways:

  • Weekly science lab experiences led by our science teacher in the only elementary science lab in the district
  • Monthly student led assemblies highlighting our Habits of Mind, student achievements and stewardship
  • Engineering is Elementary curriculum developed by the Boston Museum of Science
  • Smith TV: Student led bi-weekly broadcasts highlighting STEM events in the news as well as STEM events at our school
  • After school enrichment program, STEAM PM, emphasizing our Habits of Mind, Science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and the arts
  • State-of-the-art recording studio where students combine their love of music and with technology
  • Technology-rich classrooms that foster communication, critical thinking, collaboration, and problem solving
  • Signature 21st Century STEM experiences at each grade level supported by our STEM specialist
  • A math specialist who supports meaningful mathematics instruction that fosters student independence and allows students to construct their own conceptual understanding to solve real world problems by applying mathematical ideas
  • Computer Coding
  • Suzuki violin lessons pre-kindergarten to grade 3
  • Full-day NAEYC accredited inquiry-based pre-kindergarten
  • A proud partner school with the Connecticut Science Center

For tours and more information, contact: 

Florence E. Smith STEM School

64 St. James Street
West Hartford, CT 06119