After over a decade, NC shuts its doors for their esteemed Magnet program


Zioni Moore and NCSIS, edited on Canva

After a whopping 17 years of operation, the North Cobb Magnet program for international studies will discontinue new students for the 2027 cohort. A multitude of different factors has circled for the reasoning behind ending the program, including financial struggles under superintendent Chris Ragsdale, severe mental health issues of students involved and the potential of disadvantaging high achieving non-magnet students’ post-secondary school opportunities.

Zioni Moore, Co-Copy Editor

All good things come to an end, and the International Studies program hosted at NC serves no differently. The graduating class of 2027 will become the final iteration of the magnet sector. Famed for the travel and focus of curriculum for the broader understanding of the world, the post-COVID-19 world has damaged the reputation of Cobb County’s desire to study the globe.

“It breaks my heart; I started my career with this program, I’ve made good colleges and I have my children in this program because I truly believe that this program is special and needed,” Program director James Auld said.

Starting in 2006, the program joined alongside other renowned pathways that Cobb County —private, public and anyone else in between—could apply to. What made NCSIS so special, however, remained their distinct focus within the liberal arts; from sciences with their emphasis on the sophomore to junior AP Seminar and Research Diploma, social studies focus with courses galore and the written arts allowing students to take AP Language and Composition, the demanding program forced the county’s smartest students to push themselves to their limits. Additionally, the continuous build from previous years and the bundle courses—two classes that defied the block schedule by becoming the focus of the year’s angle in terms of academia—proved extremely advantageous for students. 

However, the program did not exist without its faults. Internally, the trips that brought students to the program only truly allowed those with the financial capabilities to travel, blocking a large sector of their students from fully immersing themselves in the real-life application of concepts and situations from their textbooks. Not to mention the heavy workload students faced even as freshmen causing an extreme dip in participants’ mental health, something of an inside joke for magnet students, but still genuinely concerning to the public and parents alike. Externally, non-magnet students that still wanted to achieve tall goals felt coincidentally disadvantaged from the blocked classes that only magnet students could take, citing it as potentially impacting their abilities to compete in college admissions. 

Regardless, the straw that broke the camel’s back resided in the lack of funding to keep the program running. Without massive donations from alumni and the greater community, consistently uncomfortable moves by superintendent Chris Ragslade against liberal arts and education as a whole have forced a greater emphasis on STEM courses, making the money too tight to continue. Overall, the program still seems to have certain individuals fighting to keep the diversity of skills and programs in place, but until then, the curtain has drawn on Cobb County’s most interesting magnet program.

“I’ve seen my child grow so much as a person and as a human through this program. Sure, it can be a little cliquey and parent circles can be pretentious, but it’s all out of love and admiration for what makes it [NCSIS] so special. Never in a million years would I think when I was in high school that you could do some of these things, and while 60% of it has to do with the amazing kids in the program, there’s gotta be some credit to the actual program,” magnet parent Dinetra Gatewood said.


April Fools, you fool!


The Chant