CENTRAL — Central Elementary School is set to transform into the “Central Academy of the Arts” in the 2018-2019 school year.
On Tuesday, the School District of Pickens County’s board approved the plan to turn the school into an arts-themed magnet school.
Central is one of two schools the district is transforming through its Breakthrough in School Choice Initiative, which is focused on changing traditional schools into themebased magnet schools. Central Academy will use an arts-infused and arts-integrated curriculum based on the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts Model.
“Arts integration goes far beyond having top-notch art, music, and dance classes,” said Tish Goode, principal. “It is an approach to teaching in which students construct and demonstrate their understanding of the general curriculum through an art form. It involves including art methods such as drawing, song-writing, drama and media in core subject areas, showing students how their creativity and artistic ability connects to the world around them.”
CAA will phase in its arts-integrated curriculum over five years.
Year one will feature core-subject teachers co-teaching units with related arts teachers. By year five, teachers will be able to integrate arts standards and coresubject standards to be taught together.
In addition to specialized classes in Art, Music, Dance, Media, Technology and Physical Education, students in grades 3-5 will choose a “major” to hone their skills based on their own interests and talents.
Proposed majors include Band, Sketching, Pottery, Broadcasting, Digital Design, Tap Dancing, Drum Fit and more.
CAA is also working in conjunction with R.C. Edwards Middle School to develop an elementary band program unique to the School District of Pickens County.
Students will begin instrumental instruction in kindergarten, leading up to basic woodwind and brass instruction in 4th and 5th grade. Each grade level will also host two local, state, or nationally-recognized artists as artists-in-residence each year who will specialize in an arts-infused event.
Also, CAA will be the only elementary school in SDPC to have a full dance studio equipped with springboard floors and mirrors.
“Research has shown that young people who participate regularly in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement than children who do not,” said Danny Merck, SDPC superintendent. “We have high expectations for how Central Academy’s program will impact students academically. I have been amazed by the plan that Mrs. Goode and her team have put together to truly transform Central into something unique and I appreciate the board’s support in allowing our schools to innovate.”
Students who live in the Central Elementary School zone are automatically approved to attend CAA and are eligible to receive bus transportation.
The school also encourages students outside the Central zone to attend on school choice, although the district does not provide transportation for students attending outside the school’s zone.
If the number of school choice applications exceed school capacity, the school district will use a lottery system to determine admission.
The application period for students to school choice into CAA will run from Jan. 16 until Feb. 23.
The school will begin to notify applicants about acceptance on March 9.
Immediately after the holidays, families who are zoned for Central will receive a letter of intent in the mail, which they are encouraged to fill out and return to the school by Jan. 12.
School choice applications will be posted online on Jan. 16.