A few dozen kindergartners at
Second-graders will learn to write songs. Fourth-graders could build a mock TV station.
The arts-rich lessons will be part of the
"When you can make a difference in their lives through the arts, it motivates them," said
The academy is part of the district's larger initiative to expand access to the arts for all students and does not require additional funding. As part of their professional development, teachers have been equipped to integrate the arts into lessons, and area professionals are donating time and services to the cause.
The academy at Blackshear -- which is at less than half capacity -- might also help boost enrollment. Placing signature programs at low-enrollment schools is a strategy the district has been using in recent years to attract more students to those campuses.
At 225 students last year, the school has seen enrollment dwindle since the late 1990s, according to
In the past few years, the district has begun efforts for a greater arts-rich curriculum in music, dance, theater and the visual and media arts; an anonymous donor gave the district
Since Blackshear began incorporating more fine arts teaching into the curriculum two years ago, student academic performance has soared. Last year, the state awarded the school all three of the distinction designations -- for academic achievement in reading, academic achievement in math and student progress. Children-at-Risk, the
"Students are excited when they're performing their work," Blackshear Principal
On Fridays, the students will get an extra dose of fine arts, with more options, including exercise: yoga, cycling, athletics and dancing.
"We want to reach inside these kids, find out where they are and improve their talents and their creativity," Goodman said. "We want them to use those academic skills and apply them to all areas of their lives."
African American: 25.2%
Two or more races: 2.2%
Economically disadvantaged: 97.3 percent
English language learners: 40.7%
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