Most adults remember learning history in school by reading history books and watching grainy black and white movies on an overhead projector. Math often entailed repeatedly doing times tables charts …
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Most adults remember learning history in school by reading history books and watching grainy black and white movies on an overhead projector. Math often entailed repeatedly doing times tables charts and figuring equations on worksheets.
The newly opened Metropolitan Arts Academy, housed in the old Metz elementary building, will offer students the chance to learn the basic elementary skills through various forms of art, as part of Westminster Public School’s Vision 2020 strategic plan.
“The pre-k-through-six academy will adhere to the same teaching standards as the rest of the district, but education will be delivered using most of the major disciplines, including visual arts, music, dance and the performing arts,” said Dr. James Duffey, chief operating officer for WPS.
For instance, students may learn about history through propaganda posters, giving them a view of how art conveys what is going on in the world at a certain time.
Literature may be taught by reading books that have been adapted into plays and/or movies. Students may learn math by building sets for theatrical productions, learning to create and solve mathematical equations as they measure and build the sets, according to Duffey.
The creation of the academy was outlined in the district’s strategic plan that was shared with voters in November 2018, during the successful mill levy override election.
“Parents should know the all of our elementary and middle schools will continue to offer quality arts programs, but the Metropolitan Arts Academy will offer a deeper level arts instruction and unique opportunities so students are fully prepared to take advantage of our elite arts program at Westminster High School,” said Superintendent Pam Swanson.
The academy will be open to enrollment to students both inside and outside of the WPS boundaries, and the school will be redesigned to support the programs. Since the academy is structured differently from traditional elementary schools in the district, board members voted to give the school innovation status, which allows more flexibility in programming.
The school will have three additional days at the end of the school year and offer extended workdays Tuesday through Friday. Students will also have flexibility in “seat time” requirements, which allows them to pursue more off-campus opportunities.
Duffey said community members will be invited to attend productions put on my students at the academy several times a year.
“We’re really excited about getting the community in to see the students’ progress through productions several times a year,” said Duffey.
Parents of students who attended Metz Elementary were notified of the new academy, and were given the option to keep students enrolled there. Students who choose not to attend the Metropolitan Arts Academy can “choice into” other elementary schools in the district. Enrollment information and an application can be found at the district’s website at westminsterpublicschools.org.
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