2017-2022 exemplary school designees

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Arizona School for the Arts

Phoenix, Arizona

Founded in 1995, Arizona School for the Arts (ASA) is a nonprofit, public charter school committed to equity and access where no prior art experience is required and all students are welcome. ASA is an innovative model in education with a concentration on college preparation through immersion in the performing arts. The school serves more than 830 students in grades 5 through 12, providing each student with two hours of performing arts education every day in addition to a rigorous academic curriculum.

Annually, ASA students participate in more than 60 performances on campus and at premier organizations statewide. The school has received multiple recognitions for academic and civic excellence and has a diverse population of students from over 100 zip codes across the valley. ASA is in downtown Phoenix and is a valued partner within the Greater Metro Phoenix area in the arts and culture community. www.goasa.org

“Arizona School for the Arts is proud to join the impressive cadre of ASN Exemplary Schools. As an organization, ASN represents the pillars of excellence we strive to uphold. As a highly performing academic school we recognize the extraordinary tapestry created by weaving together intensive artistic study with rigorous scholarship. Our students emerge with perspectives, leadership attributes, and passionate interests that the arts singularly cultivate in each of us. Our peers in the Arts Schools Network give us validation and new aspirations to strive toward.”  – Leah Fregulia, Head of School/CEO

Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts
Chattanooga, Tennessee

Founded in 1998, Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts (CCA) is a unique, dedicated, fine arts magnet school promoting academic and artistic excellence for students grades 6-12 and serves approximately 600 students. The college preparatory academic emphasis of the school is enhanced by a commitment to the arts as a vehicle to reinforce learning and foster creativity. Arts programs in communications, music, dance, theatre, and visual arts, plus a well-rounded academics program, direct students in a progressive pathway to a bright future.

To receive the greatest benefit from CCA, students take risks, make commitments, and give their best every day. Students feel comfortable and confident that they are learning what is necessary for success artistically and academically. Excellence in every area is the goal at CCA.

Accredited by the Tennessee Department of Education and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, CCA has been recognized as a Kennedy Center National School of Distinction, a Magnet Schools of America School of Distinction, and a STAR School by the International Network of Performing and Visual Arts Schools. http://www.centerforcreativearts.net/about/

“CCA is a haven where arts and academics share center stage. Our staff, coupled with our curriculum, nurtures both the artist and the scholar through its all-encompassing approach to individual responsibility, respect for the arts, and critical thinking. CCA’s 600 students in grades 6 through 12 receive both pre-professional training in the arts and rigorous college-preparatory academics. The Arts Schools Network award and their mission to support emerging artists mirror what Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts celebrates every day with all students and stakeholders in our school family.” – Debbie Smith, Principal


Colorado Springs Conservatory
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Founded in 1994 by Oberlin Conservatory and Julliard-educated Linda Weise, the Colorado Springs Conservatory (CSC) is the Pikes Peak region’s only non-auditioned preparatory performing arts conservatory, offering world-class immersion studies and programs in instrumental music, vocals, music theory, theater arts, recording arts, dance, movement, history, and humanities to young people ages birth through high school. CSC seeks to be a magnet for those who aspire to be bold, creative, brave, and courageous leaders. It further seeks to contribute to the betterment of the global community, instilling confidence and compassion, growing creative leaders, drawing forth intrinsic skills and abilities, and being a generating magnet of innovation and excellence. In short, we seek to instill “Excellence in Performance and Life!”

CSC provides much needed curriculum for not only those students who are seeking it in after-school programs, but for public school leaders who have become adamant that the arts remain an important part of every child’s education. The success of programing is reliant upon five key components: Community, Creativity, Culture, Collaboration, and Children. Bringing these elements together with visionary leadership and intentional team has led to what we now know as the Colorado Springs Conservatory. http://coloradospringsconservatory.org/

“We are honored and humbled to once again have the good housekeeping seal of approval from ASN. We are proud to be affiliated and a part of such a prestigious national organization.” – Linda Weise, CEO


Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts
Fort Worth, Texas

The mission of Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts (FWFA) is to inspire in artistically talented students a lifelong passion for learning, empowering them to achieve academic and artistic excellence. FWAFA is a public charter school serving the greater Fort Worth area, that provides comprehensive programs in dance, music, theater and visual arts. Students are involved in a minimum of two hours of fine arts coursework each day, enabling them to embrace creativity and hone their craft.

In addition to the exemplary fine arts programs, FWAFA students are required to participate in a challenging college preparatory academic program. In recent high school rankings published by US News & World ReportThe Washington Post and Newsweek, all rated FWAFA as one of the nation’s best high schools based on academic statistics. Students are accepted to FWAFA through an audition process based solely on artistic talent and potential. FWAFA is a school of Texas Center for Arts + Academics.  www.fwafa.org/

“We’re truly honored to have been named a 2017-2019 ASN Exemplary School,” said FWAFA Principal Craig Shreckengast. “This important award reflects and reinforces the extraordinary efforts of our faculty and staff in providing the best possible arts-based curriculum for our students.”


Garner Fine Arts Academy
Grand Prairie, Texas

The Garner Fine Arts Academy, a Grand Prairie ISD public school of choice for Pre-K – 5th grade, challenges the status quo. The school captures students’ hearts to affect their brains. It provides students with a rigorous academic environment through arts integration while developing their health and wellness. Teaching strategies integrate the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills into an arts-based teaching approach, and consistently achieve the highest levels of academic success on state-wide assessments.

The arts–integrated academic curriculum ensures students are ready for the academic challenges in college and careers. All students have the opportunity to explore and develop their skills in the areas of visual art, music, dance, theater, and video production. As students identify an area of interest and strength, they can audition for specialized performance groups and participate in deeper study as well as performances and competitions. High levels of artistic performance are demonstrated each year as these groups receive awards in state level contests. Whether the child continues in arts education or choses to explore other interests, the combination of rich arts experiences and rigorous academic focus affords each of them the strength and self-assurance to achieve lifelong success.  http://www.gpisd.org/garner

“It is such an honor to be recognized by ASN. From Pre-K through high school, Grand Prairie ISD is fully aware of the role the arts play in student achievement. The combination of the arts and high academics prepares our students to be successful no matter what their future plans may be. I love to watch the looks of pride on the faces of our parents as they watch their child whether it be on a stage, behind a microphone or crafting a visual, tactile piece of art. The arts are powerful in GPISD.” – Dr. Susan Simpson Hull, Superintendent

“I am proud that we are being honored, because our staff and students work so hard to develop each student’s love of the arts. Be it dance, art, music, theatre or video production, we keep the arts center stage, which inspires everyone at Garner Fine Arts Academy. I truly thank the Arts Schools Network for this recognition.” – Vikki Vogel, Principal


Harrison School for the Arts
Lakeland, Florida

Harrison School for the Arts is an audition-based high school providing an intensive arts education experience. Harrison offers twelve arts disciplines: chorus, creative writing, dance, guitar, jazz, motion picture arts, musical theatre, orchestra, piano, theatre, technical theatre, and visual arts. Founded in 1989, Harrison has an arts-specific curriculum for each arts discipline.

Students complete a total of ten arts credits over four years, and complete general academic courses through neighboring Lakeland High School, virtual school options, and dual-enrollment options. Harrison students have access to a variety of Advanced Placement courses, including arts-specific courses such as AP Studio Art and AP Music Theory. The Harrison faculty received national recognition, including Surdna and Fulbright awards. The Harrison Dance Department features an ABT® Affiliate Teacher. Harrison student films have been accepted into the Los Angeles and Sarasota International Film Festivals. In 2017, the Harrison Women’s Chorus performed at the National ACDA Convention in Minnesota. In 2018, the Harrison Symphony will perform for a second time at the Festival of Reeds in La Croix Valmer, France. Last year, 95% of the seniors graduated with honors and 93% went on to pursue a post-secondary degree. https://www.harrisonarts.com/


Houston High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
Houston, Texas

Since its inception in 1971, Houston ISD’s HSPVA has been a model for subsequent magnet schools throughout the United States and abroad. HSPVA is an inner city, public high school for grades 9-12. It is a diverse community of approximately 750 students, representing a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds. The school is noteworthy among educational institutions in that students are selected for admission by auditioning in the disciplines of creative writing, theatre, dance, instrumental music, vocal music, and visual art. HSPVA’s 45 years of excellence in both art and academic curricula is well-documented with numerous state, national, and international awards. Among them are The Texas Governor’s Exemplary Award, The Rockefeller Award for Educational Excellence, five GRAMMY Awards, and the International NETWORK of Performing and Visual Arts Schools Exemplary School Award. In September of 2005, HSPVA was named a Blue Ribbon School for academic excellence by the United States Department of Education. Students spend an average of three hours per day in their respective art area, which provide instruction at the pre-professional level. The students spend the remaining hours of their time at HSPVA studying the traditional academic program as required by the state of Texas. www.hspva.org

“We are thrilled to once again be designated as an Arts Schools Network Exemplary School. The tradition of excellence in both the arts and the academics at HSPVA is validated by this recognition.” — R. Scott Allen, Principal


Howe Hall Arts Infused Magnet School
Berkeley County, South Carolina

Howe Hall Arts Infused Magnet School (AIMS) is a nationally recognized elementary school founded in 2002 to serve the children of Berkeley County. Its mission is to include the arts as an essential component of the curriculum to optimize student achievement through a variety of learning experiences that facilitate the development of our students as lifelong learners and productive citizens.

In addition to the core academic subjects, the AIMS philosophy includes standards-based instruction in dance, theatre, music, and visual art. Students experience the arts through co-taught infusion lessons, exploratory classes, and arts integration in their core subjects. Howe Hall AIMS received the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award in 2015, the National Blue Rib bon School of Excellence Award in 2010, was named a Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network Creative Ticket School of Distinction in 2007, and has been awarded Palmetto Gold Awards for Overall Achievement and Closing the Achievement Gap annually since 2009. http://www.bcsdschools.net/Domain/31


Idyllwild Arts Academy & Summer Program
Idyllwild, California

Changing lives through the transformative power of art. Idyllwild Arts’ idyllic mountain setting inspired its name. Set on over 200 acres situated in the mountain village of Idyllwild, Idyllwild Arts is a unique educational institution with a focus in all art forms for all artists of every age and level of accomplishment. Idyllwild Arts has a long and rich history of nurturing the creative talents of thousands of artists. Since the late 1940s Idyllwild Arts has been dedicated to providing the ideal environment for artists in every artistic discipline to seriously pursue their artistic passions.

Idyllwild Arts Academy & Summer Program, founded in 1946, originally operated as a summer arts program for students of all ages. In 1990, it became a residential high school for the arts, with its own academic program and an enrollment of more than 300 students. The Academy is one of only three independent residential high schools for the arts in the nation, and enrolls students from approximately thirty states and thirty-one countries. Nearly sixty percent of Academy students receive some financial aid, totaling over $5.5 million annually.

Upon entry, a student declares a major in one of seven arts disciplines: creative writing, dance, film and digital media, interdisciplinary arts (InterArts), music, theatre, or visual arts. Students study academics five mornings a week. During afternoons, evenings, and weekends, students attend arts classes and rehearsals, work in studios, and practice. Many of the 47 full-time faculty members live on campus. Academy graduates are represented at more than 250 colleges and universities in the U.S and abroad.

Construction on school’s 206-acre rural site is designed to complement and sustain the magnificent natural environment. The Academy’s facilities and programs are funded by competitive tuition and a very generous, although small, donor pool and endowment.


Inspire School of Arts & Sciences
Chico, California

Inspire School of Arts and Sciences, conceived as a third high school for the Chico Unified School District, has come to embody the “culture of support and acceptance” the founders envisioned in the original charter. The school provides a unique balance of freedom and rigor; students can explore their passions through a range of outstanding arts and engineering courses, but are also held to high expectations in both their academic and elective core classes. For this reason, students, especially those who would not otherwise be successful in traditional schools, are deeply connected to the life of the school, to adult staff, and to each other. Students take ownership in community building and know it is their responsibility to live Inspire’s values and pass them on to younger students. They resonate with pride that comes not just from “being the best,” but from seeing the best in each other. The results are truly inspiring.

Inspire serves approximately 440 students; the school size within the grades 9-12 program will not exceed 480, a size which researchers suggest is best for small learning environments. The 19 academic core teachers and eight arts teachers address the needs of students that are creative and talented in dance, music, theatre, visual arts, design, and engineering. Currently, 90% of students are enrolled in arts programs. http://www.inspirecusd.org/


Ladera Vista Junior High
Fullerton, CA

Ladera Vista Junior High School of the Arts is a center for innovation and creativity. Through the infusion of visual, performing, and digital arts, the school strives to support students in making meaningful connections in their learning. Using a unique balance of challenging academics and arts curricula, Ladera Vista students experience arts infused learning, through which they connect to a rigorous academic curriculum while integrating the arts. These courses include a strong emphasis on 21st century learning and preparedness, and 35 arts-based electives in visual, performing, and digital arts. Learning in the arts extends beyond the school day at Ladera Vista, with a thriving After School Arts Conservatory Program and Evening Classes for Families. Students participate in classes such as guitar, comedy improvisation, hip hop or hula dance, ceramics, songwriting, and stop-motion animation. The popular evening  classes  bring  families  together  through a variety of arts-based experiences. These opportunities embellish learning in the arts for the entire school community.

Ladera Vista exhibits a passion and enthusiasm for exploration, learning, and achievement; and celebrates and encourages each student’s success; and provides a warm and welcoming school community, where students know that they are safe and supported in reaching their greatest potential. http://www.fullertonsd.org/ladera/

“This ASN Exemplary School designation validates the outstanding work of our staff and the innovative and rigorous programs and practices at Ladera Vista Junior High School of the Arts. Our entire school community is proud to receive this honor.” — Randa Schmalfeld, Principal


Mississippi School of the Arts
Brookhaven, Mississippi

The Mississippi School of the Arts (MSA) is a public, residential high school for eleventh and twelfth grade Mississippi students, specializing in intensive arts training in dance, literary art, media art, theatre, visual art, and vocal music. The school’s mission is to provide a challenging arts education for artistically gifted Mississippi students in a residential learning environment that promotes honor, integrity, service, and life-long learning.

Students at MSA are selected through audition, and receive high school academic classes required for graduation and arts classes in selected disciplines of study. Approximately 145 students representing 51 MS counties make up the school’s population. MSA is governed by the Mississippi State Board of Education and funded by the Mississippi legislature. Located in downtown Brookhaven on the historic campus of Whitworth College, MSA is a centerpiece for activity for the downtown Community, offering a vibrant environment for youth to create, imagine, and realize.

The vision of MSA is to provide a challenging, dynamic, supportive community of diverse learners where artists imagine, create, and realize a better world in which to live and work. www.msabrookhaven.org

“We are so pleased to receive the Arts School Network Exemplary Arts School designation. This honor validates the hard work and exceptional talent that is developed at the Mississippi School of the Arts. Our students, alumni, and staff are excited that ASN recognizes high quality arts education and are humbled that we have been placed alongside our counterparts as an example.”  — Suzanne Hirsch, Executive Director


North Fort Myers Academy
North Fort Myers, Florida

North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts (NFMAA) has been designated a 2017-2020 Florida Alliance for Arts Education and Florida Department of Education “Florida Arts Achieve Model School” for providing a complete and comprehensive education that includes dance, theatre, music, and visual art education to all students. The school is a K-8 public school within The School District of Lee County. Students are given access to the schools’ arts programs through direct arts instruction and through arts infusion with the student’s academic curriculum. Students are encouraged to commit to artistic and academic mastery through their school and community endeavors. Students proudly and successfully represent the school at county and state level competitions and adjudicated events.

NFMAA has a policy of “Arts for All,” actively involving diverse populations including ESE and ESOL students in arts programs and classes. The school’s mission is “Arts and Academics in a safe and caring environment.” Students share their talents in the community throughout the year with performances in local professional venues and during fundraising events for local charities. The school has become a driving force in the re-vitalization of the community. http://nfa.leeschools.net/


Orange County School of the Arts
Santa Ana, California

As one of the premier arts schools in the nation, Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) embraces and encourages artistic creativity and academic excellence.  This innovative public charter school provides a uniquely challenging and nurturing environment focused on individual growth, opportunity, and diversity. The U.S. Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Arts have recognized OCSA as a model arts education program. The school is also accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

The school currently serves a culturally diverse student body of more than 2,100 students in grades 7-12 from more than 125 cities throughout Southern California. The academic faculty is fully credentialed, and the majority of the arts and academic teachers hold advanced degrees.  They are dedicated and supportive professionals who help students develop the skills necessary to succeed in higher education or a profession in the arts. Guest artists and industry leaders also share their expertise and creativity with students through residencies, lectures, presentations, and hands-on training. The school is tuition-free, donation dependent. No student is admitted or denied based on financial capacity.


South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities
Greenville, South Carolina

The South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities (SCGSAH) cultivates young artists from across the state through pre-professional training in the areas of creative writing, dance, drama, music and visual arts. As a public, residential high school, serving juniors and seniors, students refine their talents in a master-apprentice community while receiving a nationally recognized academic education. Tuition is free for students who are accepted into the residential program.

Summer programs are also available to rising 7th-12th grade students.SCGSAH opened its doors to its first residential class in 1999, and the school continues to build upon a tradition of creativity and scholarship. Students move on to admission and scholarships at highly competitive colleges, universities, and conservatories around the nation. From performing on Broadway and major network television to winning Tony Awards and international fellowships, alumni have launched highly successful careers as further proof of the important educational foundation students receive at the Governor’s School. As a part of the school’s mission to serve as a resource to all teachers and students in South Carolina, SCGSAH also offers a comprehensive series of outreach programs designed to bring together artists, educators, community organizations, and schools. www.scgsah.org


Toledo School for the Arts
Toledo, Ohio

Toledo School for the Arts (TSA) takes pride in having a varied menu for students with insatiable hunger for arts experiences. The school offers an introductory curriculum for students in grades 6 through 8 to sample each discipline offered. In high school, a major area of study may be chosen and, by completing credit hours, graduates are eligible to receive an Arts Major Certificate. Not only are the arts an immersive and electric experience at TSA, but the academic teachers are challenged to, and excel at, integrating the arts into their state-standard curriculum to engage young creative minds in the subject matter and keep students excited to come to school each day. www.ts4arts.org


Vancouver School of Arts and Academics
Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, a focused learning community, believes students learn best when Arts and Academics are integrated. Through collaboration and inquiry, individuals are challenged to think critically, creatively and artistically.

VSAA is a grade 6-12 arts-integration magnet school. A school of choice, serving students in Vancouver Public Schools, VSAA provides a balanced and challenging academic program that is taught through the integration of arts and academics. Students are immersed in the arts through the study of dance, theatre, literary arts, moving image arts, visual art, and music. Students study all these art forms at the introductory level during their academic career and progress to the intensive, focus level classes during their high school years.

Many of VSAA’s teachers are working artists. Frequent guest artists deepen student learning in the arts. Students are offered a variety of performance and publication opportunities, including participation in state and national competitions and festivals, honor groups, regional and state art shows, and Scholarship auditions. Rigorous Academic opportunities include 9 AP classes as well as “College in the High School” classes. http://arts.vansd.org/