By Bernie Petit
Thanks to the Arts & Science Council (ASC), the learning won’t have to stop for students at the four Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools year-round schools.
Last month, Project L.I.F.T. awarded ASC a $1.2 million grant to deliver free arts-infused programming to Pre-K to 8th grade students during intersessions at Bruns Academy, Druid Hills Academy, Thomasboro Academy and Walter G. Byers School.
Project L.I.F.T. is the philanthropic initiative to accelerate academic achievement for children in Charlotte’s west corridor. The grant will allow ASC to potentially serve more than 2,800 students at the Project L.I.F.T. schools during intersessions, or two- to three-week breaks, in the 2013-14 continuous school year, which starts July 22 for Druid Hills and Thomasboro and July 23 for Bruns and Byers.
The ASC Scholars Academy will utilize science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics, or STEAM, programming that aligns with the core missions of their schools during time periods when positive gains could be lost, said Dr. Barbara Ann Temple, ASC Vice President of Education.
“Why we’re so interested in this is because it is allowing us to provide opportunities where students are making a connection from their in-school learning time to their out of school time,” Temple said. “Instead of them having this wonderful in-school thing going on for months and then going on break and losing their momentum, we’re going to step in and really fill the gap. And it’s going to be that creativity gap because we believe that the arts are transformative.”
Each scholar will experience four residencies – Visual Art, Performing Art, Digital & Media Literacy, and Writing. A “community as campus” approach will be used to enhance programming. ASC will partner with Discovery Place, for example, to offer a wider range of STEAM activities.
“The Arts & Science Council isn’t going to do this alone,” Temple said. “We’re going to be reaching out to the community partners and sharing with them our plans for the ASC Scholars Academy and how they can perhaps be able to help us achieve our mission.”
Teachers from these schools can apply to fill instructor positions for up to 52 academy classrooms and will be eligible for professional development credits and stipends for each session attended.
“They will be able to go back to school right after their intersession period,” Temple said, “and teach these units of study that they would have seen in action throughout the camp.”