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McEver draws up plans for arts academy for next school year
Violin instructor Wendy Baker works with her class Thursday afternoon at McEver Elementary as they prepare for an upcoming concert. This fall the elementary school is planning to launch the McEver Arts Academy.
McEver Arts Academy
What: Parent information meetings
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Hall County Board of Education, 711 Green St., Gainesville

When: 7 p.m. May 13
Where: McEver Elementary School, 3265 Montgomery Drive, Gainesville
Contact: 770-534-7473

Instead of just being after-school offerings, next school year intensive music and art instruction could be a part of the regular school day at McEver Elementary School.

School officials are waiting for the Georgia Board of Education to approve the facility’s charter school application. If approved, the school will become the McEver Arts Academy for the 2010-2011 school year.

In the meantime, school administrators have planned two information meetings to bring parents up to speed about the potential changes. The meetings are set for Thursday and May 13.

“Our whole concept is that we will use the art of drama, dance, visual arts, music and movement to engage kids in the learning of the Georgia Performance Standards,” said Catherine Rosa, McEver principal.

“We have a high percentage of Latino students, but the arts are really the universal language. They help bring meaning to the content that we are teaching and it really engages the students — they love it.”

The proposed charter petition would be an expansion of the school’s AIM (Arts Integration at McEver) program. As a part of the program, teachers find a way to integrate the arts into their classes on Fridays.

“We already have a violin program, an art club and a zumba club (that meet after school). Our goal is to offer some of the other things like dance and karate during the school day,” said Rosa.

“We want to provide opportunities for students to be exposed to things that they may not otherwise experience.”

While students may not participate in an art-related activity every day, they will get more opportunities during the week than they would at a traditional school, Rosa said.

If the charter is approved, McEver will become a school of choice, meaning it will be opened to all Hall County elementary students.

“Like with all other schools of choice, first choice will be given to kids in the attendance zone,” said Rosa. “And if there are any other open slots we will open them up to students outside the attendance zone.”