Whenever a plan is put forth that could bring a new school to the area, parents, students, teachers and residents want to know more about it.
So do we.
According to a front page story in Monday’s Press, a committee for the Memorial Boulevard Intra-District Arts Magnet School has been meeting with the architect on the building’s design. But so far, no details about the physical facility have been finalized. Even the curriculum hasn’t been decided yet.
At a recent Board of Education meeting, Bristol School Superintendent Susan Moreau said the teachers and administrators who make up the committee aren’t at the point of deciding “what will be taught on a day-to-day basis.”
One detail that has emerged is that the high school students attending the arts magnet school will continue to receive their core classes at their regular high school and will pick up the arts part of their education at the magnet school, a program similar to the one at the Bristol Technical Education Center.
But state funding for magnet schools is becoming more of an issue with Board of Education chairman Chris Wilson saying “the sustainability of those (CREC) magnet schools is at risk.”
While most schools are focusing on science and technology, we hope school districts will also maintain art and music programs.
But an arts magnet school could be a good alternative if a stable funding plan can be put in place.
Music, theater, dance and visual arts programs have been dwindling in public schools. Even after-school or extra-curricular activities in the arts are struggling to draw students.
But we believe that exposure to the performing and visual arts could be a lifeline for youths who may be having difficulty in science or math, or who may be struggling to fit in socially with their peers.
A well-rounded education, one that offers reading, writing and STEM or STEAM courses should be augmented by classes in trade skills, business, manufacturing and school-to-work programs. This means more money, more schools and more teachers.
Is it worth the effort?
We believe youngsters exposed to diverse subjects and progressive curriculums will be more likely to excel in school and be better prepared to choose a career, go on to college or enter the job market.
A school, a community and a state full of bright, ambitious young people is a goal we should all be striving toward.