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  Washington's Innovative Schools

Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, Vancouver School District

James O'Banion, Principal
http://arts.vansd.org

Grade level: 6–12
Free and Reduced Meals: 20.4%
Year school began to implement innovative practices: 1997


Vancouver School of Arts and Academics is a public school of choice where the arts are immersed in academic study for students in grades 6–12. The integration of art and academic subjects is a primary feature of instructional practice. All areas of study are focused on a unique theme chosen each school year. Using the yearly theme as a reference point, students choose an art form to communicate the thesis for their Core projects. Working collaboratively in various size groups, students complete at least two major Core projects per year. Unique features of the school include:

  • Students’ engagement is enhanced by their high interest in the arts: visual arts, dance, theatre, music, moving image arts and literary arts.
  • Mixed age groups facilitate peer monitoring.
  • Students and teachers intentionally explore the different voices of the mathematician, the scientist, the artist, the historian, and the writer within the study of art forms.
  • All students learn how to use the “Fundamental Questions” in their education: Looking for Evidence, Perspective, Connections, Supposition, Relevance and Transition.
  • Students are assigned to a small Advocacy class (no more than 24 students) with the same teacher for all seven years.
  • Academics and art are brought together through project-based learning in a class called Core.

Old Capitol Building, PO Box 47200, 600 Washington St. S.E., Olympia, WA  98504-7200  (360) 725-6000  TTY (360) 664-3631
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