School district to expand STEM, fine arts academies
by Megan Thornton
April 17, 2013 11:50 PM | 1805 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cherokee County School District announced this week it will expand its Cherokee Academies program to serve more students in its six academies.

More information about the plans for the elementary school program and expansion into middle school will be made during the strategic work session tonight at 5:30 p.m. in the Historic Canton High School/School Board Auditorium.

The academy schools, which served almost 4,500 students this year, consist of four science, technology, engineering and math academies and four fine arts academies, with the academy curricula beginning at the third-grade level at each school.

In the STEM academies, the program will expand to include sixth-grade students at Ball Ground, Canton and Holly Springs. Though each school serves kindergarten through sixth-grade, this past year only third- through fifth-grade students received STEM curriculum.

Clark Creek will continue to serve third through fifth grades as it did this year. Fifth-graders graduating this year will move on to the newly constructed E. T. Booth Middle School.

District spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said STEM instruction at the middle school level will be further detailed at tonight’s work session.

Oak Grove Elementary School Fine Arts Academy, which presently serves grades K-4, will expand to serve fifth grade next year with the closing of Chapman Intermediate School. Hasty Elementary School Fine Arts Academy will continue to serve kindergarten through sixth-grade in its fine arts curriculum, as it did this year.

“With the grade-level expansion and additional transfer students, we anticipate approximately 500 additional elementary school students will be served at the academies during the 2013-14 school year,” Jacoby said.

The expansion should have little impact on the district’s tight budget, Jacoby said. New curriculum will be created by staff members using different resources accessible to the district through its partners in education, including its relationship with ArtsNOW, a non-profit arts education organization.

“Like this school year, the superintendent’s directive has been to keep innovation revenue-neutral or at very low cost,” Jacoby said.

Jacoby said all grade levels at all schools are available to apply for the academies beginning Monday and through Friday, May 3. Applications will be processed on a “first-come, first-served” basis, and approvals granted where enrollment space is available.

Applications are now available in both English and Spanish versions on the district’s website. Parents and guardians can download, print, complete and return the applications to the front office of the academy for which they are applying, or return the application to the school district’s Office of School Operations at 221 W. Main St. in downtown Canton.
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