Springfield Public Schools prepare for the opening of new magnet school

Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 9:47 AM CDT
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COVID-19 isn’t stopping the opening of the new Academy of Fine and Performing Arts Magnet School this fall. It has been in the works since January 2019 and is the latest addition to Springfield Public School choice programs. It stems from a partnership with Springfield Little Theater (STL) and the Foundation for SPS.

The program will run out of The Springfield Little Theaters Judith Enyeart Reynolds School of the Performing Arts, otherwise known as The Judy. Fifty fifth-graders from across the district were selected to be apart of the arts-integrated learning program. Students will spend their entire academic year learning about the arts; From the visual aspects to the theater and performance part.

Although SPS choice programs are typically interactive and hands-on, things will look different during its first year.

“We’ll be following the same reduced capacity learning model that all of Springfield Public School students will have the opportunity for the seated learning aspect,” explained SPS Choice Program Coordinator, Kelsey Barbo. “When students come to our magnet school, we’ll have them two days seated and three days virtual, and we are ready to take on that challenge.”

Barbo said prioritizing students’ health and wellness is at the forefront. Within the building, there will be two classrooms designated for the magnet choice program, shared space for the theater, studios for performance, and more.

While the staff continues with classroom preparation in anticipation of a safe and clean first day of school, she said she’s excited to see it all come together.

“Part of our planning is that service-learning part of it, and our arts can positively impact everything that we do. That is something that my teachers have fully embraced. They’re excited about the opportunity, and we can’t wait to show Springfield what our kids are going to be creating this year.”

The first day of school is set for August 24. There will also be a ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 20 to celebrate the Academy of Fine and Performing Arts Magnet School and the possibilities ahead for the program.

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