Creating a second School of the Arts?

September 6, 2013

In today’s paper school board candiates cited successfull programs they hoped could be duplicated across the District.

I was particularly intrigued by Van White’s proposal to open a second SOTA.  Right now, SOTA is the only school that can technically turn down a student application.  At SOTA, prospective students audition before the faculty who then select the incoming class.  The process is quite competitive, and certainly contributes to SOTA’s success.  All the other schools can recruit or discourage those who might not be a good fit, but no student can be denied an open spot.

I wonder how White envisions a second SOTA. Would it be like the current SOTA which is mainly arts oriented or would it blend elements of the Wilson International Baccalaureate model?

More fundamentally, would it be selective or open?  The question–open or selective–is at the heart of a broader, district wide issue as the District works to create innovative programs, one that needs ongoing debate as we move forward.  For example, when I was at Cynthia Elliot’s interview at the D & C she was adamant that schools should not be allowed to choose who can attend, whether through a testing, interview or other entrance process.

I can see both sides.  What do you think?

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