The Nevada Performance Academy, a new state-sponsored charter school that will work both online and in a school building in Carson City, will begin enrolling students in May.“The community has been waiting and hoping for this school to arrive,” said Denise Gillot, elected treasurer of the school’s governing board at its inaugural meeting earlier this month. “Not a day goes by that I’m not stopped by someone asking about the school and its progress. I’m so happy to be able to say it’s finally here.”The school, which will open in the fall for grades 7-12 was spearheaded by former state superintendent Eugene Paslov and has been in the works for about two years. As strictly a performance arts school, its charter was turned down by the Nevada Department of Education last year. However, the school’s concept was expanded and approved by the department in October.“The new application was well-researched and comprehensive, and the members of the Committee to Form demonstrated the ability to successfully refine and implement the education program, oversee the effective and responsible management of public funds, and oversee and be responsible for the school’s compliance with its legal obligations,” wrote Steve Canavero, director of the education department’s Public Charter School Authority.The school will be the third charter school in Carson City. Silver State Charter Schools, serving grades 7-12, is also sponsored by the Nevada Department of Education. Carson Montessori School, serving grades 1-6, is sponsored by the Carson City School District.Charter schools are public schools, funded through the same per-pupil allotment from state coffers.David Papke, named the Nevada Performance Academy’s executive director, said the school’s mission evolved from strictly performance arts to a more well-rounded approach. Rather than focus on theater, all curriculum will be informed by the arts, he said. Natalie Berger, appointed secretary of the board, said infusing art into all subjects will be a key to the school’s success.“Making art a part of the entire curriculum is showing positive results in schools all over the nation,” she said. “It’s an elegant way to bring the four Cs of 21st Century skills, creativity, communication, critical-thinking and collaboration, into the core subjects,” Berger said.It won’t just be arts in the traditional sense, Papke clarified. He said students who compete in snowboarding, motocross, rodeo and with other interests will be not only welcomed at the school but encouraged in their pursuits. “We want to provide them the means to implement that into their schooling, not just with time and flexibility, but academically and intellectually,” Papke said. “That’s been an under served population in traditional schooling.”The school will offer classes both over the Internet as well as in a traditional school setting. Students will be able to join in courses offered at the school via Internet chat services as well.“We’re going to offer flexibility with our blended-format, which means web-based classes combined with all kinds of face-to-face teaching and support,” said Molly Walt, board member. “And, our performance model is custom-made for students who have a real passion for something, no matter what that something might be.”The school is still in negotiations to secure a building. A website to enroll will be in operation by the May 1 deadline, Papke said.Paslov was named president of the school’s governing board.“A school informed by the arts will not only enrich the lives of students, it can serve as a catalyst for development and as a model for educational advancement,” he said.
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