Next steps for Nevada Performance Academy

A group of parents and teachers who are interested in the arts worked diligently for the past year on an application for a charter high school that emphasizes the arts and involves students in performance activities. We were unable to fully complete the application in a timely fashion. However, the parents, teachers and team supporters have committed themselves to resubmitting the application during the next application cycle. We will work hard to comply with all requirements in a timely fashion.

Research demonstrates that the proposed blended distance learning model and the technology underlying it improves student learning. There is also evidence that students today are capable of much deeper independent learning, highlighting how differentiated staffing benefits students' learning; and finally, how the integration of the arts and academic subjects enhances both without diminishing either. The planning team understands it must demonstrate the effectiveness and cost benefits of this model.

A new Nevada Performance Academy (charter school, grades 7-12) is based on the premise that the arts hold the promise of helping the local economy. Artists who reside in the area and who offer an array of problem-solving and technical/analytical skills could benefit our young people. The artist as teacher, and the artist as a communicator of complex ideas, holds valuable insights into helping classroom teachers teach and students learn. The academy also would integrate students' passion students, the artists' skills and the knowledge that teachers need to ensure that their students will graduate from high school, will meet rigorous academic standards and will be prepared for post-secondary education. With proper development there will be unique career opportunities available to those young people who understand and contribute to the "entrepreneurial business opportunities involved in the arts."

The Nevada Performance Academy is developing a relationship with the Discovery Center, businesses and Western Nevada College. The Discovery Center will be a state-of the art teaching/learning complex with databases and highly skilled information/development specialists who will be available to all of our youth.

WNC has a strong structure for the performing arts and the business and technical aspects surrounding the arts. An example is the WNC's Musical Theatre Program under the longtime direction of professor Stephanie Arrigotti. This program provides professionally outstanding productions, involves local professional artists and makes major contributions to the local economy. WNC will be a powerful partnership.

Professor Arrigotti is working to provide additional components to WNC's current AA degree/certificate programs involving performing arts and business development.

Much work remains to be done, but parents and teachers are committed to making certain the Performance Academy becomes a reality.

Eugene T. Paslov, team members: Stephanie Arrigotti , Karen Chandler, Denise Gillott, Molly Walt, Jim Martineau, Natalie Berger, Nanita Bellos, Dave Anderson, Joe Paslov, Joe McCarthy, Dave Papke, Cate Cook, Sara Jones, Tammy Westergard.

• Eugene T. Paslov of Carson City writes a weekly column for the Nevada Appeal. Paslov is a former Nevada state superintendent of schools.


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