Bo Statham: Now is the time for the Nevada Performance Academy
It’s time for the Northern Nevada community to come together in enthusiastic support of the Nevada Performance Academy.
Based on the belief the arts play a vital role in the education of students, the mission of the academy is to offer a “unique, arts-based and art-infused, academic program” featuring dance, theater and music in addition to the standard curriculum required for public school graduation.
The academy will be a state-sponsored charter school for students in grades 7 through 12. Because it’s a public school there is no tuition to attend, and enrollment is not restricted to residents of Carson City.
The cutting-edge educational system called “blended learning” will be used. This method of teaching combines face-to-face teacher instruction at school and online delivery of material, with the student having a degree of control as to the place, time and pace of study. The academy believes that “technology provides the means for delivering a program of study that is individualized, flexible, and enhances the performance model of learning in all its manifestations.”
One of the most important assets of the academy is the partnerships it has established with Western Nevada College, the Brewery Arts Center and the Carson City Library. These are not merely paper relationships, as these institutions will be integral components of the educational program. Concurrent classes at NPA and WNC will provide credits for a high school diploma and college graduation. The BAC will provide artistic direction and the performance venue. The library’s technology resources will complement the academy’s blended learning structure.
The academy has received a conditional charter, or contract, from the Carson City School District. Before it can begin operating, however, the academy must have 120 committed students and a properly equipped facility. These goals are close to being achieved. Seventy students have “signed up,” but an aggressive outreach program is needed to attract 50 more by Aug. 15. And the academy is negotiating a lease of an existing school property.
In order to fund the outreach program and administrative costs prior to the commencement of state funding, the academy is seeking contributions from the community. A minimum of $20,000 is needed, and donations may be made at http://www.gofundme.com/anp2ds.
There are numerous performing arts schools in the United States, but Nevada Performance Academy will be the first in the state. At a time when Nevada’s education system is under-performing in some categories, Carson City and surrounding communities have the opportunity to lead the state in this innovative program of academic excellence.
The academy was the consuming passion of the late Eugene T. Paslov. In collaboration with Denise Guillott, the academy’s vice president, Gene was the driving force behind the development of the academy. Its successful opening this September will be a timely and fitting tribute to Gene’s lifetime dedication to education and the arts. (See my column of June 14, 2014).
There could be no greater acknowledgment of Gene’s commitment to education than the renaming of the Academy as the Eugene T. Paslov Performance Academy in his memory.
Bo Statham is a retired lawyer, congressional aide and businessman. He lives in Gardnerville and can be reached at email@example.com.