Vancouver School of Arts and Academics
|Vancouver School of Arts and Academics|
|3101 Main Street
Vancouver, Washington, 98663
|Type||Public (magnet) span 6-12|
|School district||Vancouver Public Schools|
|Number of students||573 (May 2013)|
The Vancouver School of Arts and Academics (VSAA), located in Vancouver, Washington (Clark County) in the Vancouver Public Schools school district, is a public arts magnet school for grades 6 to 12. In addition to traditional academic studies, the school's curriculum involves in-depth elective study of the performing, literary, and visual arts, as well as film studies (called "moving image arts" at the school). For the 2008-2009 school year, they accepted nearly 100 6th graders.
The VSAA was established in 1996. The facility was originally a middle school built in 1929 under the name Shumway. It was remodeled and renamed in 1996. The school's vision was to create a unique art-centered learning community where young artists would be able to develop their creative skills and connect their creativity to an academic foundation. Teachers are commonly artists themselves, and resident artists of every art form routinely visit to teach workshops.
Historically, the school has not just been an artist community; the academics instilled in the students have offered publicly visible results. According to the "2005 Report Card" published in Portland Monthly (September 2005), the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics was rated (within Vancouver Public Schools) with the best 2007-2008 graduation rate (100%), the best 2003-2004 Grade 10 WASL Reading (89), Writing (87) and Math (71) scores, the lowest student/teacher ratio (13:1, respectively), and was the only school in Clark County serving grades 6 to 12. The integration of arts and academics to create more well-rounded students, therefore increasing test scores, is a philosophical goal of the school.
The school's arts classes include dance, music (vocal, Jazz, and orchestral), theatre, literary arts, moving image arts (film and animation), and visual art (both visual art and photography). Every student must study each art form in at least one class; they can then choose to either focus in one or two art forms. The school's block schedule allows students to take three 100 minute classes a day. An interdisciplinary core class acts as a collaborative foundation for learning across classes and grade levels, further combining arts, academics into experiential learning projects based on a theme usually set by instructors. The Vancouver School of Arts and Academics' 550 students (numbers fluctuate some) are all subjected to an application process that identifies the interest a prospective student has in the arts, which is considered by staff to be the most important qualification for entrance to the public arts magnet, rather than preexisting talent.
- WASL scores for 2006
- feature article from the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory
- WA State report card for 2006
- News coverage from The Columbian.
- A report from the NEA confirming VSAA's participation in Maya Lin's Confluence Project