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Kokomo Approves Opening Of Integrated Art School

Kokomo school officials say they think the school will be the first of its kind in the state.

music at school

Photo: Herald Post (Flickr)

Schools in Indiana usually incorporate music and arts into their curriculum, but a new school in Kokomo would help students learn core concepts through the arts.

The Kokomo-Center School Board has approved a measure that would help create the first integrated arts school in Indiana. The board approved the creation of the school at its board meeting on Monday.

Spokesman Dave Barnes says other schools in the state incorporate art into their learning, but this school would make art a key part of the curriculum.

“You’re still going to have your core curriculum so they’re still going to prepare for the ISTEP,” he says. “But at the same time, all of that learning engages the creative process.”

The school corporation plans to use a vacant school building to form the new arts school. Barnes say officials will wait to see how many students are interested in enrolling before hiring any faculty or renovating the building.

“We really don’t feel it will be a problem finding children to be a part of this school,” he says. “We really don’t. But you don’t want to put the cart before the horse.”

If they can enroll enough students, Barnes says they hope to open the school by August of this year.

Sycamore Elementary Principal Charley Hinkle is a part of the committee that has been researching the possibility of an integrated arts school for the past year. He says research shows that students retain information more accurately and for a longer period of time if it is correlated with art or music.

Hinkle says parents should not confuse integrated arts with performing arts.

“The emphasis is on integrating the instruction on daily learning with the arts and not the 100 percent emphasis as arts for arts sake as you would get in performing arts schools,” he says.

The school will host kindergarten through 5th grade, and officials say they hope to expand the school by one grade level each year.

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

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