What is an Arts School?
An arts school is a place that
- Allows you to express your art, whatever it is (and teaches you how to do it better!)
- Stresses Academics (college prep all the way!)
- Teaches you to be a better artist, singer, instrumentalist, technician, scholar, musician, dancer, and person
- Teaches you to appreciate the arts
- Teaches you to appreciate others
- Teaches you respect
- Teaches you compassion
- Holds you to a higher standard.
- Allows you to shine in your own individual way.
- Allows you to fit in (there is a place here for everyone)
- Gives you a venue to perform
What we are not:
- A place to stay in the shadows
- A place to escape the pressure of accountability
- A place to get by with studying a little (we are a college prep school!)
- A place to not participate in the arts (after all, we are an art school!)
- A place to sit back and watch the action (you will be expected to be in the middle of it)
- A place to take the bare minimum of classes (we require more core classes than some other schools)
If you fit this criteria, please consider joining us. We know we are not for everyone, but we have something for almost everyone. We are not an easy school. Just try balancing your daily studies and your artistic endeavors at once!
We will teach you organizational skills and how to succeed in life. We don’t just teach you to be artists; we teach you to be good citizens. We teach the appreciation of the arts. We teach people. We love what we do, and it shows.
Charter School FAQ
What is a charter school?
Charter schools are public schools that operate under a “charter,” or “charter contract” which frees them from many regulations created for traditional public schools while holding them accountable for academic and financial results. The charter contract is between the charter school’s sponsoring entity and the Arkansas State Board of Education or the Commissioner of Education.
“Charter,” or “charter contract” means a performance-based contract for an initial five-year period between the authorizer and an approved applicant for public charter school status that exempts the public charter school from state and local rules, regulations, policies, and procedures specified in the contract and from the provisions of Title 6 of the Arkansas Code specified in the contract.
Source: Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-103(2)
Why do parents choose charter schools?
Charter schools provide families a choice in the education of their children – and it is a public choice. Public tax dollars are the primary funding sources for charter schools. Local, state, and federal dollars follow the child to a charter school. The schools have open enrollment with no discrimination, no religious associations, and no tuition.
What is the legislative and regulatory intent behind charter schools?
It is the intent of the Arkansas General Assembly, and of these rules, to provide opportunities for teachers, parents, pupils, and community members to establish and maintain public schools that operate independently from the existing structure of local school districts as a method to accomplish the following:
- Improve student learning;
- Increase learning opportunities for all students, with special emphasis on expanding learning experiences for students who are identified as low-achieving;
- Encourage the use of different and innovative teaching methods;
- Create new professional opportunities for teachers, including the opportunity to be responsible for the learning program at the school site;
- Provide parents and pupils with expanded choices in the types of educational opportunities that are available within the public school system; and
- Hold the schools established under this chapter accountable for meeting measurable student achievement standards.
Source: Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-201
Who can start and open-enrollment charter school?
The following are considered eligible entities and may apply to the State Board of Education to create an open-enrollment charter school:
- A public institution of higher education;
- A private nonsectarian institution of higher education;
- A governmental entity; or
- An organization that is nonsectarian in its program, admissions policies, employment practices, and operations, and has applied for tax-exempt status under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. The eligible entity must obtain status as a tax-exempt organization under § 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 prior to the first day of its operation with students.
Source: Ark. Code Ann. § 6-23-103(4)
What is the application process for establishing charter schools?
Although the annual timelines are different, the charter application process is very similar for both open-enrollment and district conversion charter applicants and includes the following steps:
- The State Board of Education (SBE) approves the document to be used as an application
- Potential applicants submit letters of intent to apply for charters to staff at the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE)
- ADE staff conducts a technical assistance conference
- Applicants submit their applications
- Applications are reviewed and evaluated, based on a rubric published as part of the application packet, by staff from various divisions at the ADE
- Applicants receive evaluations with comments from ADE staff
- Applicants respond to the comments and submit the responses
- ADE staff who reviewed and evaluated the original applications review responses and reevaluate
- The Charter Authorizing Panel interviews applicants and takes action on the applications in a public meeting
Do charter schools have admission policies?
Families must contact each individual charter school to see if they have openings. If they have more applicants than available slots, an open lottery must be instituted to fill the remaining slots and create a waiting list.
How are open-enrollment charter schools funded?
An open-enrollment public charter school shall receive funds equal to the amount that a public school would receive under § 6-20-2305(a) and (b) as well as any other funding that a public charter school is entitled to receive under law or under rules promulgated by the State Board of Education.
Source: Arkansas Charter Schools Act of 1999, Chapter 23, subchapter 5
See also: http://www.arkansased.gov/divisions/legal/legal-links–Arkansas Code