The New School for the Arts, which has trained budding artists and performers in the East Valley at the high school level for eight years, plans to open to seventh and eighth-graders this fall.
Ron Caya, founder and executive dean of the north Tempe charter school started in Scottsdale, said a middle school is being added because of frequent inquiries about classes for younger students and his desire to have his ninth-graders better prepared academically.
"We get very, very talented students who can’t do ninthgrade math, and that’s a problem," Caya said. "In the curriculum, the academics are as important as the art studies."
Middle school principal Katy Ferrell-Cardenas, who helped write the charter, crafted a curriculum that melds academics and art. For example, students will be able to role-play historical events, and learn about art and geometry at the same time, she said.
"Math isn’t as difficult to integrate as people think," she said. "Teachers are doing it all the time and don’t even realize it."
This curriculum is tailormade for students such as Sariel Bute, one of 50 middleschoolers who have signed up. She said she loves to create ceramics and pottery, as well as draw and paint.
"The academics, I think, will be fun because there will be a whole lot of hands-on things, rather than just reading out of a book," the 12-yearold Tempean said.
Ferrell-Cardenas said she expects to enroll about 50 more students for the classes, which begin Aug. 21.
The middle school will be at 1112 E. Apache Blvd.