The Art and Science Academy school program has been developed on research-backed foundational teaching and learning practices with the intent of offering a curriculum that is more experiential and personally appealing to students. I believe that student motivation and desire to learn is not just an important topic of consideration for school leaders but a critical one. How many of us would be successful spending time in an environment with little personal appeal and with minimal opportunities to learn and work on topics and projects of high personal interest?

Sadly, as many students progress through grade school the level of interest and joy of learning that is clearly present begins to deteriorate significantly. Many students enter the high school years dangerously disengaged in academics and often despise going to school. Many studies and reports on student drop out rates verify this claim. For example, a Civic Enterprise report titled “Silent Epidemic” points out that each year, almost one third of all public high school students fail to graduate from public high school with their class. The report describes the primary reason that nearly half of the young adults give for dropping out of school is that classes are “uninteresting” and that students reported being bored and disengaged in school.

Why do we teach and integrate the arts? Research strongly supports the notion that arts education and integration can help struggling learners better learn educational topics. The arts provide students with authentic learning experiences that are real and meaningful to them. Researchers have discovered that when the arts are integrated into academic instruction, the learning experiences can become enhanced with discovery, improving the conditions for learning. Over the past two decades, ample research has been conducted establishing direct correlations between sustained involvement in arts programs and the development of cognitive capacities or “habits of mind,” that are associated with high student achievement and college readiness. These capacities include focused perception, analysis, elaboration, problem solving, motivation, active engagement and critical thinking skills.

“I don’t believe that increasing art activities alone is a silver bullet in achieving academic success. The Art and Science Academy school program incorporates practices of schools that have been labeled “highly successful.”

For example, we offer:

  • Smaller class sizes
  • Research supported curriculum
  • Individual learning plans
  • Small group instruction daily
  • Uniform policy to enhance a strong school culture
  • A team teaching approach
  • Connected classrooms that allow for daily team teaching
  • A year-round school calendar
  • High levels of professional development for teachers
  • Instructional assistants that are highly trained
  • Staff which possesses (and demonstrate) attributes of flexibility, optimism, the ability to problem solve and adaptability

Developing a school from the ground up is not an easy task! Parents and staff will need to work together as a team to create a strong and lasting school culture of innovation, creativity and success.”

Carlo Galeazzi, Ed.D.Art & Science Academy Founder

Second-grader Rowan Anderson noted the art projects.

“I really like the fact we get to do a lot of art projects,” Rowan said. “The teachers are good and very helpful if I have a question. I like art because in art you can be creative, and you don’t have to do just one thing.”

Rowan said the students are very nice.

“I’ve made a lot of new friends, and I enjoy coming to school,” Rowan said. “I like gym days and rotation hour where we can spend an hour of time with other teachers. Today, during rotation hour, we are doing art and gym, which are my favorites; I also like music and technology. I like to sing and play instruments. I can play the drums and am hoping to learn how to play the harp. I also like to read and like the variety of books we have here.”

(From Isanti County News article by Rachel Kytonen, pub. 11/25/2014)

Rowan AndersonSecond Grade Student

Joy Schuldt, of Oak Grove, has a first-grader and a fifth-grader enrolled at the school.

“We love the programming they have here,” Schuldt said. “We like their idea of teaching with a hands-on approach, and we appreciate the smaller class sizes. They provide teaching in a way that really grasps the students’ attention.”

“Even thought I’m driving 80 miles each day to bring my children to school, we are so thankful this is a tuition-free charter school,” Schuldt said. “The staff is excellent, there’s excellent communication, they know your name when you walk in and know who your kids are.”Schuldt has always wanted to enroll her children in a smaller charter school, but couldn’t afford to.

Schuldt said her kids now love going to school.

“I used to fight with them every morning, and now they love school,” Schuldt said. “They have a lot of fun while learning something new and exciting each day. They’ve made a lot of new friends, and everyone gets along well with each other. No one feels left out.”

Schuldt has been impressed with the quality of education her children are receiving, she said.

“My children come home every day excited and tell me about something new they learned that day,” Schuldt said. “My daughter doesn’t need to take her attention deficit disorder medication any more since coming to school here. The teachers work wonderfully with the students.”

(From Isanti County News article by Rachel Kytonen, pub. 11/25/2014)

Joy SchuldtParent

Angela Ruddy, of Cambridge, has two daughters in the school, in first and third grades.

“As an art teacher, I am excited about having arts in the classroom again,” Ruddy said. “We have an artistic blood in our family, and my daughters are excited to find an outlet to have artistic expression involved in education.”

Ruddy said her daughters are excited about learning.

“Instead of just reading something, they are also acting it out; instead of just coloring pictures, they are drawing,” Ruddy said. “They are getting more creative and artistic and enjoying all aspects of learning.”

Ruddy noted her third-grader takes part in an “Enrichment Hour” after school. Enrichment Hour is time devoted to allowing students to explore different interests and art areas. Each semester, students may choose from a variety of scheduled activities including choir, guitar and dance. Students may use enrichment time to complete advanced projects and assignments in arts or academics, rehearse plays and performances, or other available structured and supervised programs.

Ruddy said through Enrichment Hour, her daughter, who is usually more timid, gained the courage to read a monologue in front of approximately 500 people.

“With the smaller class sizes, and smaller schools, and with staff being so encouraging, the school really makes sure all the kids feel appreciated,” Ruddy said. “The teachers are great, and the camaraderie is fantastic. This is something incredibly new, and I’m thankful I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of it.”

(From Isanti County News article by Rachel Kytonen, pub. 11/25/2014)

Angela RuddyParent

Ruddy’s third-grader, Maddie, said she has enjoyed her time at the school.

“I like the fact that the school has lots of books that I like, and we do really cool math that I can learn easily from,” Maddie said. “I really like art class, and we’ve made really cool drawings with ducks, elephants and all sorts of animals. The teachers are really helpful, and I’ve made lots of new friends. I also didn’t know any multiplication when I started and now I know a lot. Everyone has really made me feel comfortable since coming here.”

(From Isanti County News article by Rachel Kytonen, pub. 11/25/2014)

Maddie RuddyStudent

Amy Donegan, who has a first-grader and a third-grader at the school, said she took a “leap of faith” when enrolling her kids.

“We like this school because we know how important the arts can play in a child’s development and education,” Donegan said. “We are very pleased with all the staff and teachers, and you can see the students really enjoy being here. The students have hands-on learning opportunities and are keeping engaged with their work.”

Donegan noted she’s seen a great improvement in her daughter’s reading abilities since attending the school and sees her son is being challenged again with his studies.

(From Isanti County News article by Rachel Kytonen, pub. 11/25/2014)

Amy DoneganParent

Fourth-grader Lily Atkins said the teachers are very helpful.

“I like the teachers because they help you when you have a problem, and I really enjoy art, math and reading,” Lily said. “I’ve made a lot of new friends, and we’ve done a lot of neat projects. Everyone has been really nice so far, and I like coming to school.”

(From Isanti County News article by Rachel Kytonen, pub. 11/25/2014)

Lily AtkinsFourth Grade Student