SCA Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the principal of the school?

Springfield Public Schools is pleased to have hired Mr. David Brewster to lead this exciting new venture.  Mr. Brewster comes to us from Brockton, MA where he worked for the past 19 years as an administrator and teacher of a 6-8 International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme school.  While there, he served as a teacher of English, Humanities and Arts, and he was the founding director of the Filmmaking program.  Mr. Brewster is a Board Member for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts Education Advisory Board, is an authorization team member and consultant for the International Baccalaureate Organization, served as a teacher in the Gifted and Talented program, spent several summers working as a drama teacher in the Act I, Scene I Summer Program in Brockton , and served as a soccer and softball coach.  Mr. Brewster brings with him a deep interest in and commitment to the Arts in its many forms.

 

Where will the school be located? 

For the first year (2014-15 school year) the school will be located in the former Immaculate Conception School on 34 Kopernik Street in the Indian Orchard section of the city.

 

When does school start and what are the hours?

The 2014-15 school year begins on Monday, August 25th and SCA students will attend school from 8:50 am to 3:30 pm.  For the district-wide school calendar, click here.

 

What is the school’s uniform?

Middle school students will follow the district’s uniform policy that calls for khaki or black bottoms and white, light or dark blue shirts. Once the school opens, 9th grade students will have the opportunity to provide input regarding what they would like to see as the school’s colors.  For the first few weeks all students should follow the middle school uniform guidelines above.

 

Is there anything specific my child needs to bring to school in the fall?

There are no specific items that your child must bring to school other than traditional school supplies, such as a backpack, pens, pencils and a notebook to take notes in class.  Textbooks, art and music supplies will be provided by the school.

 

Will my child get transportation?

As with all other public schools, students who live more than 2 miles from the school will receive transportation.  Transportation eligibility may change after the first year depending upon the location of the school. Late busses will be available on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday for students staying after school for clubs or other activities. More information is available by contacting the Springfield Public School’s Transportation Office at 413-787-7152 or visiting their website at http://www.sps.springfield.ma.us/bus/default.asp.

 

Will there be a summer school program and will transportation be provided? 

The school will hold an Early Start summer school program at the new facility; eligible students have already been notified by mail. The program will run July 1st through August 5th, 2014 from 8 am to 12 pm, Monday through Friday.  In accordance with district policy, transportation will be provided for students who live 2 miles or more than from the school.

 

What is the breakfast and lunch policy?

Beginning July 1st, all Springfield Public School students will have access to free breakfast and lunch that will be served each day at the school.

 

What grades does the school offer?

SCA will open in August 2014 for 60 students each for grades 6 and 9. The school will welcome new cohorts of sixty 6th and 9th grade students over the next two years and from that point on will admit students only at grade 6. At full capacity the school will host 420 students in grades 6-12.  Our expansion will be:

 

School Year                                              Grades                                           # Students

2014-15                                                          6, 9                                                        120

2015-16                                                      6, 7, 9, 10                                                   240

2016-17                                                6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11                                                360

2017-18                                             6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12                                              420

 

Are there admission requirements to get into the school?

There are no formal admission requirements to get into SCA — school assignments are made through a random, computerized lottery process.  However, students wishing to sign up for SCA must be registered in the Springfield Public Schools. If the student is already an active student in SPS, he or she may enter the lottery for a seat at SCA by filling out a Magnet Ballot online during the Kindergarten and Magnet sign up period in December.  If the student is not currently enrolled in SPS, he or she will need to sign up at the Parent Information Center during the Kindergarten and Magnet Sign Up period noted above.

 

What does it mean that SCA is a Magnet School?

Magnet schools are public schools that, through a very competitive grant application process, receive additional federal funding from the US Department of Education.  Schools must meet specific qualifications to be included in the grant application and must implement unique educational programs or themes to attract (like a magnet) students to the school.  These federal funds are used to provide training for teachers in the school’s theme (Visual and Performing Arts in the case of SCA), much needed materials and resources that support the theme, funding for consultants and artists-in-residence to augment the school’s course offerings and funds to support meaningful family engagement and involvement.

Springfield is fortunate to have received 7 consecutive, three-year Magnet grants that have brought Montessori, International Baccalaureate, Expeditionary Learning, STEM, Arts and other school programs to students in our city.  The Springfield Conservatory of the Arts is the newest member of the SPS Magnet Schools family.

 

How is SCA different from other schools?

First, the school’s focus on the arts as the centerpiece of learning makes it unique in Springfield.  In most schools the arts are accessed as elective courses – here they are part of the every day curriculum and all students will experience many aspects of the arts before settling on one area to explore in depth.

Second, SCA’s small class sizes (60 students per grade) at SCA set it apart from all other public schools in Springfield.  Smaller class sizes mean that students and teachers get to know each other well and teachers are able to help students navigate the middle and high school curriculum with the ultimate goal of preparing students to enter higher education or careers fully equipped with the requisite skills to be successful.

Third, the school’s 6-12 structure enables faculty to follow students as they grow academically, socially and in the arts.  At SCA teachers won’t have to work diligently with their students in middle school then send them off to a high school where they become enveloped in a larger mass – here they can follow their progress as they march towards graduation and all that awaits them beyond.  The frequently awkward transition from middle-schooler to high-schooler is avoided as students of all grade levels will interact with each other throughout their journey at SCA and older students become mentors to younger students.

 

What types of arts will be offered at the school?

In the first year students will take classes in dance, music and visual arts. Drama will be integrated into the school’s curriculum.  Theater and other artistic offerings will be made available through after school programs.

 

Will there be after school clubs and activities?

Yes!  After school activities will be determined by the students and staff after the school opens in August and will be based on students’ interests. Information will be sent home as progress is made in creating our new arts school so stay tuned!

 

SCA Information Night! 

An Information Night will be held at the school on Thursday, August 14th beginning at 6:30 pm.  Parents and students are invited to join us for light refreshments, tour the school, meet staff and learn about this new and exciting venture.

 

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