Academics

SPA offers a unique combination of a college preparatory curriculum and an immersive arts education. SPA believes students benefit directly from arts integrated programs due to the intrinsic demands of integrated coursework. When integration is intentional, students must use creativity, problem solving, and collaboration to be effective in their work. Integrated work is rigorous, demanding that a student be able to comprehend multiple ideas and concepts in the creation of a summative outcome. Our curriculum is founded in the following principles:

Personalized Learning

Personalized learning is intended to facilitate the academic success of each student by first determining the learning needs, interests, and aspirations of individual students, and then providing learning experiences that are customized—to a greater or lesser extent—for each student. To accomplish this goal, SPA teachers, counselors, and other educational specialists will employ a wide variety of educational methods, from intentionally cultivating strong and trusting student-adult relationships to modifying assignments and instructional strategies in the classroom to entirely redesigning the ways in which students are grouped and taught in a school. SPA will leverage the bell schedule and educational technology to further enhance the personalized learning opportunities during the school day.

Arts Integration

Arts Integration is an approach to teaching in which students construct and demonstrate understanding through an art form. Students engage in a creative process which connects an art form and another subject area and meets evolving objectives in both. Arts integration provides multiple ways for students to make sense of what they learn (construct understanding) and make their learning visible (demonstrate understanding). It goes beyond the initial step of helping students learn and recall information to challenging students to take the information and facts they have learned and do something with them to build deeper understanding.

Project Based Learning

PBL is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. The project is focused on student learning goals, including standards-based content and skills such as critical thinking/problem solving, collaboration, and self-management. The project features real-world context, tasks and tools, quality standards, or impact – or speaks to students’ personal concerns, interests, and issues in their lives. Students make some decisions about the project, including how they work and what they create. Students give, receive, and use feedback to improve their process and products. Students make their project work public by explaining, displaying and/or presenting it to people beyond the classroom.

More information about academic departments and courses can be found under the Departments link at the top of the page.