The Harrisburg School Board held a special meeting Tuesday, February 26, to discuss and hold a vote to either approve or deny a charter application for the Capital Area School for the Arts (CASA) Charter School. The charter, which was submitted by Capital Region Arts and Education, was approved in a 7 to 2 vote.
CASA, located in Strawberry Square in downtown Harrisburg, was formed in 2001 as a partnership between the Capital Area Intermediate Unit (CAIU) and its 24 member school districts to provide accelerated study for grades 9-12 in the areas of visual arts, dance, music, creative writing, theatre, and film and video. In its current model, students attend CASA for arts instruction and return to their home school district for the rest of their academic studies.
In better economic times 17 of the 24 districts paid the full tuition costs for students accepted into the program. Today, only three remaining districts cover the cost of tuition, which is $5,500 per year.
Thanks to the new charter status, CASA will not only continue operating, but will expand its curriculum to a full day of study that offers students advanced studies in art and academics, with a focus on college preparation. It also has plans to expand capacity to 200 students in the near future.
“It is the intent of the charter school to hire all the existing teachers and add teaching positions for academic instruction,” said Brian Griffith, director of Curriculum Services at CAIU. “We’ve entered into a partnership with Temple University Harrisburg, which is also located in Strawberry Square,” he said. “Students will get art instruction in the current CASA facility and then will use classroom space at Temple University for the academic portion of the day.”
CASA will finish this year and will open as a charter school in the 2013/14 academic year. It will offer a full academic program for grades 9-12 and those attending will be students of CASA Charter School. Admission will still be contingent on portfolio submission and auditions, but in accordance with state law, interested and qualified students in the Harrisburg School District will have the first opportunity to enroll.
“The CASA program has been a shining star at CAIU and we are disappointed to see it go,” said Griffith. “But having it chartered was a best-case scenario and I have absolutely no doubt that it is going to flourish.”
Capital Region Arts and Education is a non-profit organization founded in Harrisburg to support arts in education.
The article above provided by the Capital Area Intermediate Unit.