PVA Magnet Programs Give Students Greater Access to the Arts
As school starts this week, the Performing and Visual Arts program will kick off its pilot year at Brooklyn Park Middle School, offering specialized arts studies for entering students.
Middle school students who have an interest in the arts now have two options for participation in the Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) Performing and Visual Arts (PVA) magnet program.
While the PVA program has been operating at Bates Middle School in Annapolis for several years, this week marked the start of the first year for the program at Brooklyn Park Middle School (BPMS).
According to Lori Snyder, director of both programs, the two schools will run the PVA program in a similar manner.
“The students will still study the basic subjects like math and language arts,” Snyder said. “However, they will receive about three times as much concentration on the arts as students who are not participating in the PVA program.”
Students who live in the northern Anne Arundel County feeder system will be encouraged to apply to the BPMS program, while students in the southern feeder system will be directed to the program offered at Bates.
The PVA program focuses on students who are painters, musicians, singers, dancers and performers, and provides them with course material that focuses on one of three major areas of study. The first, prime arts, involves creative writing and movement. Other areas of focus are music—vocal, instrumental and dance—and visual arts.
The program at both schools differs from the traditional middle school curriculum in that, in addition to studying math, language arts, science, social studies and foreign language, students get extra time in their class schedule to focus on the arts. Students must additionally commit eight Saturdays per school year to the program, traveling to museums and performances in the Annapolis, Baltimore and Washington, DC, areas.
After their three years of middle school as a part of the PVA program, most students complete the program with high school credit in both math and language. Students also spend a portion of their coursework concentrating on digital media, world cultures, painting and sculpting.
Steven Cherry will teach band and strings in the program at BPMS and spoke excitedly about the opportunity to be involved.
“I'm looking forward to taking more time to actually see the kids and spend time with them. It's exciting to see the program bring the arts more on par with other academic subjects,” he said.
Rachel Weichert, a Brooklyn Park resident, said she is looking forward to her daughter, Emily, participating in the new program at BPMS.
“I'm excited. She's excited,” Weichert said. “She did a day camp program this summer with the PVA program and she loved it. I'm excited to see my daughter get such a varied experience with different types of art.”
Weichert also said her daughter enjoyed meeting students who were traveling from other parts of the county to participate in the program.
“There are so many kids coming from all over the area, not just Brooklyn Park. Emily really liked getting to make new friends that she wouldn't have the chance to meet otherwise,” she said.