A new high school for digital arts is in the planning stages in Cleveland, Ohio.
At the planned Cleveland High School for the Digital Arts, film, music and video games won’t be things a student does behind the backs of teachers. They’ll be part of every lesson and project and assignment students have to turn in.
But, sorry kids, playing Grand Theft Auto or watching the new Hunger Games flick won’t be the norm at the school, which could be open to Cleveland students by the fall.
Games, films and music will just be the way you learn about the usual core subjects of math and history and science. And you’ll be using those art forms to show what you’ve learned. You’ll be creating games or making films about topics that students in other schools write papers or take tests about.
“It’s a tool,” said the school’s champion,
Marsha Dobryzynski, of the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning, a Shaker Square non-profit formerly known as Young Audiences. "They’re going to use them as tools to access core content. It’s the hook to help them learn.”
Dobrzynski added: “They’re not going to come to school to play games. They’re going to come to school to create games.“
The school is still in early planning stages. It doesn’t have a location, principal, or teachers yet. And curriculum planning has just started, Dobrzynski said.
But the school has early support from the district and from the Cleveland and George Gund foundations, who work closely with the district. An application for nearly $400,000 for the school’s startup cost was one of the district’s four requests from the state’s new Straight-A innovation fund this fall.
The grant application described the school as “the first Ohio public school to utilize digital arts as a means to actively engage students who struggle to learn in traditional school models, as well as to meet the needs of students who may be interested in a career in technology fields. CHSDA students will learn both digital arts and core content and demonstrate learning, understanding and application of math, science, English Language Arts, social studies, and other art forms with the creation of digital products– games, recordings, or films - that shows mastery of essential concepts. “
The request sought, among other costs, $110,000 for a curriculum director and technology director, $75,000 to build and equip a recording arts studio, $92,000 for a film editing lab, and $20,000 for a 3D printer, laptops for teachers, smartboards and other equipment.
Because the state did not award the grant, Dobrzynski said she is seeking other grants or donations to start serious planning. She said she should know by the end of January if the school is likely to start in the fall, or will need another year of planning.