Even before you step foot in a Birch Grove School for the Arts classroom, you can tell it's not your typical elementary school. The hallways and classrooms are covered with art work.
"We are an art school. We learn through our passion for the arts," said Principal Jeff Zastrow.
The bright hues are not the only things that make Birch Grove unique. The school infuses arts throughout its curriculum. Birch Grove has a large drama room with a stage area for students to learn the performing arts. Kids also spend time in the visual arts room, which like the drama room, is double the size of a normal classroom, allowing students to experience many different art styles.
"They kind of forge their own path, and it gives them more investment into what they're doing and what they're learning," said Kory Brown, the school's visual arts teacher. "Art makes them more creative people, we teach here creative problem solving, make them more independent learners. Because they know they could use their art skills to make other subjects fun."
School administrators say the system is working. When students leave here, they have a sense of independence and high self esteem.
"That self-confidence, that inner strength, that ability to take risk and be creative, to make mistakes and learn from them is something we feel that our arts and integration provides kids, that's a little different than the average experience elsewhere," said Zastrow.
Sonya Goins, email@example.com