"Arts integration is actually bringing the arts into academic activities in a way that will enhance learning," said Phil Katsampes, principal of the Boulder Community School of Integrated Studies.
BCSIS uses various modes of art to bolster lessons in math, reading, and science.
"I heard it was a really good school," said Aiden Warner, 4th grader. "My parents loved it. It was an arts-based school and so they said I was talented at art."
But, this is not just a school for artists or musicians.
For example, 4th grade teacher Terry Nickie uses a method where his students pretend to operate cameras during a play to illustrate the grammar skill of making paragraphs.
"You're going to read your story and think about your vision as a camera man," Nickie said to his students.
Katsampes says teachers focus on reaching the so-called "multiple intelligences" of children as outlined by a developmental psychologist, Howard Gardner.
"Some kids will be more kinesthetic. Some kids will be more auditory or verbal learners," said Katsampes.
In Karen Halverson's 2nd grade class, she has her students draw the critical moment of their essays to enhance their writing skills.
"All the writing, the writing, the writing, and now they are embodying it," said Halverson. "They're envisioning it. They're engaging their imaginations."
The arts, they say, engages their minds.
"Most of the kids who go here, it's because they learn better when things happen through art or music or something like that," said Darrow Adderholt, 4th grader.
BCSIS is an open enrollment school. Students from all over the Boulder Valley School District have to apply to attend this school. Kirsten Boyer says she wanted to get her children in after doing the research on their arts-integration program.
"It's all the things that I found out after I got here that I love about this school," said Boyer.
She says the school turns students into well-rounded citizens through the arts. As a result, she believes this leads to reduced bullying and other social issues.
"For kids, when they don't always have the verbal skills, they don't always have the written skills, it's just a really easy way to truly express themselves," said Boyer.
So, when Katsampes looks at other schools that are cutting the arts to focus more on subjects like science and math, he thinks that is the wrong move.
"The arts contribute to academics. They don't take away from academics," said Katsampes. "We do very well on state testing and so what that says to me is that the arts contribute to success academically."
All this week, 9News profiled different types of schools for 9News School Choice Week. Parents have only a few more weeks to make preliminary choices for school for their kids for next year.
If you want to find a good school near you, check out our partners at ColoradoSchoolGrades.com. This is a free website that assigns a letter grade to every school in Colorado, based on academic performance.
Katsampes says bringing arts into every subject is a key ingredient to student learning.
"By presenting an activity that reaches more the intelligences, you're reaching more students in the classroom," said Katsampes.
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