TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) – Students from the Alberta area returned to the classroom after Christmas break on Tuesday, but they didn’t go back to the school they left in December. After nearly four years, the Alberta School of Performing Arts finally opened its doors to students and staff.
“You know, we took our time to put this building together,” explains superintendent Dr. Paul McKendrick. “I can’t think of anything in any part of the design where we stepped back and said, we should have done something differently.”
The performing arts school sits on the former site of Alberta Elementary School, which was destroyed in the tornadoes on April 27, 2011. Up until now, Alberta Elementary School has shared a building several miles down the road with the Tuscaloosa Magnet School. We spoke with students who attended Alberta Elementary back in 2011, like David Grant. He’s now in the 5th grade at the Alberta School of Performing Arts.
“I like it, it’s beautiful,” Grant says. “I’m glad we’re in our new building and not sharing a school.”
While the students and teachers are grateful that the Tuscaloosa Magnet School offered them a temporary home, Principal Brenda Parker agrees.
“You don’t realize it until you don’t have it just how much that means,” Parker explains. “The ownership: as soon as teachers were able to come back into the building, having ownership of all the space is just really awesome.”
Parker says the teachers spent a large portion of their Christmas breaks making sure the classrooms would be ready for students.
The school will offer something completely new and unique for Tuscaloosa. McKendrick explains it’s the only program of it’s kind in this portion of the state where the school system actually implemented the fine arts component. The Alberta School of Performing Arts will meet the system’s standard curriculum, however; even the kindergarten students will be exposed to various forms of the arts. As students get older and grow in the program they will begin to focus on a specific discipline in the arts.
In grades six through eight, students will have a deep immersion in their discipline, in addition to an arts-infused curriculum. The fine arts programs will be fully underway in fall of 2015.
Any student in the 4th grade or higher in the Tuscaloosa City School zone are eligible to apply to attend. The Alberta School of Performing Arts will be a kindergarten through 8th grade school. Students will have to go through an application process. Older students may have to audition to attend. The application is currently online at the Tuscaloosa City School system’s website. The deadline to apply is Jan. 30 at 3 p.m.
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