The North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts has once again been named one of the premier arts schools in the state.
That's because it has again been honored as an Arts Achieve! Model School, for the next three years after earning the distinction for the first time in 2011.
The award will be presented at the Florida Alliance for Arts Education Leadership Summit, to be held June 18-20 in Orlando.
"The academy will become a demonstration school for other schools, and will try to help them develop the school to its level," said Dr. Doug Santini, North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts principal.
"We'll also be working with an underprivileged rules school in Florida as a mentor, which we'll learn about in two weeks," Santini said.
The Arts Achieve! Model Schools program recognizes schools that offer exemplary arts programs in at least three of the four disciplines, strong arts integration programs, supportive instructional settings, outstanding community connections, or other factors that make them valuable examples, according to the Arts Achieve! Website.
"We've integrated the arts into the core subjects. When we teach reading and math, you're also bringing the arts into the class," Santini said. "When we teach music, we bring math and reading into it."
The purpose of the award is to identify, recognize and promote statewide K-12 fine arts programs that balance diversity, high performance standards and instructional quality in visual and performing arts education.
Schools that apply for the award conduct a comprehensive self-assessment, which are evaluated by a committee of arts education professionals. The final selection includes site visits for the strongest schools.
Schools honored retain the Arts Achieve! designation for three years. North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts was originally named an Arts Achieve! Model School in 2011 and was re-certified this year.
Along with being announced for the award, the school also receives professional development opportunities and may be nominated for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts National Schools of Distinction in Arts Education Award.
"It's a great honor as we were among only two local schools to win it. It shows some of the work the kids and the teachers are doing to support the arts and use it for the academics in the classroom," Santini said.
Cypress Lake High School center of the Arts was named last year. Diplomat Middle School in Cape Coral was certified in 2010, but did not receive renewal last year.