Boston Arts Academy (BAA) is Boston’s only public high school for the visual and performing arts, serving 440 students. What is most remarkable is its mission--it leverages interest in the arts to provide a strong academic program that builds self confidence along with talent. Unlike most magnets for the arts, BAA does not use test scores, grades or attendance to determine admittance. It deliberately builds diversity.
With 60% of students coming from economically disadvantaged families, few entering students have even had access to arts education. 40% of students speak English as a second language, 20% have literacy challenges, and 14% have learning disabilities.
In order to make the program work, BAA has a lengthened school day. In addition to attending academic classes and 2 ½ hours of daily arts classes, BAA students also spend evening and weekend hours rehearsing for upcoming performances or preparing for exhibitions. . As a full-inclusion school, BAA is committed to serving the needs of all students.
Headmaster Anne R. Clark explains, “The arts have the power to transform lives. For many students, including students who struggle academically or suffer from social/emotional issues, the arts are a pathway to success. The arts develop creativity, critical thinking skills, self-discipline, perseverance, and the ability to work collaboratively. At BAA, we push students to take creative risks and to use the arts to advocate for causes they believe in."
For its innovative approach to curriculum and, student support Boston Arts Academy deserves Silver recognition as a School of Opportunity.