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Utopian Academy For The Arts| Georgia Approved Charter Middle School » ACADEMICS

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  • THE ARTSclick here››

    Utopian Academy for the Arts sees the arts not as a peripheral part of the curriculum, but as an essential part of the knowledge all children should learn. Early instruction in the arts should be noncompetitive, and provide many opportunities to sing, dance, listen to music, act, read and write poetry, draw, paint, make objects, and explore nutrition through academics. Equally important, children should be exposed to journalism, video production, fine paintings, great music, and other inspiring examples of art. As children progress in their knowledge and competencies, they can begin to learn more about the methods and terminology of the different arts, and become familiar with an ever wider range of great artists and acknowledged masterworks. Through attaining a basic knowledge of the arts, children are not only better prepared to understand and appreciate works of art, but also to communicate their ideas, feelings, and judgments to others.

    Utopian Academy for the Arts will offer classes in the dramatic arts for students in grades 6-8; media arts for students in grade 7; and culinary arts for students in grade 8 as a supplement to the Expeditionary Learning curriculum.

    Dramatic Arts (6-8th grade)

    • Theatre
    • Dance
    • Music
    • Visual Arts

    Media Arts (7th grade)

    • Journalism
    • Broadcast Video Production

    Culinary Arts (8th grade)

    • Culinary Arts


      Students enrolled at Utopian Academy for the Arts will take core classes with peers of the same gender. The rationale for the enrollment plan for Utopian Academy for the Arts is to provide a significant educational benefit of having gender-based classroom environments.

      In the last few years the creation of single-gender schools has been embraced in various parts of the U.S. as a strategy for ameliorating the risks and hardships commonly associated with the academic performance and social development of Black and Latino students.

      Many theories have been offered as a reason that single-gender learning environments work better for some students. In single-gender schools, preoccupation with neighboring students of the opposite gender is eliminated, allowing for a more single-minded focus on academics. Our school design has been strategically informed by research on the efficacy of a gender-based educational model for our student population.

        DRAMA CLUB : The purpose of the Drama Club “The Utopian Players Guild” is to learn about acting, play production, and stage work
        • GLEE CLUB:  Glee Club is a group organized to sing short choral works, especially part-songs.
        • DIY /CRAFTS CLUB: DIY/Crafts club will learn how to do “Do It Yourself” (DIY) projects and creative crafts
        • DEBATE TEAM: Debate is contention in argument; dispute, controversy; discussion; especially the discussion of questions of public interest in Parliament or in any assembly
        • YOUNG MENS’ FORUM: Mentoring young boys into wholesome and respectful young men.
        • GIRLS WHO ROCK: Girls who rock Is a group session where young ladies in the 6th & 7th grade can get together to discuss topics relevant to their experiences. We enhance the development of young girls as well as provide a forum to expose them to the benefits and the importance of positive self-image, responsible personal conduct, respect for self and others, educational achievement and cultural enrichment. 
        • ART CLUB :Art Club is for those students who love art and would like to perfect their crafts 
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      August 31, 2015August 31, 2015
      RIVERDALE - When 300 students at Utopian Academy for the Arts reported to classes last week, there was no sign on the lawn letting them know that they had reached the right place. The name of the school had been removed by order of the City of Riverdale.This week the sign is still bare.The City of Riverdale has prohibited Utopian from using its school sign to welcome visitors or identify the building until administrators secure a business license. School officials, however, maintain that Utopian is a public school so a business license is not necessary. The debate has caused the school to accrue fines in the hundreds of dollars for violating city code. Administrators say the fees and threats are just another attempt to “bully” Utopian into pulling out of Riverdale.“They don’t want people to know that a school exists at 6630 Camp Street,” said Artesius Miller, executive director of Utopian. “They have stripped us naked and said basically ‘You all will not have anything so that people will know that you are even here’.”Similar tactics last year resulted in delaying the opening of school for more than a week. A Clayton County fire marshal denied administrators, teachers, and students the right to access the building saying that Utopian needed a last minute inspection among other things to occupy the premises. Utopian lost 80 students after its delayed opening.Utopian’s rocky start inspired legislation to protect state-approved public charter schools from similar stall tactics. The "Utopian Academy for the Arts Act," which went into effect in July, prohibits local governments from requiring public charter schools approved and inspected by officials with the state Department of Education to be forced to obtain any other licenses from local government entities to operate their school.The law does not protect a charter school’s signage, however.In the weeks before classes began this school year, a City of Riverdale code enforcement officer left a violation notice on Utopian’s door warning administrators to take action immediately: “Remove banner until permit is issued and apply for a business license.” Miller said that a member of the Clayton County School board advised him that other county schools in Riverdale are not required to have a sign permit or a business license. “Every time that we have attempted to have some type of signage, we were told that we needed a permit or we were being fined because we are not affiliated with the Board of Education in Clayton County,” he said. [columns] [column half][pullquote left]

      Where Is Utopian Academy for the Arts? City Prohibits School From Using Sign[/pullquote][/column] [column half]

      “It got really nasty,” Miller said of a recent surprise visit from code enforcement before school began."

      Miller said that he has received calls and notes from the city warning that Utopian has accrued fees in the hundreds of dollars for violating city business license and sign codes. “It got really nasty,” Miller said of a recent surprise visit from code enforcement before school began. “The guy came and tossed the [fee list] in the face” of a school supporter.Miller took video footage of the visit that shows a code enforcement officer telling him and a school supporter that an inspection of the school’s signage was necessary because “the Georgia Department of Education does not look for stuff like this on buildings.”For the second year in a row, Miller turned to the State Charter Schools Commission for reinforcement. Miller got a letter explaining to the city that schools authorized by the commission are indeed public schools, not businesses.“Utopian Academy for the Arts is a public charter school authorized by the SCSC- a state level authorizing entity under the authority of the state Board of Education,” wrote Gregg Stevens, general counsel for the commission.“Accordingly, Utopian Academy for the Arts should at all times be treated like a public school with the privileges, rights, and obligations afforded thereto …” Utopian opened in August 2014. It was denied the right to exist by the Clayton County School board in 2011, 2012, and 2013 when the district rejected its charter application. The local denial was over-ruled by the state in October 2013. The state Charter Schools Commission granted Utopian Academy the authority to serve kids for five years as a state charter school. It was the first charter school to win approval from the new commission.[/column] [/columns] State Rep. Valencia Stovall, who supported the opening of Utopian in Clayton and co-sponsored the new law protecting charter schools from harassment, said it was “disheartening” to learn that Utopian is still having trouble with local government.“They should be treated as any other public school opening in the city,” Stovall said. “Instead, they have been hit from both sides from the City of Riverdale and the Clayton County School Board.” Stovall said that in addition to racking up fines from the city, Clayton Schools is exercising its right to charge Utopian much higher rent than the building’s earlier tenant. Utopian pays $3,000 a month to use the building compared to the Riverdale Development Authority, which had a lease allowing it to pay $1 annually for 20 years.School leaders say they refused to be forced out of Riverdale by local leaders who see them as competition. “Being in this fight for so long has been a tedious journey for me not only as a board member, but also a parent,” said Sharon Daniel, who chairs Utopian’s governing board. “We will not give up. We will educate the City of Riverdale.Utopian is a public school. We have a right to be here.” CLICK HERE FOR THIS RELEASE IN A DOWNLOADABLE FORMAT