OKLAHOMA CITY – In our latest installment of “What’s Right with Our Schools we go to Harding Fine Arts Academy. Harding is what’s called an A-Plus school. It’s one of 70 schools statewide that incorporate many different ways of learning.
“They had to figure out the area of that and then they had to figure out the perimeter,” one teacher explains.
Some lessons are sung. “To find the area and we’re not scared, it’s PR squared,” sings one group of students.
They call on Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe” and sing it, of course.
“A-Plus schools are founded on eight different essentials, but the big premise is that students should have an opportunity to experience the arts every day,” Teacher, Jennifer Burris says.
The premise is that students learn in many different ways so one size doesn’t fit all. For sophomore Grace Hawkins she learned she was a visual learner and before coming here she struggled.
“I really hated math and science,” Hawkins says.
But then she came to Harding.
“She’ll give us thing to mess with so we can actually do the problem,” Hawkins says. “It’s just so much better. I went from getting a C in math to getting an A.”
Hawkins parents say the difference is staggering.
“It’s art, it’s movement, it’s music; they learn to apply it,” Hawkins’ mom says. “I’ve seen her come away from her classes really knowing the material.”
State Department of Education data shows that since A-Plus schools were implemented in 2002, they’ve outperformed their district and state averages on standardized test every year.
“They are able to make connections with what they’re learning and be able to do that in a ‘hands- on’ concrete way of why that should matter to them,” Teacher, Jennifer Burris explains.
It’s putting students like Grace Hawkins on the path to success.
“I love this school. Honestly this is the best school I’ve ever been to,” Grace Hawkins says.
Harding Fine Arts Academy is another example of “What’s Right with our Schools.”
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