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Four more teachers to transfer to arts school

July 20, 2010|By DAN DEARTH

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Washington County Public Schools will transfer four teachers to the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts this year to meet the needs of a growing student body.

Clyde Harrell, director of curriculum and instruction for Washington County Public Schools, said Tuesday after a Washington County Board of Education meeting that 210 students will be enrolled when the school year begins Aug. 18.

About 150 students were enrolled at the same time last year.

"I think our first year was a huge success," Harrell said. "The students received a quality education in academics and the arts."

Harrell said the teachers are being transferred to the arts school from schools with decreasing student populations.

The Barbara Ingram School for the Arts in downtown Hagerstown opened its doors to high school students at the beginning of the 2009-10 academic year. It provides students with a college-preparatory curriculum, while allowing them to focus on studies in the arts.

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Harrell said of the 220 students who applied for enrollment in the arts school this year, only 91 were offered admission. Many of the applicants lost interest, he said, when they discovered they had to arrange an audition piece to be considered.

"It's a demanding school," Harrell said. "They have to go to school an hour more than other students. They're busy all the time."

Harrell said officials anticipate that the school will reach its 300-student capacity at the start of 2012-13 academic year, when the school's first freshman class will be seniors.

During the Board of Education meeting, Harrell and principal Michael Thorsen presented highlights of the school's inaugural year, which included a trip to New York City, where some students performed at Carnegie Hall.

Harrell told the board that the students primarily take art classes at the school and walk to the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown for their traditional classroom work. The school has an arrangement with the University System to use seven classrooms, Harrell said.

Harrell and Thorsen invited Barbara Ingram School for the Arts student Ian Karraker to say a few words to the board about the school.

Karraker said he believed that the school provided a better arts education than he would have received at Boonsboro High School.

"It furthered my interest in that regard," he said.

The Barbara Ingram School for the Arts offers majors in dance, theater, visual arts, vocal music and instrumental music.

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