Public school choice may be a novel idea, one shrouded in mystery for many parents. Sending your child to a specific public school outside of your hometown, without having to pay for it, is not just an idea, it is an option for every family in Connecticut.
The concept of choosing a school best suited for your child's specific talents and interests is the driving force behind the Visual and Performing Arts pathway offered by New London Public Schools for all students.
"Our school is undergoing a wonderful transformation," says Carlos Leal, Principal of Nathan Hale Arts Magnet Elementary School. "The staff is energized, the facilities are beautiful and world class, and every child is considered an individual work of art."
Nathan Hale Arts Magnet Elementary School is the first step in the Arts pathway, which continues after 5th grade at the new Arts Middle School. Applications are now being accepted for grades K through 7, and families should know that by entering Nathan Hale or the Arts Magnet Middle School their child is guaranteed a seat in the entire K-12 pathway and will be among the first graduating classes of the future Arts Magnet High School.
"We have designed and implemented a K through 12 Arts Magnet Pathway that collaborates with arts partners from throughout the region," says Kate Fioravanti, District Arts Supervisor for New London Public Schools. "Nathan Hale will involve exposure to all the five art forms (Dance, Music, Media Arts, Theater, Visual Arts). "Then in the Arts Magnet Middle School, we will provide immersion at deeper levels into multiple art forms. This allows students to focus on an art form once in high school. This pathway from exposure to immersion to focus will prepare a student for study and career opportunities in any field well beyond high school."
Using the HOT Schools model of strong arts, arts integration and democratic practice, students are exposed to and immersed in the arts in a rigorous academic program responsive to every student's interests and needs, with creative opportunities to develop their talents.
It's that combination of academic rigor in addition to arts opportunities that attracted Kelli O'Connor, whose daughter is a kindergartener at Nathan Hale.
"Some parents may not understand that magnet students study the regular curriculum plus music, dance and art," says O'Connor. "That combination is what we were looking for, and it wasn't offered in our hometown."
"It's like a school, plus another school, plus another school, plus another school," says fourth grader Ayanna. "It's a music school plus every kind of different school mixed together. I love going here."
Nathan Hale Arts Magnet Elementary School is nestled in a quiet neighborhood setting just off Ocean Avenue near the Waterford border. The hallways are newly painted with works of art by students and the entire school has a vibrant feeling. Visiting artists work with the staff, many of whom are accomplished artists, musicians and dancers themselves, to open students' eyes to the wonder of the arts and to a world of opportunity.
Nathan Hale Arts Magnet Elementary School is holding Open Houses for all southeastern Connecticut parents and students on Wednesday March 16th at 6:00pm, Wednesday March 23rd at 6:00pm, Saturday March 26th at 9:30am, Tuesday March 29th at 9:00am, and Thursday March 31st at 6:00pm. Parents can also schedule individual tours by calling (860) 447-6000.
Nathan Hale and the Arts Magnet Middle School will also be among the New London Public Schools participating in the Bee Magnet Showcase on March 16th, at 6:00pm at Winthrop STEM Elementary School, 74 Grove Street, New London.
"We are here to tap into the potential of each student," says Principal Leal. "We invite parents from across Southeastern Connecticut to join our community of highly trained educators and motivated students."
To learn more about Nathan Hale Arts Magnet Elementary School, the Arts Magnet Middle School and other New London Public Schools Magnet Pathways, please visit newlondon.org/choosemagnet, or call (860) 447-6000.