CITY OF CAROLINA, PR
Mayor José E. Aponte

Carolina School of Fine Arts

Background

The Mayor of the Municipality of Carolina, The Honorable José E. Aponte, aware of the existing conditions of crime, violence, drug abuse, premature sexual practices, alcoholism and many other negative influences that threaten children and youth in our community at present, recognizes the necessity of fighting this social crisis with preventative actions through creative, innovative and effective strategies. The Mayor has declared education as a priority area for city government attention. The Carolina School of Fine Arts is one of the educational initiatives being taken to create responsible, well-balanced people to become contributing members of society.

The Carolina School of Fine Arts is tasked with offering formal educational services to students identified with having the interest, aptitude and talent for the study of music, dance, theatre and the visual arts. The School’s mission is to develop the artistic capacity of all students to the fullest extent possible. The institution operates after regular school hours; the children and young people range from 6 to 18 years of age.

All those who are currently attending elementary, junior and high schools are eligible. A special music program designed for adult students above 18 years of age operates on Saturdays.

More than 1000 students coming from all geographical areas of Carolina attend the school every year. Most of these residential areas are identified as being extremely impoverished and high-risk places for children and youth. The time scheduled at the school promotes for children and youth to use their leisure time to get involved in educational activities that they enjoy, instead of being exposed to aforementioned risks by being out on the streets while their parents are still at work. Another related factor is that students in the Carolina School of Fine Arts are required to be active in their regular schools. Consequently, school desertion has decreased in private and public schools around the city. Even student grades at their regular schools show a tendency to improve when they are involved in the arts. Evidence to support this statement was found as a result of research conducted to study and evaluate a sample of seventy student academic records taken at random. Their subject grades were found to be excellent.

Instructional & Vocational Goals

All instructional art programs at the school were designed with a vocational approach. The school’s final goal is to have talented students develop a career in their respective field. Once the four-to-eight year program in any of the disciplines is completed, the student should be prepared to enter an educational institution for advanced studies in the arts, or join the occupational world playing a musical instrument, singing, dancing, painting, acting or performing other artistic activities.

In order to help students achieve these goals, the institution provides them with the opportunity to participate in concerts, plays, theatrical activities, exhibitions and other types of artistic presentations. Arts School events are organized for parents and the general public around Carolina, including the neighborhoods. As the students progress in skill development and artistic performance, they join various formal artistic groups organized for them as part of the school curriculum.

Community Involvement

The whole community of Carolina is considered to be part of the school. Parents and the general public visit the institution regularly and are informed of the students achievements, as well as any help that may be needed. Frequent meetings are organized for parents in which the school faculty explain the work and priorities to be considered in the near future. All parents understand that one of the important roles they play is in helping and motivating their children to do their independent work.

Facilities

In terms of physical plant, in September of 1999 the school moved from its former facility into a very modern, new, seven-building structure built at a cost of more than twelve million dollars. All the facilities imaginable at present have been provided within this modern structure. The following can be mentioned among these facilities: A five-hundred seat theatre; specially designed rooms for choirs, bands, orchestras, dancing painting, drawing, singing, graphic arts, photography, ceramics and sculpture; a modern library; exhibition areas; a sound-proof recording studio; and small and large rooms for individual and group music classes and other activities.

Finances

The school maintains its own budget. It is assigned yearly based upon a request proposal submitted by the school administrator and director. It is recommended by the Mayor and finally approved by the Municipal Assembly. The school budget for the current year reached the amount of $803,506. Most of this amount is used to cover salaries of the 42 teachers on staff.

With the exception of five permanent music teachers, all other teachers are hired on a contractual basis. If their professional services are evaluated as being satisfactorily performed, their contracts are renewed for the next year. The Mayor of Carolina is Chief of the school staff, and all actions taken at the school are carried out according to the Mayor’s leadership and vision for a better society.


 
 


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