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The Akron School of the Arts program is designed for the serious student in drama, dance, visual art, or vocal and instrumental music. Student that are planning on a career in the arts will earn eight credits in art electives and upon graduation will receive a diploma which reflects this concentrated study.
Kelly Berick, Director of Dance has directed the collegiate-model Akron School for the Arts dance program at Firestone High School for 19 years. She served on Ohio Department of Education’s Fine Arts Content Standards writing team from 2001-2003, and facilitated the writing of the Model Curriculum for Dance in 2013-2014. She presents nationally at National Dance Education Organization’s annual conference as part of the K-12 Task Force panel, and serves on their Resource Review committee. She was named Ohio’s Dance Educator of the Year in 2001 by OAHPERD, and is 2014’s recipient of the Outstanding Contributions to the Advancement of Dance Education Award, given by OhioDance, for which she has served on the Board of Directors for six years. Prior, she performed professionally as a founding member of Wrenn Cook and Friends Dance Company, and as an artist-in-residence, taught dance in public schools and universities throughout South Carolina and in Philadelphia. Mrs. Berick holds dance degrees from Columbia College, Temple University, and the University of Akron.
Sally Schneider, Vocal Music Director received a Bachelor of Music from Mount Union College and a Master's of Music Education degree from The University of Akron. She has directed high school choirs in the Akron Public Schools for 13 years. Her choirs have consistently earned superior ratings at state OMEA competitions and have been invited to present at OMEA/ACDA professional conferences. Mrs. Schneider is a Jennings scholar and was awarded Ohio's Outstanding Music Educator by OMEA in 2000. She is a member of Ohio Music Educators Association, American Choral Directors Association, and the International Association of Jazz Musicians.
Mark A. Zimmerman, Theatre Director received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowling Green State University and a Master of Theatre Arts and an M.Ed. in Secondary Education from The University of Akron. Zimmerman has directed theatre at the Akron School for the Arts since 1995 and has been the guiding force for the educational theatre program that was recently named an "Outstanding School" by the Educational Theatre Association (2013). He has been among the first area directors to present many musical productions including Mary Poppins (2014), Monty Python’s Spamalot (2013), The Color Purple (2012), Legally Blonde (2012), Hairspray (2011), The Producers (2009), Side Show (2008), and Urinetown (2007). His local directing credits include productions at the Akron Civic Theatre / All-City Musical (Bye Bye Birdie, Ragtime, Hairspray), Cleveland Public Theatre (Eve Ensler's Lemonade), Stow Players (Greetings), The Western Reserve Playhouse (The Andrews Brothers, Rumors, Once Upon a Mattress), Weathervane Community Playhouse (The Crucible, The Philadelphia Story, Oliver!), Coach House Theatre (Collected Stories) and the University of Akron (Into the Woods, Talk Radio).
Mrs. Bobbie L Smith holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Science degrees from The University of Akron. She graduated Cum Laude and was recognized as an "Outstanding Senior Student" by both the Art and English Departments. She was also awarded "Outstanding Women Student" from Women in High Education and was a USAA "AII American Scholar". She is a member of the National Art Education Association and United States Achievement Academy. She has taught at The University of Akron and is a professional commissioned artist.
Akron School of the Arts students regularly participate in local, state and national competitions, contests, festivals and exhibits. The students are exposed to and educated about all art forms through collaborative projects, guest artist forums and departmental presentations.
The Music students emphasize in Band, Orchestral and Vocal music. Music Ensembles available to students include: Marching Band, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Orchestra, String Quartet, Cello Ensemble, String Choir, Concert Choir, Women's choir, Men's chorus, Symphonic Choir, Madrigal Singers, Vocal Jazz Ensemble. The activities of the performing arts at Firestone High School are generously supported by an active Band Boosters Association, the FHS Instrumental Music Association, and the FHS Vocal Music, Theatre and Dance Association.
The Theater Department offers at least two major productions a year in addition to opportunities for the students to perform various scenes from one act plays. Guest speakers share their expertise with the students, and students are always involved in the total production process, including set design and building, as well as running the sound and light boards. The school also has a Thespian Troupe and participates in various activities at the state level. One of the many highlights of the school year is the spring musical where outstanding productions are presented to packed houses at three consecutive performances. Additionally, students from throughout the Firestone Cluster are invited to daytime performances.
The Dance Department participate in their own recitals as well as the spring musical. An important aspect of the dance curriculum is students learning to choreograph their own dances and these are performed in an intimate dance setting as well as on the main stage. Students have the opportunity to collaborate with area dance companies and also benefit from the expertise of guest artists and choreographers. The dance department collaborates regularly with other arts' areas.
The Visual Arts Department have the opportunity to work in all media as they take the various courses in the four year curriculum. Students are encouraged to participate in the various art competitions at the local, state and national levels including the prestigious Scholastic Art Contest and the Holocaust Contest. Firestone High School has a history of gold and silver key winners in the Scholastic Art Contest. A highlight of each year is the Senior Art Showcase where student work is displayed in the showcases located in the main foyer of the school as well as an "Arts Extravaganza" evening which is a community Open House sponsored by the PTA.
In accordance with the Akron School of the Arts student contract, the Akron School of the Arts' stresses achievement in both art and academics. To this end, students are expected to maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 by the end of the each semester.
If a student's GPA falls below a 2.0 , the student will be dropped from the program. In such cases, the student and the student's parents will be advised of this status well prior to being dropped from the program.
Should this situation occur, the following will apply: The student will be dropped from the magnet arts' program and he/she will not be able to receive the Fine Arts Endorsement on their diploma or transcripts. If Firestone is not their home high school, they would return to their home school. If Firestone is the home school, the student would schedule other appropriate classes with the guidance counselor.
It is not appropriate that a student in this program receive any grade below a C in an arts class. Should this situation occur following the first semester grade reports, the family will be notified in writing that the student may be dropped from the program.
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