Lead Story - July 3, 2013
Charleston County School District (CCSD) is committed to stimulating the minds of young scholars and artists with educational and performance based summer programs. For the past three weeks, students from around the district participated in the SMAART (Students Mastering the Academic ARTs) and SAIL (Students Actively Involved in Learning) enrichment programs. Designed to increase student interest and competence in a hands-on environment, both SMAART and SAIL programs brought to life students’ curiosity. Over 600 particpants were provided with opportunities to study the arts and academic content using creativity and ingenuity in collaborative projects. In just a short period of time, students from across the district formed lasting bonds with each other.
“SMAART is CCSD's premier Artistically Gifted and Talented program. Through this program, students receive 120 hours of rigorous artistic trainingculminating in a day of performances and art exhibits. These experiences help to develop higher level thinking skills, problem solving, and the discipline necessary to be successful in the 21st century global economy,” said James Braunreuther, fine arts director. SMAART classes included Hip Pop a Capella Chorus, Percussion Playground, Steel Drum Band, Musical Drama, Different Cultures One World, SMAART-Alec Singers, Power Guitar, Dance Fusion, Movin’ to the Streets along with other musical and visual art compositions. Striking all the right notes in a closing concert, National PTA Reflections winner, Vaibhav Mohanty led the Honors Band with his original work.
The SAIL program offered thought-provoking and enlightening opportunities for students to excel in academics. They engineered and built mock solar powered schools, studied cultures from around the world, became playwrights, designed publications, and created video games to enhance math skills. Parents packed the School of the Arts campus and Rose Marie Meyers Theater in support of all of the performances. Bryan Fisher was proud to watch his son perform live. “It’s exciting to have Nick in the program. He has learned so much this summer,” Fisher said.
The exhibition and concert were not the only program finales. Only having three weeks to learn songs, an entire script, and choreography, SMAART theater students performed a rendition of the 1984 classic, Footloose. Full of vibrant energy, the cast entertained the audience and received a standing ovation. “I loved when the cast broke out into the song Hero. This is awesome and so much fun,” commented theater goer Kristin Strottler. Fourth through seventh grade SMAART students designed, built, and painted the show’s set. Musical accompaniment was provided by SMAART musicians and college student volunteers. Considering students only had 15 days to rehearse and put on a full show – the results were remarkable to say the least.
“This year’s summer enrichment programs continued to challenge the minds of our children. The summer SAIL program provided an opportunity for students to accelerate in learning with research and a higher level of thinking in a cooperative and fun atmosphere. SMAART supplied students with discipline in various art forms through interaction with others who had similar artistic abilities,” said superintendent McGinley. “I am proud of the hard work of these participants, and I applaud our staff members, volunteers and community supporters who make it all come together each year,” she commented.
Check out more photos from the SMAART and SAIL programs.