Clarkton School of Discovery, Clarkton, N.C.
Clarkton School of Discovery is a public magnet middle school located in rural Bladen County, N.C. The school serves 350 students in grades six to eight, a population divided nearly equally among white and African American students. One-third qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch.
Clarkton is one of North Carolina’s 30 A+ Schools. A+ Schools believe that the arts stimulate in-depth learning and holistic knowledge in students, resulting not only in higher achievement, but also in lowering the incidence of behavioral problems and absences from school.
For several years, Clarkton used magnet grant funding to retain its arts teachers. But when the funding ended, the school had to figure out a way to preserve the presence of the arts. The visual art teacher received her certification in science, and the dance teacher became certified to teach language arts. Each of them now teaches non-arts classes in the morning and arts electives in the afternoon.
The practice of mixing the arts with academics is core to the way Clarkton operates. Students explore four core areas of learning – language arts, math, science, and social studies – in the morning. In the afternoon, the students have a choice of more than 50 different electives.
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