First Arts Integration Charter School in South Jersey
Approved on March 9th, 2018 by NJ Department of Education.
Appel Farm Arts & Music Center, Camden’s Charter School Network, and a founding board of local community leaders (from eight townships in Salem, Cumberland and Gloucester Counties) announced that the Creativity CoLaboratory Charter School will open its doors in September, 2019.
This STEAM-focused public middle school is open for 5th – 8th grade students who wish to explore the world of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, through hands-on, project based learning. Students from Pittsgrove, Elmer, Upper Pittsgrove, Alloway, Woodstown/Pilesgrove, Upper Deerfield, Elk, Franklin, South Harrison school districts will be given priority, though students from anywhere in New Jersey will also be eligible. Read below for a message from the founding board, mission, teaching approach and FAQs.
Click here to join our mailing list, get involved with the charter school, and learn about opportunities for enrollment, school planning and development, community outreach, faculty and staff, and educational partnerships: Get Involved with Creativity CoLaboratory.
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We know that experiences affect learning. We know that educating the whole-child is essential to raising thoughtful, contributing community members. We know that students will master more when they are engaged in their learning and having fun. We know that not all students flourish in a traditional learning environment. We know that alternative, arts integrated education models work and help students thrive.
A group of committed citizens has identified a need in our community; a need for a school that will help all students be their best. This group also deeply believes in the core values of Appel Farm – Safety, Community, Diversity, Fun, & Personal Growth – and recognizes Appel Farm’s successful approach to arts education. To that end we have decided to start a charter school, housed at Appel Farm and based on their approach, but that is an independent organization. Please join us in helping our community by showing your support and ensuring that all students have the opportunity to succeed. ~ The Founding Board
To create a nurturing and compelling learning community that engages young people in an arts integrated STEAM curriculum, allowing them to thrive and be their best selves.
For young people to be successful they need to learn how to think, not what to think.
We believe that learning should be fun and exciting and that youth should be actively involved in their education. The rigorous STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) curriculum will be anchored in the New Jersey Student Learning Standards and will be delivered in a digitally-enhanced, project-based learning environment. Relevant, hands-on programming will integrate the school and community to create an authentic education experience. The development of character, leadership skills, and community responsibility is at the heart of our whole-child approach and ensures students have the knowledge and skills to become contributing members of a democratic society.
Creativity CoLaboratory Students Will Benefit From
- Cultural experiences to connect students with real world opportunities
- Learning from a range of professionals in diverse career fields
- 1:1 Technology
- Extended school day
- Weekend retreats
- Summer Arts Camp
The Benefits of STEAM Education
- Exploring multiple subjects simultaneously through a STEAM education model allows students to consider a broader range of perspectives when solving problems. Whereas traditional education models teach fact-based knowledge, STEAM education provides students with the tools needed to thrive in the 21st century: creativity, innovation, communication, and collaboration.
- Arts students are 55% more likely to attend post-secondary schools than students who don’t take arts classes.
- The more arts classes taken in high school the higher the student achievement in GPA, graduation rate, state tests, and SAT.
- The more arts classes students take, the less likely they are to drop out by nearly 20% across the arts disciplines.
- When liberal arts are integrated with science, project-based learning, and technology, student achievement increases in science and math as well. STEAM prepares students for the future and acts as a catalyst to accelerate learning.
Q. What is a charter school and how is it similar and different from public schools?
A charter school is an independent public school of choice that is founded on a charter (a statement of purpose), which has been approved by the New Jersey Department of Education. A charter education is entirely tuition-free. A charter school must follow all of the curriculum and standard testing requirements of the State of New Jersey. All charter school teachers must be highly-qualified and possess valid New Jersey teaching certificates in the subjects they are teaching.
Q. How is the founding group qualified to open and operate a charter school?
The founding board is comprised of qualified members, as per the State of New Jersey. They are supported by a qualified charter network operator, Camden’s Charter School Network, who has twenty years of STEAM education experience. Appel Farm has fifty-seven years of experience with successfully delivering high quality arts education programming both on-site and with school and community partners.
Q. Won’t a charter school hurt my local school by taking away money and resources?
Money follows the child. If a child is no longer in the local school, the local school no longer has to pay to educate the child. The charter receives 90% of that per pupil’s state tuition. We will work with local schools to ensure that all students are receiving the best education.
Q. What is a STEAM based education and why is it important?
Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math are an interdisciplinary curriculum designed to engage students in hands-on, project-based learning. Studying STEAM in an integrated manner better prepares students for the professional world of the future.
Q. What type of student would be a good fit for this school?
Creativity CoLaboratory will focus on individual interests, and balance a rigorous academic curriculum with arts-based learning. Students who value thinking outside of the box, want learning to be fun, and who learn best in a creative, engaging environment will find success at Creativity CoLaboratory.