Creativity is central to the educational program of Allegro. Students at Allegro will be encouraged to become independent “out of the box” thinkers, facile in the production of unique ideas that have value. The school will be a fertile ground for the development of such ideas, and students will be taught to innovate through the application of these ideas to real-world challenges.
Allegro is not a performing arts school. We are not creating the next generation of professional musicians. Instead, music will be used as a vehicle to foster creativity and to keep students engaged in school. Allegro students will follow a plethora of career pathways, armed with the creative capacity and intellectual foundation they need to succeed. Students will be immersed in music on a daily basis, developing the fundamentals and facility to create music of their own through intense study and participation in the art form. Allegro's music curriculum will not just cover the classics—Bach, Beethoven and the like, as is standard fare at performing arts schools. Rather, the music curriculum will cover the broad range of culturally significant Western music—that is, music that has made a substantial and lasting impact on our culture, rooted in the Western tradition, music including classical, jazz, blues and rock. The rationale for such a broad study of music is to give students the tools they need to create their own unique music.
While Allegro is committed to having one-to-one computing on tablets and/or laptops, we know that is not innovative in itself today. It is how the school will empower students and teachers to construct new knowledge and new music using emerging technologies that will create national attention. Students and teachers will be encouraged to develop new apps and cloud-based solutions to problems they encounter and then identify pathways to best disseminate these new innovations using open source practices and appropriate social media. The school will document best practices using technology that close the achievement gaps among students.
Allegro instructional strategies and focus on creativity and music naturally incorporate the strengths of student-centered, cross-curricular project-based learning. Researchers have identified four components that are critical to teaching successfully with PBL: carefully calibrated project design, structured student collaboration, assessments that support students’ success, and a supportive network for teachers’ professional development. Allegro will engage all of these key components to ensure all students can achieve their goals.
Allegro recognizes that hiring excellent teachers is only part of a key strategy that will be needed to ensure success. It is really the continuous development of Allegro facilitators of learning that will make the difference. The demands for ongoing professional development will continue as the school grows and will include authentic implementation of project-based learning, emerging technologies, and the latest in music instruction.
Teachers will have curricular-related teams in this professional learning community. To further enhance this professional learning community and support system for teachers and their students, ample planning time will be scheduled to support grade level cross-curricular collaborations. In addition, 6th and 7th grade teachers will team teach those grades and 8th and 9th grade teachers will team teach those grades as students transition into high school credit courses. When we grow to those grades, teachers in 10th – 12th will focus as a team on students’ mastery of course work, 11th and 12th grade projects, and student transition to college and careers.
Allegro’s four unique interrelated instructional strategies to ensure the mission is achieved and that all students find individual pathways to academic achievement include:
Allegro will use the study and performance of culturally significant western music as the primary medium for fostering and encouraging innate creativity in students. Students will participate in instrumental and choral ensembles and classes. Music faculty will include musicians of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Artists of Charleston, and other local musicians. Students will be provided a wide range of opportunities to study music ranging from classical to jazz to rock and music from other cultures, providing a foundation for appreciating and creating music of any genre. The school will implement internationally recognized best practices in music instruction.
Students will spend 2.5 hours every day immersed in the study of music with the balance of the day focused on an arts infused individualized academic curriculum. The instructional strategies will embrace a robust, mastery-based, blended learning curriculum. The arts will be infused into the curriculum through hands-on multidisciplinary projects. Time is allocated during the day for small group instruction, collaboration on projects, and individual tutoring and mentoring.
Schedule: The school day will be from 7:30am until 3:30pm Monday – Friday.
Faculty: The school will attract top teaching professionals in major all subject areas, at least 75% of whom will be certified educators as allowed by SC and Federal laws. Non-certified faculty will be highly-qualified adjunct music instructors and mentors.
Funding: The school will be a national model of collaboration on the fiscal side as well with funding through both public funds and private philanthropy.
Allegro Charter School of Music © 2015