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Charter school embraces the arts

Oregon Trail Primary Academy brings art program to classrooms


While the Oregon Trail School District’s charter school doesn’t have the budget to support art or music classes, the administration was determined to provide that experience for their students.by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Oregon Trail Primary Academy partnered with The Right Brain Initiative to bring arts to the classroom. Here, students do tableau, a series of theatrical poses.

“We know it’s good for kids,” said James Milliken, principal of Oregon Trail Primary Academy. “We know it’s good for them to learn to be a part of the arts. So how do we create opportunities for that inside our school year and inside our budget restraints?”

Oregon Trail Primary Academy answered that question by forming a partnership with The Right Brain Initiative to bring arts into the classroom for its kindergarten through sixth-grade students starting in January.

The Right Brain Initiative, developed in 2008, allows students to utilize their creativity by bringing art-based programs to schools.

For the first time at Oregon Trail Primary Academy, students will experience Japanese drumming, photography, design thinking and dance.

Directors from The Right Brain Initiative will bring all of the necessary supplies to the classroom and collaborate with the teachers to enrich the curriculum.

“The more interdisciplinary it is and the more connections kids get, the more meaningful that experience will be for them,” Milliken said. “We give them an opportunity to find connections between the curriculum and the arts. So hopefully it will allow them to retain skills and concepts that they’re learning in class. And hopefully the arts will help that last with them forever.”

The school’s budget for the program will determine how many times the directors visit each year. It’ll also allow the school to provide more than its 35-student theater program, which, to this point, has been the only form of art the school could afford.