Arts Advantage

Why Arts Learning?

From the earliest times, humans have communicated their most profound thoughts and deepest feelings through music, dance, drama, and art. The discovery of the Lascaux Cave paintings in France, for instance, conveyed insights into daily life in the Paleolithic Age, as well as the hopes and aspirations of those early artists. Beyond the intrinsic role of the arts in the lives of our young people, recent studies increasingly point to connections between strong arts programs in schools, providing an enriched learning environment, and increased academic achievement by students. Research also suggests that Arts Education has a positive effect on young people’s interpersonal skills, confidence, motivation to succeed, and preparation for work. Young people who consistently participate in arts programs are:

• 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement;
• 3 times more likely to be elected to student council within their schools;
• 4 times more likely to participate in a math and science competitions;
• 3 times more likely to have near perfect school attendance.

Successful arts programs have demonstrated that access to and participation in the arts helps decrease and prevents negative behavior by at-risk youth.
For all these reasons, the Arts Advantage Program at Downsview was created. Through classroom experiences and co-curricular activities students receive an enriched learning experience in the arts. Arts learning ensures that this creative spirit lives on, instilling a love and understanding of the arts to each new generation: maintaining the continuum from early humans drawing images on cave walls to today’s youth drawing images on computer screens.

Students apply for their grade nine year. Students are still invited to apply and transfer from other schools in subsequent grades.

First Year:

In the first semester ALC101 serves as a foundation course and helps to provide an opportunity for a balanced arts experience for all students. Students will experience a sampling of Drama, Dance, Visual Arts and Instrumental Music.
Second semester Arts Advantage students will be allowed to Reach Forward and take a grade 10 arts course of their choosing.
Students are encouraged to participate in two extracurricular activities in the arts combined with monthly activities such as workshops and fieldtrips which are open to all students in the Arts Advantage program.

Second Year:

Students are required to take one arts course, but are encouraged to take two courses if their timetable allows for this. The Second year required Arts Advantage course is Tech Design, a project based course where students will develop computer skills through a problem solving and design assignments within their area of arts specialization. Students will continue to participate in two areas of extracurricular activities and monthly enrichment activities and social events.

Third Year:

Students continue their studies in the arts by taking two separate arts courses. Student leadership is fostered at this level, as students will take a more active role in program promotion, grade nine mentoring, and event planning. Arts Advantage students are required to take a leadership course selected from, Positive Peer Culture, Peer Tutoring, or Leadership. Possible course offering Drama in the Community.

Fourth Year:

Students complete a Masters Class course that allows students to take a fifth university level arts credit. The program will included an independent art project combined with job shadowing, work experience and careers research. Students are encouraged to participate in the dual credit program. This program allows them to take a full credit college level course along with their regular high school credits.