1) What is the Cleveland High School for the Digital Arts?
The Cleveland High School for the Digital Arts is a first of its kind educational environment where students learn standards and competencies through projects organized around the digital arts in an entrepreneurial atmosphere of trust, innovation, creativity, and dynamic engagement.
2) Where is CHSDA located?
CHSDA is located at 1440 Lakeside Avenue, Cleveland, OH, 44114, just across from Channel 3 and close to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Science Center, and the CSU downtown campus. It’s the building with a large planetarium “sphere’ out front. We will be on the second floor in newly renovated spaces.
3) What is the scheduled school day for CHSDA?
The school day at CHSDA goes from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM Monday, Wednesday, Friday and 9:00 AM to 4:45 PM on Tuesday and Thursday. Studies have shown that a later start is more in sync with the sleep rhythms of your average teenager, and that a longer school day helps students to succeed.
4) What are the ‘digital arts’?
The digital arts we will be studying at CHSDA include Game Design, Recording Arts, Film Production, and Graphic Design. Students will begin their high school careers exploring all three digital arts, and will eventually specialize in one area over the others.
5) How will studying the digital arts help me (or my child) to succeed in college and career?
The digital arts offer a rich space for project-based learning and the development of “21st Century Skills” such as collaboration, critical thinking, communication, and creativity. Our entrepreneurial environment prepares students for the work places they are likely to encounter, either in the digital arts world or in more traditional professions. The time management skills learned by CHSDA students will allow them a level of organization and executive skills not typically seen. For those interested in going directly in the digital arts, certifications will help to open the door to jobs and internships. For those wanting to be involved with the digital arts world at a higher level, the school will prepare them to enter strong digital arts programs that often directly place students in top careers in the field. And for those who just like the digital arts but plan to do other things, the experiences and competencies mastered by our students will prepare them to succeed in the college of their choice and to become entrepreneurs, industry leaders, educators, and more.
6) What is the curriculum of CHSDA?
At CHSDA we seek to create a personalized and challenging environment that also builds collaborative and interpersonal skills. Much like a digital arts creation, our work will occur in stages from development to exhibition and reflection. Students must demonstrate mastery in all the standards and skills required of a Ohio high school student, plus many more. Students will complete tasks and activities assigned by the teacher or as part of their project that allow them to demonstrate their mastery of these standards and skills.
7) Will there be athletics or other competitive activities at CHSDA?
With student interest, we have options to participate in an ‘extramural’ sports league. Because of the nature of our schedule, it is not possible for students to participate with their home schools. We do hope to participate in some academic competitive activities such as Olympics of the Mind or Science Olympiad. All such activities are based on student interest, so we will look to our students to determine the kinds of activities to make available.
8) What is project-based learning?
Project-based learning is students working collaboratively to solve authentic problems or challenges. Students inquire into the problem at hand, learn necessary content or skills, develop an answer or solution, create products, and ‘publish’ their work to the world via a presentation. Project-based learning does not refer to making a diorama or a poster, as you might have experienced in school previously, but to projects being fully integrated into, and being the focus of, the student’s learning. It is the ‘main course’ and not the ‘dessert’.
9) What is learning mastery? How will my grades be determined?
Learning mastery is a system for evaluating student progress that focuses on the student’s mastery of required skills and standards. It is assumed that students move from having less knowledge or skill to having more knowledge or skill, and that student are not ‘marked down’ for actively engaging a topic or skill that is challenging for them. Under learning mastery, students do not advance in their studies until they have demonstrated mastery, and will need to continue working and striving if they are not quite to that level. Unlike traditional systems that give grades based on time spent and work completed, learning mastery moves students faster through skills and competencies that they know, so that they can spend more time on information that is new to them.
10) What if I don’t necessarily plan to go into the digital arts professionally?
CHSDA prepares students for college and careers by building collaboration, problem solving, and communication skills, as well as mastery of important content. Our goal is to prepare students for the digital world of tomorrow, regardless of how they approach that world professionally and personally.
11) What kinds of students are attending CHSDA?
CHSDA students come from all over Cleveland. We will begin this first year with only 9th graders, and grow by a grade level each year until our first graduation in 2018. We do not select students through testing or other filtering, instead believing that this learning environment will be sought out by those who know they will find success here. This includes special education students, students that may have struggled elsewhere, students that may have excelled elsewhere, or students have not felt challenged or engaged by school up until now.
12) What is a year-round school?
CHSDA is one of a number of CMSD schools which will operate on a year-round schedule. This means roughly that students will participate in 10 week long semesters, with three week long breaks between them, throughout the course of the year. They will have longer Fall and Spring breaks than are typical, with time for rest and recharge between each semester. Because there is no long summer break, students are less likely to forget important elements or ideas.