New program emphasizes the arts at North Elementary

IRON MOUNTAIN – With the idea coming from a teacher, the administration and school board of education of the Iron Mountain Public Schools got behind a way to change the curriculum being offered at North Elementary School for the 2014-15 school year.

The school is being transformed into a School of the Arts this fall, with students in grades early kindergarten through the third grade being offered art, dance/movement, music, drama and physical education.

North Elementary Title I teacher Shannon Rosenthal approached school administrators about an idea to offer a full range of classes in the arts to the students.

After researching and planning, the decision was made to make this one-of-a-kind change this year at North Elementary School – something that no other school in the area has to offer.

“We are excited to announce this addition in the curriculum and philosophy at North Elementary. We believe offering creative and performing arts will enhance the social, emotional and academic growth of our students. The arts are a natural way for students to experience success,” said Donny Bianco, principal at North Elementary School of the Arts.

“We’re confident that integrating the arts into our already solid academic curriculum will lead to the development of well-rounded, confident, and motivated individuals,” said Bianco, who is entering his first year as principal of the two elementary schools.

Iron Mountain Schools Supt. Tom Jayne agrees and is equally excited about the change and opportunities it offers to the Iron Mountain elementary students.

“We’re committed to infusing arts into every aspect of learning,” Jayne said.

“While special programs are being eliminated across the nation due to budget cuts, Iron Mountain Public Schools recognizes the value of educating the whole child and are working to enhance our offerings for all students,” he said.

When the doors on North Elementary School open on Tuesday, Sept. 2, all students in grades early kindergarten through the third grade will participate in the arts program. Bianco and Jayne said that the goal is to ensure success at a personal level.

“North Elementary School of the Arts will provide opportunities for creative, personal growth for each child,” they said.

Students at North Elementary School of the Arts will be exposed to a variety of dance styles to develop physical coordination and skill and to encourage self-expression through movement. In the area of drama, students will be encouraged to listen attentively, follow specific directions and work as part of a team or as an individual.

“Ideas and self-expression will be encouraged to promote self-confidence and build self-esteem. Incorporating academics into the arts programs will ensure children can learn in a way that is natural, instinctive and fun,” Bianco added.

He noted that the arts programs do not take the place of private instruction, but will expose children to the arts at an introductory level.

“We would like each child to succeed, develop creatively, and instill in them an appreciation for the arts,” he said.

At the high school this year, Jayne added, there is a mew addition to the music curriculum – Guitar/Garage Band.

Band director and teacher Craig Recla will be teaching the full year elective in addition to jazz band and marching band.

Bianco added that enrollment is still open for students to sign up at Iron Mountain Public Schools with classes starting on Sept. 2.

North Elementary School of the Arts will be hosting an open house on Thursday, Aug. 28.

The afternoon kicks off with a Chrysler test drive fund-raiser at 3:30 p.m. A donation will be made by Chrysler of $10 to the school for each test drive.

Students and parents will be addressed in the gym for the open house at 5 p.m. with the test drive fund-raiser concluding at 6:30 p.m.

Linda Lobeck’s e-mail address is