May 6, 2013 Natomas Charter Performing & Fine Arts (Sacramento, CA), Academy Renaissance Arts Academy (Los Angeles, CA), Pioneer Middle (Hanford, CA), and Hillcrest Middle (Sebastopol) were recognized as "Exemplary Schools" for "their successful and innovative efforts to promote the arts," according to the California Department of Education (CDE).
"If we want our students to succeed inside and outside the classroom, they need an education that takes the 'whole child' into account," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.
Arts and other specialty programs help set charters apart from traditional schools. "Charter schools have been known for their innovative approaches that stretch beyond books in ways that create a passion for learning," said Jed Wallace, President and Chief Executive Officer of the California Charter Schools Association. "These schools are doing incredible work with students. In addition to the honor of "Distinguished Schools," the State Department of Education has recognized schools that truly take education to another level. Clearly their work in cultivating young artists helps the children thrive."
According to the CDE, "Schools selected for the Exemplary Arts distinction have demonstrated school and community support for standards-based arts programs across multiple disciplines. These programs have made a significant impact on school culture and academic success. This award is directly related to the California Department of Education's involvement in CREATE CA, a statewide coalition of agencies and organizations working to further arts education in California."