Discover Your Passion at the NVAA Information Night

If your child is passionate about the arts and you’re searching for schools that specialize in art programs, you’ll want to attend the North Valley Arts Academies (NVAA) Information Night on Wednesday, April 1, at 6:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at Shadow Mountain High School (get directions to Shadow Mountain). 

During the event, prospective students will learn about the history, mission, and vision for the NVAA program at all three school sites – Desert Cove Elementary, Shea Middle, and Shadow Mountain High. NVAA teachers will share details about the program as a whole, as well as the four different disciplines – Dance, Music Technology, Theater, and Visual Arts, partnerships with community arts organizations, and opportunities for students at each level of the program. You will have the opportunity to tour the Shadow Mountain campus.

NVAA Teaching Philosophy

Teresa Minarsich, Ph.D., NVAA Theater teacher, explains, “Our NVAA faculty are highly trained, working artists who believe an education in the arts not only provides students the opportunity to become successful artists in the future if that is their goal, but that an arts education also strengthens students' ability to think outside the box, trust in their creativity, develop critical thinking skills, hone their speaking and presentation skills, gain confidence and empathy, learn how to fail and keep persevering, and become leaders.”

The NVAA program is unique in that the faculty have built the curriculum and courses so that students can enter the program at a variety of levels and succeed. In all four disciplines – Dance, Music Technology, Theater, and Visual Arts, students are given the opportunity to take artistic risks while being supported by faculty. 

Classes are structured so that highly motivated students have opportunities to challenge themselves with advanced projects independently or with like-minded students. Assignments and projects are designed with the flexibility to allow students to explore their passions and interests while still learning the necessary skills to master their art form. A shared focus of all NVAA faculty is to develop student leaders, and older students are frequently given leadership opportunities and serve as mentors to younger students through multi-grade and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Benefits for Students

“Students who are part of the NVAA program get to take intensive, advanced arts classes that are not typically offered at elementary, middle, and high schools. Throughout their time in the program, students will experience field trips, work with visiting artists, and be exposed to opportunities with our arts organization partners, which are not available to students at other schools. Students have all the benefits of a specialized arts school such as smaller, advanced classes, unique arts opportunities, and excellent faculty all while still experiencing what public schools have to offer, including honors programs, Advanced Placement classes, Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, and full athletic programs. In their senior year, students will create a capstone project, intern with an arts organization, and have the opportunity to graduate with both NVAA honors and the Arizona State Arts Proficiency diploma seal,” said Dr. Minarsich.

Application Process

No matter what an individual’s experience is, whether it’s a novice, intermediate, or advanced, students should apply to an NVAA discipline if they have a passion for the arts. While certain high school classes have prerequisites, there is a class at each level for all disciplines. When approving applications, the most important consideration is that the student has a drive and passion to learn.

Choosing One Discipline

For many multi-talented students, it may be hard to decide on just one of the four disciplines that the NVAA program has to offer.

“We encourage students in fifth-eighth grades to explore all their interests. It’s not uncommon for students who have remained in the NVAA program to switch disciplines as they enter a new grade level. As faculty, we do collaborate between the disciplines as much as possible to allow interdisciplinary art to be created. At the high school level, there is some flexibility for students to take classes in multiple disciplines and be involved in extracurricular activities that will allow them to explore all their talents,” explained Dr. Minarsich.

About the NVAA Program

Whether your child is passionate about dance, theater, creative musicianship and music technology or visual arts, PVSchools offers an outlet for your child to express his or her creative passions, with a seamless continuation from elementary school through high school.

If you cannot attend the NVAA Information Night event, families can also contact the administration of Desert Cove Elementary, Shea Middle, or Shadow Mountain High to schedule a tour of the campus and learn about the program.

Learn More About the NVAA Program