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Chicago Public High School for the Arts on target to open in 2009

July 17, 2008 — Chicago is the only city
of its size not to have a public high school that concentrates on the
arts, according to
Jim Mabie, chairman of the Chicago High School for the Arts (CHSA)  board, citing similar schools in Los Angeles, Orange County,
Boston, Miami, Dallas, Houston and Denver.  “New York has three or
four,” he adds. The volunteer CHSA board has been working to develop the school for two years.

The new high school will offer a four-year college preparatory academic curriculum combined with
professional instruction in dance, drama, music and visual arts.  The school
will open with an initial class of 150 freshmen.  By 2012, enrollment is
expected to reach its full capacity of 600 students.
CHSA, a
contract school under the auspices of Chicago Public School system, has the
support of more than 50 Chicago arts organizations committed to providing
exceptional experiences for students working toward careers in the arts.  Plans
call for locating the school near public transportation, with several locations
under consideration.

  CHSA
moved a step closer to a proposed September
2009 opening with the hiring of an executive director, 
José
Ochoa, 34, an arts educator and administrator. Ochoa served as the former Superintendent of
Cultural Arts for the Metro Parks and Recreational Department in Nashville,
Tenn.
In his former position,
Ochoa supervised the dance, music, theater and visual arts departments for
Nashville’s Metro Parks, creating a number of new programs directed to
both children and adults. 

  He previously taught
English as well as music, dance and theater in both traditional schools and
arts programs in his native Texas.  He also has had an extensive career in the
performing arts as a professional musician, actor, dancer and choreographer.

“We
were extremely fortunate to find someone with professional experience in
several art forms plus arts administration and an academic background,”
says Jim Mabie, chairman of the CHSA board.  “The fact that Jose Ochoa
began as a self-taught musician gives him exceptional insight into the
difficulties faced by talented students who are not exposed to professional
training early in life.”

Applications
for the class of 2013 will be taken in December of 2008.  Admissions will be
based on an audition (or portfolio review), potential ability and academic
record.

The CHSA
mission is to provide students from diverse backgrounds with exceptional
preparation in the fine or performing arts while providing a comprehensive
college preparatory curriculum.  For additional information: 312-924-3495 or
www.chiarts.org.



Categories:
Citywide Public Schools & Education

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