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Westinghouse Arts Academy Charter School

About Us

Westinghouse Arts Academy Charter School is a creative and performing arts public charter school for grades 9 through 12. A variety of classes will be offered in these areas:  Dance, Digital Arts, Literary Arts, Music, Studio Arts and Theatre in addition to all required academic courses. A typical student day will combine academic work with intensive study in one or more areas of the arts. Our personalized approach will allow students to focus on one area or participate in cross-disciplinary study based on their goals and interests.

Studio Arts

Understand the techniques of composition and design to create visual arts in painting, drawing and photography. Study the works of great visual artists and develop your own artistic style.

Digital Arts

Learn how to apply artistic techniques through technology. Study the principles of design to create graphic design and motion graphics. Digital Arts also encompasses audio and video production. Compose and create projects while getting hands-on experience.

Literary Arts

Apply your writing talents to a variety of styles of composition including creative writing, journalism and script writing. Study outstanding writers and their styles and immerse yourself in writing.

Dance

Study the technique of various styles of dance including ballet, modern, jazz, and tap while learning about dance history, appreciation and composition.

Music

Instrumental and vocal musicians alike will study technique, musicianship and history while enjoying the opportunity to participate in a variety of ensembles and explore their own musical “voice”.

Theatre

Explore the art of theatre through the study of acting, directing, musical theatre and technical theatre. Gain foundational skills and an understanding of history and analysis while experiencing opportunities for creative expression.

All students who wish to attend will be evaluated based on their interest and aptitude for the arts. Students will be interviewed and present an audition or portfolio of work. The student evaluation will be assessed using a rubric and the overall score will be the basis for enrollment selection.  Students do not need to have previous arts training or be accomplished in their area of arts already to score well on the rubric – preparation and presentation skills are important as well. For more information, see the Enrollment Process section below.

STATUS

Westinghouse Arts Academy charter was approved by the East Allegheny School District Board of Directors on Monday, February 20, 2017.

THE WESTINGHOUSE ARTS
Mission Statement

Westinghouse Arts Academy is dedicated to providing a comprehensive arts program for high school students to further develop their artistic skills and achieve higher academic goals through the arts. Westinghouse Arts Academy will also encourage the importance of individuality, excellence, self- responsibility, as well as problem solving, divergent and autonomous thinking. It is the intention of Westinghouse Arts Academy to achieve these goals through an environment that accommodates diverse interests within a set of uniform standards that allows each student to pursue their own objectives yet work together to compete on a larger world stage.

THE WESTINGHOUSE ARTS
Student

The Westinghouse Arts Academy student may be thinking about the arts as a career, simply exploring their talents further or just developing a deeper appreciation for the arts. Students who attend are excited about new opportunities and studying with others who love the arts. As a Westinghouse Arts Academy student, they know that they must succeed in their academic goals in order to continue in their arts classes. A blended learning environment utilizing computer-based and project-based learning will maximize time for arts studies while providing personalized learning and the tools for academic success. Whether performing on stage, taking photographs for a studio show or writing a short story, Westinghouse Arts Academy students are dedicated to devoting the time to create and perform in the arts.

THE WESTINGHOUSE ARTS
Timeline

After each application is reviewed, potential students and their families will be invited to attend an Informational Meeting for more information. Parents and students are strongly encouraged to attend one of these Informational Meetings. Auditions and evaluations will be scheduled beginning in April and a rolling acceptance process will begin until classes are full. Westinghouse Arts Academy plans to open in the Fall of 2017.

Enrollment Process

In addition to assessing your aptitude for the arts, this process also judges your ability to follow instructions, to present yourself well and to describe your interest in the arts. Think of it as your first job interview! We want to get to know you and give you a chance to show us what you do.

Each area of the arts requires different preparation for the audition or evaluation.  Please review this information carefully. If you are interested in studying in multiple arts areas, you will need to complete the audition/evaluation for each area unless otherwise indicated.

Enrollment evaluations are conducted for the following: dance, literary arts, instrumental music, vocal music, digital arts, studio arts, technical theatre, theatre, musical theatre.

Before your enrollment evaluation is scheduled, you will receive additional information and tips on how to best prepare, so don’t be intimidated by these guidelines.

Literary Arts

Prepare one collection of your best works. You can submit your work as a link to an online portfolio, a hard copy in a folder or binder, or on a thumb drive that you will leave with your evaluators. Your portfolio should include at least one collection from the following list:

  • Five original poems
  • Two short stories, essays or other examples of prose
  • One excerpt from a longer work of fiction (at least 10-12 pages)
  • One short story and three original poems

Vocal Music

You will be expected to perform a 3-5 minute solo. You will also have a short interview with your evaluators.  Please note:

  • An accompanist will be provided, if needed. When you schedule your evaluation, please inform us that you will need an accompanist
  • No recorded accompaniment will be accepted

Instrumental Music

You will be expected to perform on your instrument of choice (you must bring your own).  You will also have a short interview with your evaluators.  Prepare to do the following:

  • Demonstrate 2 major scales
  • Perform a solo or a work 3-5 minutes in length

Digital Arts

Prepare a collection of your best works in a digital format (thumb drive, cd, dvd) that you will leave with your evaluators or provide a link to an online portfolio. Evaluations won’t be completed without a portfolio submission.  You will also have a short interview with your evaluators. Portfolios should include at least two selections from the following list, in any combination:

  • 3 to 5 minutes of a video on which you worked as a camera operator or editor
  • 3 to 5 minutes of an audio file on which you worked in a technical capacity-not as a musician
  • 6 to 10 photographs
  • 6 to 10 graphic designs/elements such as logos, posters, designs
  • A 150 to 200 word critique about a movie or television show.  Write about a specific technical element of the piece.  For example, you could select the lighting, direction, editing or audio engineering.  This critique should also cover the concepts and styles of the movie or show and why you selected this example. Any work you review must be PG or G rated.  

Studio Arts

Prepare a collection of your best works. A digital format (thumb drive, cd, dvd, or link to an online portfolio) that you will leave with your evaluators is required; however if you want to bring in a work sample of something large because it presents better that way, like a sculpture or large sketchbook, that is permitted. Whatever you bring in should also be represented by a photograph in your digital portfolio. Evaluations won’t be completed without a portfolio submission.  You will also have a short interview with your evaluators. Portfolios should include at least two selections from the following list, in any combination:

  • 6 to 10 photographs
  • 6 to 10 graphic designs/elements (logos, posters, designs)
  • 8 to 10 sketches
  • 2 to 3 paintings
  • 2 to 3 other works, like sculpture or mixed media

Dance

You will be scheduled to attend a two hour dance class where you will learn a combination. At the end of the class, you will perform it for your evaluation. You will also have a short interview with your evaluators. How to prepare:

  • Bring any forms of dance shoes you can – ballet, jazz, tap, pointe, etc.
  • Wear proper dance clothes if you have them –  females wear black leotard, pink tights, hair in tight bun. Males wear jazz pants or tights and a white t-shirt. No jewelry.
  • If you do not have dance clothes, shoes, etc. wear sneakers and clothes that you can move in easily.

Theatre

You will be expected to perform a monologue.  You will also have a short interview with your evaluators.  Prepare a monologue as follows:

  • Length should be one minute.
  • Style can be comedy or drama.
  • Selection must be from a play (not from a movie or a book of monologues).
  • The character should be age-appropriate.

Technical Theatre

You will be expected to present evidence of participation in technical theatre either at your school or a local theatre. You will also have a short interview with your evaluators, so prepared to discuss why you are interested in studying technical theatre. Please bring the following:

  • Any examples of your work in technical theatre (this may be programs, work samples, letters from supervisors, photographs)
  • A portfolio of your work if you have one

Musical Theatre

You will be expected to perform a monologue, give a vocal performance, and be evaluated in dance. You will also have a short interview with your evaluators.  Prepare as follows:

  • Prepare a one minute monologue as directed in the Theatre evaluation notes.
  • Prepare for the dance evaluation as directed in the Dance evaluation notes.
  • Select 32 bars of a Broadway standard song for your vocal evaluation.  
  • Please bring sheet music to your evaluation.  No recorded accompaniment will be accepted.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to attend?

Westinghouse Arts Academy Charter School is a fully authorized, Pennsylvania public school so there is no tuition cost to any student for attending. Any student in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania can apply.

Where is Westinghouse Arts Academy located?

It will be located in the newly renovated, historic, art deco former Westinghouse Memorial High School in Wilmerding.

Who decides if I can attend?

A team of educators and artists in each area of interest will evaluate the applicant’s audition or portfolio and conduct entrance interviews. Admission is granted based on the rubric score from that evaluation.

How much time will I have for my arts classes?

Westinghouse Arts Academy will use a blended learning approach so that students can devote at least half of their school day to their arts classes.

How do I get to Westinghouse Arts Academy?

Students from school districts less than 10 miles distance from Westinghouse Arts Academy are legally required to provide transportation. If you live further away, you will have to arrange your own transportation.

Can I still play sports?

Westinghouse Arts Academy is committed to supporting well-rounded students and plans to offer individual athletics, such as golf, tennis or bowling.  For team sports like football or basketball, PA State law requires that your home school district permit you to play there (if you make the team!)

What is a charter school?

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania created charter schools to provide for school choice outside of the typical public school structure. Local school boards as well as the Pennsylvania Department of Education can grant charters. Charter schools typically have more flexibility and responsibility to offer different programs and teaching methods. However, students in charter schools do take the Keystone Exams and PSSAs required of other public schools students to help assess student progress.

Who are the teachers?

Core academics and many arts courses will be taught by PA certified teachers. In addition, teaching artists will bring their expertise and career experience to teach some arts classes.

How can I enroll?

Complete our application form here on the website!

What if enrollment is full?

A waiting list will be kept for all students who are not admitted. Your place on the waiting list is determined by your rubric score. When spaces become available, the next student on the waiting list will be offered enrollment. This process will continue throughout the school year if spaces become available.

How long is the school year?

Westinghouse Arts Academy will follow the East Allegheny School District calendar, although the start and end times for students will be coordinated with the busing schedules.

What about rehearsals and evening events?

Students and their families are responsible for their own transportation to and from after school events.

Will there be clubs?

Each arts area has an honors group and Westinghouse Arts Academy will be members of those organizations as well as the National Honor Society. Other clubs will be considered based on student interest.

Application

Are you interested in attending Westinghouse Arts Academy? Fill out our application to let us know. This form will serve as your application for enrollment. More information about what you will need to prepare for your evaluation is available in the Enrollment Process section. All families are strongly encouraged to attend one of our Informational Meetings. We’ll email you with a list of dates to chose from to attend.