Welcome to Arts at Riverside Drive Charter!


Since becoming a charter school, our arts program has been blossoming, thanks to the creative energy and support of our parents and teachers.


Why are the arts so important?


There are so many reasons, it’s hard to know where to start, but here are a few key points:


Studies have shown a direct correlation to higher academic achievement and early exposure to the arts, click here to learn more.   All arts programs allow students to explore and discover connections to the world, each other and even their own minds. Students gifted in an art form develop the confidence to excel and often, students who struggle academically learn to rewire their brains. Find out why here.


Having a creative outlet can help keep kids focused for the rest of the day.


Also, students from Riverside Drive may wish to audition for the performing arts or music academy programs at Milliken Middle School. Expanding our arts programs, expands their chance to prepare for more advanced studies.


Oh, and did we mention, it’s fun?


If you are new to the school – here is what Riverside Drive has to offer:


We have a thriving Theater Arts Program, taught by Stephanie Lesh. This program teaches to the State Standards for Theater Arts for grades K-5. Stephanie has worked in conjunction with each classroom teacher to adapt the curriculum to include current studies in language arts. Each child performs in the drama room for classmates and parents throughout the year. This year, one classroom from each grade level will be selected to perform in the International Festival and Arts Fair in the spring. Stephanie’s Theater Arts program is funded through PFRD, and is not subject to the kinds of fluctuations that come with district-sponsored programs.


Our Visual Arts Program is a combination of instruction from the district-assigned art teacher and a core group of volunteer parents who teach lessons from the “Master’s” series for teachers who want additional art instruction in the classroom. The number of weeks of instruction by the district-assigned teacher varies, according to our current enrollment and the district’s budget for the arts in any given year.   Parent volunteers teach the supplemental classes or assist in setting up and cleaning up as needed. As our teachers’ days are jam packed, the parent-volunteer based program adds valuable art instruction to their day while meeting grade-level standards.


Our Music Program has expanded! Currently, we have a district-assigned vocal music teacher who comes to the school once a week to teach Kindergarten and 1st grade classes. She also teaches a combined class of 4th and 5th grade students in choir. Students interested in choir, audition at the beginning of the year. While everyone is taught songs to sing in the Winter Concert, there has not been regular musical instruction offered to 2nd and 3rd grade students, due to the limited number of hours provided by the district. The Governance Council approved in Spring 2014 funding for a Suzuki Violin program that began in March 2014 for Kindergarten, and expanded to the first grade in October 2014. With the establishment of this program, it allows the district-assigned teacher to work with 2nd and 3rd grade classes and continue with choir. If there is interest, we will seek to extend the Suzuki music teacher’s presence to include upper-level instruction by audition/interest. The Suzuki music classes also require parent volunteers to assist, as the classes are divided into two groups and rotate between musical exercises both on and off the violin. With major parent involvement it ensures that there is consistent musical instruction across all grade levels, which can be maintained even with limited district funding.


After-School, there is a Drama Club, which is run by Stephanie Lesh (the Theater Arts teacher) and Caryn Burkhart (currently a 2nd/3rd grade teacher). This is not part of the school’s Theater Arts curriculum, but an after-school club which produces one musical a year. Admittance is by audition and there is a fee to help cover production costs. Both teachers volunteer countless hours to the production and are supported by the efforts of parent and student volunteers.