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School for the Creative and
Performing Arts

The School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) is a magnet school in Pittsburgh that serves students in grades 6-12. To enroll, students must submit portfolios or audition in a selective-admissions process. In 2009, the school merged with Rogers Performing Arts Middle School to form the new CAPA, which was named a National Blue Ribbon School the same year. CAPA students have significantly outperformed their peers from across the district on the state assessment for several years.

The current facility opened in the 2003-04 academic year and was built at a cost of more than $35 million. The school boasts a 400-seat auditorium, an arts-focused library with more than 7,000 titles and 11 arts-related journal subscriptions, a black box theater, a television studio, an art gallery, a media arts center, a fitness center, computer labs and special rehearsal spaces. The school’s range of artistic disciplines include dance, vocal music, instrumental music, literary arts, theater and visual arts.

Students spend an extra hour at school each day to participate in the arts. Kate Daher, a social studies teacher, says students must keep their grades up to remain in the program. “It’s not acceptable for them to have behavioral issues or low academic [achievement],” she says. Given the structure of the program and teachers’ high expectations, students take their artistic passions and their academic work seriously. For them “that extra hour a day just creates a discipline both in the classroom and an internal discipline,” she says.

CAPA offers a comprehensive range of core academic courses, including advanced and honors courses through Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Center for Advanced Studies (CAS) and the Pittsburgh Scholars Program (PSP). The CAS program is for talented and gifted students. It incorporates accelerated core material into instruction, offers students a specialized curriculum design, and allows them to pursue independent research and engage in off-campus experiences. The program also provides students with resources and supports, such as a Gifted Individual Education Plan. Each CAS student must complete an independent long-term project. Similarly, the prestigious PSP program offers qualified students an in-depth study of core academic disciplines over a four-year period.

Local media outlets often feature CAPA in various stories. Recently, a CAPA student was one of three Pittsburgh students to have a winning picture in the International Heritage Photographic Experience. Winning students were awarded a trip to the Palace of Europe in Strasbourg, France, for the awards ceremony. Additionally, the White House selected CAPA as a featured venue during the 2009 G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, where first lady Michelle Obama visited with a number of world leaders.


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