Northwood Arts and Science Academy becomes a reality

Northwood elementary rain chamber of commerce arts

Using a variety of instruments, Northwood Elementary School second-graders perform "Rain" for Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce members during their March 7 breakfast.

BRIAN HUGHES / News Bulletin
Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 12:45 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Northwood Elementary School, with the Okaloosa County School Board's approval, soon will become Northwood Arts and Science Academy.

The academy, more than two years in the making, reflects the school district's focus on S.T.E.A.M. — Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. The former curriculum, S.T.E.M., added the arts component following evidence that arts education spurs success in the other areas, Northwood assistant principal Barry Blackburn said.

"First, we're looking at an arts integration programming — putting that art into the curriculum," he said. "When they do that, it typically raises test scores. That's what we're trying to look at first and build on that: build arts, drama, dance and music curricula, as well as advanced sciences."

Northwood Arts and Science Academy will accept students from other north county schools, school superintendent Mary Beth Jackson said, indicating that at least 80 spots could be available for students from outside Northwood's zone, including Baker and Laurel Hill School students.

Fostering a love of arts

When the former Richbourg Middle School moved out of the complex it shared with Northwood in 2008 and became Shoal River Middle School, it left behind refurbished visual and performing arts studios and science labs. Then teacher Glen Neese brought violins and guitars with him when he began a music program at Northwood.

Until his retirement last June, Neese's classes grew to include vocal and instrumental music and performance art basics. His classes annually presented school programs for holidays including Christmas, Martin Luther King Day and Memorial Day.

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