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Oxford Schools, OU partner to create arts conservatory

December 12, 2012 - Set for the fall of 2013, Oxford Community Schools and Oakland University are partnering together to create the Oxford Arts Conservatory.

Whether it is instrumental music, vocal music, theatre, visual arts, digital arts, classical dance or graphic/print art, the Arts Conservatory is for students who plan on pursuing the arts as a vocation and not just a passion, according to Oxford Superintendent Dr. William Skilling.

"That's what the arts conservatory is all about, allowing kids in the arts to take it to the next level in order to prepare them to compete for the very best conservatories of visual arts and fine arts schools in the United States upon graduation," he said. "That's why we're doing this."

The program is being set up in a way that will allow neighboring students to participate in the conservatory as well as maintaining their home school identity for all other classes.

"It also opens up opportunities for those students in our online virtual program," Skilling said. "In many cases these are what I call home school kids who have chosen to take advantage of our virtual academy who want an opportunity to participate in a group setting with kids who share their passion in the arts."

Currently students for OVA (Oxford Virtual Academy) participate in athletic programs, band, choir, art and world language classes, as well as the engineering program.

The Arts Conservatory gives opportunities to kids who are highly motivated and skilled in the arts to better achieve their potential, but the expectations will be very high, Skilling said.

"These kids will not only be involved in day time instruction, but off school time with private instructors," he said. "As part of the program they will have senior recitals or senior art expeditions depending on the art form they are involved in."

In the partnership with OU, Skilling said some of the instructors will come to Oxford and advise on curriculum, instruction, equipment and things needed to create an articulation plan with OU. The conservatory will allow students to earn college credits that will transfer to OU or another university.

"Being able to partner with Oakland University is absolutely essential to have this conservatory be successful," he said. "We need the expertise and support of a University and the instructors you have at a university in order to have a successful program that will be challenging for all students."

"We have added to our arts program and expanded our arts program exponentially and more than tripled them," noted Skilling. "With each program whether we're talking athletics, academics or the arts we wanted to create all levels of excellence."

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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