Three-way-partnership New World School of the Arts nears quarter of a century
By Ashley D. Torres
The New World School of the Arts, which has survived budget cuts and continues to offer a unique experience for gifted students, is preparing to celebrate 25 years of arts education.
The Florida Legislature created the school in 1984 as a successor to the Performing and Visual Arts Center (PAVAC), a program under which teachers bused academically and artistically successful high school students to Miami-Dade Community College for afternoon arts training.
The school goal, said Jeffrey Hodgson, New World's interim provost, is to provide outstanding arts training for the entire state, which is represented by the 92% of students who are Florida residents.
New World opened its high school in 1987 followed by its college in 1988 and features eight-year arts programs in dance, music, theater and visual arts.
Three public partners offer financial support: Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the University of Florida and Miami Dade College, which acts as the school's fiscal agent, provides its facility on the college's Wolfson Campus and gives 48% of funding.
Each partner also has three institutional representatives and three community members on New World's 22-member executive board.
One challenge during the difficult economic times has been proposed cuts in state funding under the K-12 committee, which has required New World representatives, Mr. Hodgson said, to explain before the legislature the importance to the entire state of an affordable and professional arts-training high school and college based in Miami.
"We're an important part of the picture of the State of Florida educational system," he said.
Budget cuts to the school's public-institution partners could trickle down. The three partners, Mr. Hodgson said, have tried to shelter New World from these cuts as much as possible but the school has still felt cutbacks that resulted in a hiring freeze.
Nonetheless, the institution has the advantage of providing high-level arts training through collaboration and combining resources, Mr. Hodgson added, that the partner institutions would not be able to provide on their own.
New World is currently preparing for a 2011-2012 school year to mark its 25th anniversary of arts education. The school is to plan a reunion bringing together all its high school and college alumni, which includes NCIS actress Cote de Pablo, Co-Executive Producer of The Amityville Horror Randall Emmett and Spanish-language actor and singer Jencarlos Canela. In addition, the school looks to host an alumni version of its Rising Stars performing arts showcase.
New World high school students, who attend as part of the county's public magnet school program, are accepted based on their talent and audition. During these years, students acquire 24 college-arts credits through Miami Dade College and study with public school instructors and college faculty.
Students enrolled in New World's college register for the first two years through Miami Dade College, paying its tuition, and the last two through the University of Florida, paying its tuition.
"Basically," Mr. Hodgson said, "our juniors and seniors are Gators in downtown Miami" and graduate with University of Florida diplomas.
New World's original state university partner, which changed in 1995, was Florida International University.
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