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Commitment of excellence

By Staff | Jun 10, 2015

A local school has received news it can carry into the summer and the next school year. Once again, the North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts has been named one of the elite arts schools in the country.

NFMAA has once again been designated a 2015-17 Exemplary School by Arts School Network, the nation’s largest professional membership organization of specialized arts schools, including some of the premier schools in the country.

The designation is for two years, and is the second time the school has been named an exemplary school. The first time was in 2012.

“It’s a great honor because they’re the premier network of arts schools. The only one I know about,” said Doug Santini, principal of the NFMAA. “They’re a good group and take part in many events throughout the nation and lobby Congress for arts funding.”

According to the ASN, the designation is meant to highlight a school’s commitment to excellence. The recommendation is presented to an ASN member school (of which there are more than 180, including Julliard and the Kennedy Center) in recognition of its efforts to strategically evaluate its purpose, operations, and educational programs.

This honor signifies that NFMAA has successfully completed a self-evaluation of its strengths, areas for improvement, consistency with school-wide or program purposes, aspirations, and future challenges.

In its evaluation of NFMAA, the ASN said its students have access to all of the schools’ arts programs through direct arts instruction or through infusion into the student’s academic curriculum.

Santini said the use of arts in all its curriculum makes for better students and better thinkers.

“The school is really immersed into the arts and we are well-rounded in the performing arts. They get it everywhere,” Santini said. “Art really increases math and reading scores and it gets creative thinking into it.”

Students are encouraged to commit to artistic and academic mastery and to participate in school and community artistic and academic endeavors.

As an exemplary school designee, NFMAA will be honored at the ASN annual conference in Seattle in October.

“This is what we do. We’re an arts school. The kids enjoy it, especially at the elementary and middle school levels,” Santini said. “We were excited and pleased to be recognized by the group.”

To learn more about the Arts Schools Network, visit their website at www.artsschoolsnetwork.org. To learn more about NFMAA, visit the school website at nfa.leeschools.net/.