After talking with Michael Berg, a founding board member of the Columbia County School for the Arts (CCSFTA) in Evans, GA, we were excited to learn about the creative mission of this aspiring charter school. Poised to be the first charter in its county, Berg and his colleagues aim to provide an arts-based curriculum for students grades K-12. Many local community members have expressed their support and Berg believes that their grassroots movement is gaining momentum.
The decision to establish the school with a focus on the arts was made based on an expressed need from parents and educators who felt the county would benefit from a school that incorporated arts into its curriculum. The Columbia County School for the Arts will incorporate music, drama, dance, visual arts and foreign languages into a regular core curriculum of math, science, language and social studies to allow students to have a more creative and well-rounded education. Berg believes strongly that “creativity fosters literacy” and effective schools need to consider the diversity of students’ learning styles when developing models of education.
As a special education teacher for the past 22 years, Berg has had firsthand experience with the many ways that the arts can be used to benefit children and increase their academic achievement. His passion for charter schools developed after he had the realization that traditional public schools often don’t cater to different types of learners and can discourage students from being excited about their education.
Like many charter educators across the country, CCSFTA founding members have a unique vision for how best to serve potential students, and the culmination of many sources of inspiration and frustration were what led them to this endeavor. Over the past few years, Berg grew frustrated with the lack of praise that he saw for