Forest Heights is an academic magnet school in Baton Rouge with a focus on integrating the performing arts into the curriculum. Classroom teachers collaborate weekly with the teachers from the arts department to help teach the skills students are focusing on in the classrooms. This combination of joining the arts department with classroom instruction has proven to be very successful for our school.
In addition to core subject instruction, each week students receive at least five hours of arts instruction based on national and state standards taught by certified professional teaching artists in state-of-the-art studio classrooms.
The arts curriculum at Forest Heights Academy of Excellence is an integral part of the core curriculum with instruction based on National, State, and Parish Curriculum Standards for dance, vocal and instrumental music, theatre, and visual art. Each art has a separate curriculum that helps students develop basic knowledge and skills that connect to the arts and other subject areas such as language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. This inclusion and integration promotes creative thinking, different ways to make meaning reflect and influence culture, and enriches students’ ability to make connections to their lives and future as an active participant in society.
The Visual Arts curriculum is exploratory and encourages students to create original art, apply creative problem solving skills as they produce individual and group projects, and develop a lifelong commitment to art. Students present their work in sharing sessions, help set-up displays, hold critiques in art history and museum study, and participate in costume and set design for musical and dramatic presentations.
The Dramatic Arts curriculum provides students hands-on training in each of the following: theatre history, play reading, playwriting, elements of play production, set design and blocking, theatrical make-up, stage lighting, sound and vocal technique, critical analysis, evaluation of the aesthetic. Because theatre primarily uses language, students develop poise, ease, and versatility through creative, critical, and communicative activities like reader’s theater, creative dramatics, improvisation, pantomime, storytelling and acting out stories. Students showcase their work in a fully equipped state of the art theater and a beautiful new arts facility. Our students have the opportunity to audition for professional performances and perform before other students their age across the parish.
The Dance curriculum offers intensive instruction in ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, hip hop and musical theater technique in a spacious new studio as well as modern and creative dance forming the foundation of the choreography set for the performances. Through the dance curriculum students learn how to use their bodies as a nonverbal form of communication as a physical discipline and a performing art. Students will receive the opportunity to view live dance performances both in and out of school. Our students are encouraged to audition for dance opportunities in the Baton Rouge area. We have had several students each year that perform in the Baton Rouge Ballet Theater’s Nutcracker and the Moscow Ballet’s Russian Nutcracker.
The Instrumental Music curriculum offers beginner and intermediate instruction in orchestral strings (violin, viola, cello, and double bass) and piano keyboard for students in 2nd through 5th grades. Band (flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, trombone, and drums) is offered for students in 4th and 5th grades. Basic and intermediate playing techniques are taught in all programs with an emphasis on music theory and music reading. Student in the instrumental music program are taught basic musicianship, teamwork, performance techniques, and rehearsal/practice skills in an instrumental music classroom.
The Vocal Music curriculum is a comprehensive approach to music with instrumental and vocal components. Using percussion instruments, recorders, keyboards, and voice, students learn how to listen, analyze, create, perform, and respond to different types of music – heritage, folk ethnic, and the classics. Through the state adopted music series, students can explore music from different cultures, discuss famous composers and their works, and learn the universal language of music. Honor Choir is offered for interested students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. Students also have the opportunity to audition for parish children’s choirs with several being chosen each year.
Congratulations to Forest Heights and Principal LaDarrion Jackson for achieving excellence in Teach MAM!