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The magnet school will be housed in The Judith Enyeart Reynolds School of the Performing Arts, located in the former McDaniel School building.
SBJ file photo
The magnet school will be housed in The Judith Enyeart Reynolds School of the Performing Arts, located in the former McDaniel School building.

SPS partners with theater on new magnet school

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Springfield Public Schools is partnering with Springfield Little Theatre on a new arts-centered magnet school.

Called the Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, the school is slated to open in August 2020. It will be located in SLT’s Judith Enyeart Reynolds School of the Performing Arts, the former McDaniel School building at 237 S. Florence Ave., according to a news release.

The SPS Board of Education yesterday voted unanimously to approve the magnet school for 50 fifth-grade students. A lottery application process is slated to be announced soon for the school that will have two classrooms, a faculty workroom, shared use of the building’s theater and auditorium, and studios for performance and media production. Officials say dance and fine arts will be part of the curriculum.

"Each year, we hear from parents and students regarding the popularity of our SPS choice programs," SPS Superintendent John Jungmann said in the release. "This continued expansion of choice programming is a big win for this community."

SPS spokeswoman Teresa Bledsoe said the district’s existing magnet schools represent partnerships with the Discovery Center of Springfield, Bass Pro Shops and Mercy Hospital Springfield. Businessman Bill Darr recently contributed $6.5 million to build the Darr Agricultural Magnet School Building at Missouri State University’s William H. Darr College of Agriculture. The donation also funds a companion animal education facility at the college property off Kansas Expressway.

The lease agreement provided by Bledsoe states the annual payment is $27,000. The release indicated lease payments would be funded by the Foundation for Springfield Public Schools.

At the Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, SPS will provide instructional and support staff, curriculum and furniture, fixtures and equipment, according to the release.

SLT and SPS already partner on multiple programs, including a unit of study for kindergarten and first-grade students at Wilder Elementary and a six-week study unit for third-graders at Jeffries, Bingham and Twain.

SPS’ magnet schools, aka SPS Choice, have focused themes and curriculum driven by community connections, according to the district’s website. The SPS Choice page lists eight programs.

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