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GCPS to dedicate Central Gwinnett High’s School of the Arts

November 12, 2021

     On Sunday, November 14, at 2 p.m., the Gwinnett County Board of Education and CEO/Superintendent Dr. Calvin Watts will join members of the Arts and Business communities, students, faculty, and local government leaders for the official dedication of the School of the Arts (SOTA) at Central Gwinnett High School. SOTA, which opened on August 4th, 2021 inside a new 50,202 square foot addition at Central Gwinnett High, is the result of a partnership between Gwinnett County Public Schools, the City of Lawrenceville, and the arts community. SOTA offers a unique, “arts-centric” learning experience for Gwinnett County high school students who have a passion for the arts. Centrally located in Lawrenceville, it is designed for students who want to take their art to the next level, working with industry professionals and partnering with arts organizations. This “school within a school” provides opportunities that students will not find elsewhere.

     The formal program begins at 2 p.m., followed by a reception. In addition to remarks by Central Gwinnett High principal Shane Orr, the program features a number of speakers including Lawrenceville Mayor David Still, Aurora Theatre President and CEO Anthony Rodriquez, Steve Knudsen, Gwinnett County Board of Education District II representative and Dr. Watts. Students in the Musical Theatre Conservatory, Dance Conservatory and Voice Conservatory will also perform during the program.

     The School of the Arts’ college-preparatory curriculum combines required coursework with expanded fine arts classes, internships, and work experiences for students at a pre-professional and professional level. A unique feature of the School of the Arts are opportunities for select students to study in a Fine Arts Conservatory setting. Admittance and participation in the Conservatory program at the School of the Arts is determined through auditions, interviews, and juried presentations and performances. The signature Conservatory program provides students with expanded course opportunities, includes regular work with industry professionals, as well as participation in internships and work-based experiences. In addition, the location of the School of the Arts at Central Gwinnett High School will expand arts experiences for students throughout the Central Gwinnett Cluster (Jordan and Moore middle schools and Jenkins, Lawrenceville, Simonton, and Winn Holt elementary schools). Partnerships with the City of Lawrenceville, the Aurora Theatre, arts organizations, and postsecondary schools are a hallmark of this new program, providing students many opportunities to engage with artists, businesses, and the larger community.

     SOTA has also benefitted from the assistance of a 45-member advisory board comprised of professionals in the field of the Arts, school district staff, government leaders and students. The work of this team helped establish a framework that the inaugural faculty and staff have brought to life.