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Westminster Public Schools (WPS) long-anticipated arts magnet school now has a name.

Tuesday, the Board of Education unanimously approved both a name and innovation plan for the school that will open this fall at what is now Metz Elementary. The Metropolitan Arts Academy will add a sixth grade class this fall and expand to PK-7 in the 2020-21 school year followed by a PK-8 structure in 2021-22.

"This is the fulfillment of a third pipeline plan that was outlined in our Vision 2020 strategic plan that we shared with the voters during the successful mill levy override election in November," said Superintendent Pam Swanson. "Parents should know that all of our elementary and middle schools will continue to offer quality arts programs, but the Metropolitan Arts Academy will offer a deeper level arts instruction and unique opportunities so students are fully prepared to take advantage of our elite arts program at Westminster High School."

The Academy, open to students from inside and outside WPS boundaries, will be expanding its offering to include dance, drama, and instrumental/vocal music, and art classes.  The building will be redesigned to support the programs.  

In addition, the Academy will  continue to offer a strong academic curriculum in the core subjects of math, science, social studies and literacy. Metz Elementary is currentluy rated as a Performance School and just last week received the Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award from the Colorado Department of Education because of exceptional student growth.

Board of Education Vice President Joe Davidek, who has long been a supporter of arts education in the district, was pleased.  "This is probably the best thing to happen to our arts community since we explored the Academy model during the creation of the high school," he said. 

Board member Max Math summed it up in artistic terms.  "Lets sing our song, paint our canvas and move forward," he said.  

And while the building has a new name, board member Dino Valente reassured the community that steps would be taken to ensure that the memory of teacher Clara Metz would be preserved. 

Because the Academy will have a different structure than traditional elementary schools in WPS, the board voted to give the school innovation status to allow for more flexibility and freedom in the school’s operations. Among the most notable changes:

  • Three additional days at the end of the school year
  • Extended workdays Tuesday through Friday 
  • Flexibility in “seat time” requirements allowing students more off-campus opportunities  
  • Flexibility to allow professional artists to teach in a classroom setting

Students currently attending Metz Elementary, including fifth graders who have already enrolled at another middle school, have until March 20 to return a completed application to guarantee a spot at the Metropolitan Arts Academy. Metz students who choose to not be part of the Academy can "choice into" other elementary schools in the district. Fairview and Sherrelwood Elementary are the two closest schools.

For more information about these changes and the new application process click here.