Studies Prove Arts Education Influential, Yet Absent in U.S. Schools--Clearwater Academy International (CAI) Embraces Art Education with 5th Annual Festival of Arts

Clearwater Academy International (CAI) has long addressed an education gap by providing students with advanced art education. CAI students recently displayed artwork for parents and guests and performed a musical play during the school's annual Festival of Arts.

CLEARWATER, Fla., June 11, 2014 — (PRNewswire) —

CLEARWATER, Fla., June 11, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- While the Common Core standards have been a lightning rod for controversy in education, some supporters of education reform have questioned the lack of visual and performing arts in many schools today.  According to a report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education, the percentages of schools making theater and dance available went from 20 percent ten years ago to only 4 and 3 percent, respectively, in the 2009-2010 school year.  In addition, at more than 40 percent of secondary schools, coursework in the arts was not required for graduation (1).  Officials at Clearwater Academy International (CAI), a Tampa Bay private school, say that failing to provide adequate arts education robs students of a well-rounded learning environment.  As a school that recognizes the importance of helping students develop the skills necessary to achieve their ambitions, CAI held its fifth annual Festival of Arts event.  Students displayed various pieces of artwork created throughout the school year, and performing arts students acted in the spring musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.  The exhibit and play both opened on April 3rd and ran until April 5th.

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Despite recent years showing an evident shift in education towards core subjects of reading and math, studies show that there is a direct correlation between the arts and academic success.  A report by Americans for the Arts states that young people who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a day on three days each week through one full year) are "four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair, or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate" (2).

CAI Executive Director Jim Zwers says that while some may regard the arts as a luxury, creative activities offer a foundation to child development and lends to increased success in academia.  Zwers' statement echoes that of former educator and author Eric Jensen, who stated, "Music education is required of all students in other nations [than the United States], including Japan, Hungary and the Netherlands, and students in those three countries boast some of the highest mathematics and science test scores in the world." (3)

Arts education is integrated into CAI's curriculum beginning in preschool; younger students learn basic concepts in music, movement/dance and performance.  As students continue with the program, their developing abilities—whether focused on music/vocal or the stage—are honed beginning in fourth grade, when they can then choose a specialized elective that enhances their emerging talents.  CAI's system proves the effectiveness of its curriculum by outperforming both Florida's and the United States' SAT scores in Reading, Writing and Math, as well as the combined total, respectively.

Zwers maintains that CAI's arts education allows students to not only broaden their cultural awareness, but to also progress towards a high range of academic activity and production—a different range than where you might find the average American high school student.

"Today, society places much emphasis on science, math, technology and engineering (STEM), but praise for the importance of the arts is far and few between," said Zwers.  "Projects like Festival of Arts are an excellent way to bridge that educational gap, while also promoting skills seen as important in academic and life success."

CAI students are provided with opportunities to work on their artistic talents and then showcase them at a variety of performances—for example, at student assemblies, holiday shows or community events.  For those students with serious ambition, CAI also offers private and semi-private lessons, performance coaching and career counseling.

CAI's curriculum also consists of college prep and utilizes the educational methodology of Applied Scholastics™, a non-profit public benefit corporation that addresses head‑on the problem of illiteracy by making broadly available notable discoveries in the field of education and literacy.

For more information about Clearwater Academy International, please visit

About Clearwater Academy International:

Founded in 1984, Clearwater Academy International (CAI), an Applied Scholastics™ school, offers a fresh perspective on education by harnessing the power of its students' goals and directing their education to align with the students' own interests.  Its mission is to educate each child to his or her fullest potential and beyond, culminating in an eagerness to take their place in the world and contribute to society in their field(s) of endeavor.  With tailor-made programs, each student becomes a priority.  Students are designed individual courses that best match their own interests and skills, while also addressing any areas that need improvement.  For more information, please visit

1.   Brenchley, Cameron.  "ED Releases New Report on Arts Education in U.S. Public Schools."  N.p., n.d.  Web.  25 Mar. 2014.

2.   Lynch, Grace.  "The Importance of Art in Child Development."  PBS, n.d.  Web.  25 Mar. 2014.

3.   Owens, Ariel.  "Art Education Needs More Attention."  N.p., n.d.  Web.  25 Mar. 2014.

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