HISTORY OF PCCA
In 1979, John Blank, an administrator in the Pinellas County Schools, felt the need for an emphasis in the arts in the Pinellas County School System. Through his leadership and guidance, a preliminary survey of the County's students, facilities and communities was taken and Mr. Stan Le Boss was sent to Dallas, Texas for an on-site visit of their visual and performing schools. A need for an artistically talented program was recognized and several teachers, supervisors, and county administrators undertook the task of applying for a federal research grant. With the approval of the school board, a full time director was provided to work with three Gibbs High School arts instructors, three supervisors and an administrator to prepare a model project for the artistically talented students for the State of Florida. After some thirty on-site visits to well-established secondary schools and programs, a model was written for the State of Florida, published and distributed to all sixty seven county school superintendents and known arts supervisors.
Dr. Scott Rose, with the approval of the School Board, chose as one of his five year objectives the development and implementation of both the Artistically Talented Program (now known as The Pinellas County Center for the Arts) and an Academically Talented Program (now known as the International Baccalaureate Program at St. Petersburg High School).
After several years of hard work and dedication by those originally involved in implementing PCCA, this school of the arts officially began in late August of 1984. There were approximately 200 9th and 10th graders starting school; it was hoped that eventually the student population would reach 400. As of today, the number of students attending PCCA is approximately 500, fairly equally divided among the four major disciplines, Dance, Theatre, Music and Visual Art.As the needs of students vary greatly, so do the needs of the artistic student. We meet those needs by providing the PCCA curriculum centered around individualized instruction and concentrating on the student's selected artistic major. Through blocking our courses with ninety minute segments of time, the student has the opportunity to develop a work in depth, while the teacher is afforded time to work individually with the students as well as provide guest artists and field trips without impinging on the student's daily academic classes. These talented PCCA students are active in school clubs, cheerleading, student government, and athletics plus keeping up with their studies, rehearsals, artistic requirements, and performances. Research in arts education indicates that nurturing the student's artistic potential increases growth and achievement in their academic areas. Concepts taught through the arts create a framework rich in details which complements understanding and problem-solving in academic areas. Many educators, as well as persons directly concerned with the arts, share the conviction that attention to the arts enhances the student's physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. Furthermore, it helps students gain a better personal point of view by communicating ideas, feelings and meaning. The student "at risk" often does extremely well in PCCA, having found his niche at last.