Kokomo-Center Schools is adding five temporary classrooms and seven new teachers at Wallace School of Integrated Arts next year to keep up with increased demand at the magnet school.
The school board Monday approved a contract for modular classrooms. The district will rent them from Tyson Onsite for about $25,000 a year.
Officials made it clear, though, that the buildings are just a temporary fix. The move will give the district time to draw up plans for a permanent expansion at the school.
“We’re in the beginning stages of planning a facility expansion,” Superintendent Jeff Hauswald said. “We’re really going to be increasing the size of Wallace. It’s amazing. I didn’t expect it to be this popular.”
Next year’s expansion will make room for about 100 additional students, but even then, there’s a wait list to get in, Hauswald said.
Wallace Principal Charley Hinkle said students and their families are responsible for the school’s popularity. They’re out in the community spreading the word about the school and what it does, he said.
The district opened the integrated arts school this year.
Wallace became the first public elementary school in the state to adopt a true integrated arts curriculum, Hauswald has said. Every student at the school takes dance, violin and piano classes, and the arts are infused into all other classes as well.
Each of Wallace’s general education teachers annually attends a one-week fellowship at the Kennedy Center for the Arts in Washington, D.C., to learn more and better strategies for teaching integrated arts.
Many of the teachers also have been specially trained in this area at Ball State University. Arthur Hochman teaches this specialized program to future educators. He has also served as a consultant on the Wallace project.
He said people outside of Howard County are paying attention to the school, which has found much success in its first year.
“When you walk down the hallways at Wallace, you notice a profound, positive energy and sense of community,” Hochman said. “The arts are not used as a gimmick but instead to help support each student. What makes this even more remarkable is that it is occurring in a public school system committed to educating all students. I believe Wallace is one of those schools that the country should be paying close attention to, as Wallace clearly has created something special.”