A premier arts-focused educational experience for high school students, Parker Arts Academy provides students with skills and experiences that prepare them for the future.
In 2020, the Hendricks Family Foundation awarded the School District of Janesville a three-year, $350,000 grant to support the planning and start-up implementation of the Parker Arts Academy (PAA). PAA is an arts-focused magnet school that provides voice, dance, performance and technical education as a part of the school day. It provides a premier educational experience for 9-12 grade students enrolled at Janesville Parker High School who aspire to a career in the performing arts.“Students at Parker High School have long had the opportunity to participate in a high quality, extracurricular performing arts program,” said Jan Knutson, PAA Coordinator. “What we found over time,” she added, “was many students were interested in more, particularly those students who had the desire to pursue a post-secondary and career pathway in the arts.”
Enrolled Academy students attend required core courses for half of the school day and courses in the Arts Academy the other half of the day. Leveraging the existing choral and musical program, PAA has expanded classroom instruction in the areas of acting, dance, music theory, musical theatre and private voice lessons, with music technology and technical theatre slated to be implemented. A dance recital and an extra musical and non-musical theatre production have also been added to existing student production activities to ensure all students have the opportunity to learn, rehearse and perform their art.
Highlights from the inaugural year at PAA have included the performance of the first play produced by the Academy, Clue Onstage, the High School Edition, a concert performed by Broadway artists Josh Young and Emily Padgett featuring PAA students, a two-day master class with the artists for Academy students and the staging of White Christmas and The Sound of Music.
“There are many people who made this possible, but none more than the Hendricks Family Foundation,” said Jan Knutson, PAA Coordinator. “Without the Hendricks’ family’s love of and support for the arts, Parker High School and this program, PAA would not have happened.”
The mission of the Parker Arts Academy is to provide students with skills and experiences that prepare them for any path they choose to take in their future. The program builds confidence and public speaking skills, teaches teamwork and professionality, and provides students opportunities to prepare for both college and career.
Support of this project by the Hendricks Family Foundation allows the Foundation to invest in efforts that contribute to education, the development of career pathways and support of a strong and vibrant community.