Sorensen Magnet School for the Arts & Humanities was created from adversity and has grown into a thriving hub of education, community, and the arts. Faced in 2006 with declining enrollment, low test scores, and costly building upgrades, difficult discussions were held about the future of the neighborhood school. Affected families, staff, administration and the community worked together to develop a plan to transform Sorensen into an elementary magnet school for the arts and humanities for the Coeur d'Alene School District.
The school underwent major renovations in 2012.
Sorensen is one of only a handful or public arts magnet schools in the state and the only one to incorporate humanities. The artist-in-residence program is one of many unique features of the Sorensen program, which includes a residency program (see below), performance teams, an integrated arts and humanities rotating "block" of classes for all students, and an arts-integrated curriculum.
WHAT IS THE ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE (AIR) PROGRAM?
One of the keys to Sorensen's transformation is the Artist-in-Residence program, which brings in outside professionals to supplement the existing arts-integrated curriculum.
Focus areas include visual art, motion art, music, dance, theater, juggling, literature, creative writing and culture/humanities and might involve some or all grade levels for up to several weeks at a time.
Sorensen has two residency levels: whole school experience for grades K-5 typically in the fall, and grade level experiences for grade groupings of K-2 and 3-5, which typically occurs throughout the winter and spring. The residency often results in a culminating performance, artwork, etc., although Sorensen has also had shorter residencies working with only a select population, such as one grade for a few days.
Residencies go beyond existing curriculum, with experiences that might be more focused, such as an opportunity to design an outfit out of recycled goods, or more expansive, such as collaborating with the entire school to produce a dance performance enjoyed by students, staff and families alike.
There is an equal focus on curriculum integration, such that math might be taught through music, science through creative writing, and visual art through history. In addition, residencies offer an opportunity for students to indivualize and reflect on what it's like to make a living--or make a life--with one's art.
The Artist-in-Residence program is funded through proceeds from an annual auction, organized and carried out by the Sorensen community of family, friends, and businesses. Here is one of the auction VIDEOS which shows how some of that funding is applied at Sorensen. Click here to see examples of past residencies.ARE YOU INTERESTED in becoming an artist-in-residence? Click here for more information.