Binford Middle School reopens as arts specialty and college prep school this year

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Kids at Binford Middle School in Richmond are going to see some big changes when school starts next week.

The school was previously in jeopardy of closing because of low enrollment and test scores. But now, it’s getting ready to open as the first, public, arts-integrated middle school in the state.

Twelve-year-old Anisa Monroe loves to do anything arts-related.

“Me and my brother sometimes have drawing competitions,” Anisa says. “I like to dance and draw and sing.”

That’s why spending her seventh grade year at Binford Middle School will be a dream come true for her.

Binford Middle School Principal Melissa Rickey says kids will still learn about math, science and English… but the lessons will incorporate drama, dance and art.

“There isn’t a single content that will not be integrated with the arts,” Principal Rickey says. “It’s through all of these things and parts and pieces and experience that will bring together a richness to their learning that does not take place by reading and lecturing.”

An arts-integrated program means the arts are just as important as the core lesson. For example, teachers can use instruments not only to teach kids about music, but also about how it relates to science, through sound waves and vibrations.

Parents like Nicole Monroe are excited about the changes.

“I just feel like with the fine-arts integrated program it’s going to be more than one way to learn science, more than one way to learn math,” Monroe says.

Meanwhile, Anisa can’t wait

“People will actually want to come to school!” she said.

Binford is also introducing a new college prep, A.P. program for English and math called the College Board’s Spring Board Program.

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