On the morning of February 18, Camas High School Principal Tom Morris announced that the Integrated Arts and Academics (IAA) program would not be continuing next year.
During their third period, Mr. Morris told the students enrolled in IAA about the discontinuing of the program. Lack of funding, low enrollment, and staffing issues are the major problems that caused the program to shut down.
“The worst part is that we were never informed of the end of our program until we were told it was too late to save it,” said IAA Junior Casey Davidson.
The program started six years ago, in 2014, and uses project-based learning as its main curriculum. The program has helped students who feel that the general education curriculum is unfulfilling. With around 100 students enrolled, IAA uses the arts to help students understand the material in a hands-on way.
“This is our program and this is our legacy,” said Lily Parsley, an IAA student.
Many students participating in the IAA program say that it allowed them to feel part of a wholesome community. A place where they felt safe and understood.
Many IAA students have expressed their disappointment in the cancellation of the program. Some are currently trying to save IAA. A senior student started a petition that called for the program to be continued for at least the next three years. Several students made and distributed buttons reading, “IAA Is Not Seen Nor Heard,” raising awareness for the program and those who have been affected by it. Some students attended a School Board meeting on Monday, February 24, delivering short speeches to sway the School Board members.
“I see myself not as a Camas High School student, but as an IAA student. Without IAA, I can’t see myself at CHS,” said Lilia Ireland, another junior student. Several parents also came to the meeting and delivered some words. Ireland’s mother said, “IAA gave my daughter a place in Camas that she didn’t have before.”
The future of the program is still uncertain. Even so, the students who participated in the group effort to convince the School Board to reconsider their decisions are hopeful.