Students react to Studio Academy possibly closing - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Students react to Studio Academy possibly closing


Rochester, Minn. (KTTC) --

Teachers at Studio Academy broke the news to students Tuesday morning that the school may have to close this summer. We reported last week that the school's authorizer, Volunteers of America, wanted to pull its sponsorship. But the students aren't giving up without a fight.

Students say Studio Academy is one of the only places they feel comfortable to be who they are. They say if they can just get the community to see that and show people they are learning, maybe Volunteers of America might give them another chance.

At first glance, you may think you've landed in an art studio. And you would be correct. But there are also classrooms and textbooks. Studio Academy is an arts-driven school, but students will tell you it's also a safe haven.

"Having them except you exactly how you are and not having to worry about going to school and not fitting in at all, because if you come here, you just fit in," exclaims 10th grader Ali Carryer.

But fitting in, may become an issue once again if these students are forced to go to other schools. Studio Academy's authorizer, Volunteers of America, says the school's academics are not up to par.. and it is pulling its sponsorship.

Teachers say the VOA needs to look at the educational growth, not just test scores, since many of the students could not succeed in other schools.

"A large number, they have struggled, and so our focus is really on growing them, taking where are they currently at and building on those skills, and taking them as far as we can," explains Studio Academy's Academic Dean Paula Griffin.

"Before I went to Studio academy, I wasn't that great of a student. But I went to Studio Academy and when I left Studio Academy, I had a 4.0."

Kaitlyn Walsh is a success story. She is in her senior year at Studio Academy, but has moved on to more challenging courses at RCTC as part of the Post secondary enrollment option. She says Studio Academy motivated her to do more in her studies, and there are others just like her.

"The feel for everything is different. Like, I'm excited to be here; I'm excited to go to my classes. My grades have went up, but I'm just really happy to be here every day," says Carryer.

Students now say the next step is show the community how much they've grown and that there is a need for a different kind of school.

There will be an open house for the general public next Tuesday evening to see exactly how Studio Academy operates. School officials hope to rally community support before they go in front of the VOA's board to appeal the decision.

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