School of the Arts

School of the Arts

At James A. Jackson Elementary

The School of the Arts is a Fine Arts Magnet Theme Program with a unique curriculum within the walls of Jackson Elementary.  Since the inception of the School of the Arts program in the fall of 2009, students selected to the program through its application process have demonstrated academic achievement and growth, as well as skills development through performances in music, dance, visual arts and theatre. These elements combine to provide a rich and fun learning environment.

All students in kindergarten through fifth grade across Clayton County may apply to attend the School of the Arts.  Applications are accepted in January for the following school year. A completed application packet consists of the application, commitment/consent form, photo/video permission form, a copy of the student’s report card and a teacher recommendation form.  The required forms can be located on the school’s website and are also available at the school’s office. Students in third, fourth and fifth grades are required to audition in their specific area of interest either in music, dance, theatre or visual arts. Audition criteria can be found on the school’s website under the School of the Arts section.  Auditions are normally conducted during the months of March, April and May.  Audition dates and times along with due dates for completed applications are announced on a regular basis during the school year.

Classroom teachers in the School of the Arts program are gifted certified or working towards gifted certification.  The technology-rich, rigorous, and varied curriculum, with gifted strands throughout the program, utilizes interactive boards, tablets and assessment tools. Students are expected to maintain high academic achievement, demonstrate growth in performance, exercise exemplary conduct, and adhere to a uniform dress code.  Parents are required to volunteer at the school each year to support the program.

The School of the Arts program involves all students in learning experiences that are taught according to state and national standards. Teaching strategies and experiences are enhanced and students are actively engaged through hands-on growth opportunities in all areas of the arts. Among the curriculum topics are script writing, ballet, guitar, keyboard, theatre games, creative dance, international dance, creative costume, chorus, sculpture, arts in motion, Orff instruments, choir chimes, self evaluation and critique, along with a rigorous course of study grounded in technology.  Performance-based projects culminate in presentations of students’ talents (i.e. performance hours, programs, exhibits, etc.)  Specialized field trips and guest artist appearances are aligned to course goals and objectives to bring the coursework to a real world application for students.

There is a contagious excitement within the parent/teacher/student community about the integrated arts program that occurs at Jackson. Information concerning the program is shared on Channel 24, the school’s website and on the school’s marquee. Parents who are interested in the program for their children can check the website; call the school at 678-610-4401, or email Molly Knowles, Lead Elementary Theatre Teacher for Clayton County, at


MUSIC-Students may audition in either Vocal Music or Instrumental Music
Vocal Music

*Memorize and sing first verse of "America"
*Sing a scale - teacher directed activity
*Sing tonal memory examples
*Prepare a short piece on the instrument of their choice
*Participate in teacher-directed activities

*Perform a prepared dance solo (1-2 minutes) any style (Ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, etc.) -BRING CD OR TAPE.
*Participate in a teacher-directed activity
*Students should come dressed in appropriate dance attire

*Memorize and perform a  60 second performance piece (may be either a poem or monologue)
All pieces must be age-appropriate, no self-written pieces are accepted.
*Participate in teacher-directed activity

Bring in three (3) examples of student’s best work
*Participate in a drawing exercise with the teacher

*All Kindergarten students must attend a kindergarten pre-screening activity.
This activity will be used in place of the report card criteria. 


Completed application
*Lottery Process

Completed application
*Audition in chosen area of interest
*Lottery Process

We want to thank you for allowing your child to apply for the School of the Arts at Jackson Elementary School. We have completed the review of all students who applied to the program. As you are aware, competition for admission is extremely rigorous.

After careful review the criteria and available slots, we will post our decisions on Tuesday, May 31. If your Application Number is listed below, we are extremely pleased to inform you that your child has been admitted to the School of the Arts program from the coming school year. Please contact Mrs. Knowles at to accept this position. Due to the high interest of our program, you must contact Mrs. Knowles by email by June 24th to reserve your space in the program. All students must be registered for the school by August 8th.

Please check Clayton County Public School's Website in the beginning of August for detailed information concerning registration for upcoming Kindergarteners and new to the county students. For upcoming 1st - 5th graders that are coming from a different school in the county, you must withdraw from that school before registering at Jackson Elementary. More information will be posted on the county and school website in the beginning of August.
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