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The Curriculum at Arts Academy in the Woods

Are you looking for a top-notch PUBLIC arts-integrated middle/high school in Southeast Michigan? Yes, such a thing exists with Arts Academy in the Woods.

Located in Fraser, Michigan, this unique educational institution is the perfect place for students who excel in the arts but may be struggling with the more conventional STEM-focused education. 

And with a zero-tolerance policy, it’s also a safe haven for LGBTQ students, as well as those that march to the beat of a different drum.

What Is the Curriculum at Arts Academy in the Woods? 

With full art and academic curriculum, Arts Academy in the Woods caters to artistically-inclined students by integrating arts into academics. And for students who hope to move onto college, the curriculum at the school caters to that. 

We’ll take a quick look at what students will learn in each area of discipline – starting with the arts.

Instrumental Music

It’s difficult to make it in the world of music without first gaining a foundation. Aspiring musicians at AAW explore the fundamentals of playing music. From an introduction to the basic chords and scales to advanced reading music, and grasping music theory. 

Students also learn to analyze and critique their sound and performances regularly. And those who are college-bound are supported in their preparation for scholarship and acceptance auditions for universities and conservatories.

Vocal Music

For teens with a strong singing voice and an even stronger dream of being a singer, AAW is the place to be. Through their vocal music program, singers focus on music theory as well as sight-reading music. They work to achieve and maintain a high level of musicianship, leadership, responsibility, and respectable character. And unlike private high schools, no prior singing experience is required for survey classes.

Vocalists work daily on their class music in preparation for performances at civic, cultural, and educational activities during the school year.

Visual Arts

For the classic artist, AAW offers a wide variety of courses including drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, and studio art. Educators encourage students to think and behave like independent artists while also grounding students in the conventions of their chosen medium. 

To help prepare students for college, the visual arts courses are modeled on the college art curriculum. The early focus is on building skills. Then students are allowed to build on their abilities as they grow into skilled artists working independently towards college-level portfolios.

Each student’s unique and personal vision is encouraged because this freedom lends seamlessly to planning and problem-solving skills. It also fosters the production of new ideas. 

Digital Arts

For art students with an eye on the digital age, the digital arts curriculum at AAW offers hands-on interactivity with digital tools while pairing creativity with the extensive reach of modern capability. 

Students are engaged with the analytical and constructive processes of creating digital art while encouraged to develop thinking strategies that lend to their own self-expression. And they gain imperative technological skills along the way that will prepare them for this modern age.  


Actors at AAW work on formal critiques, improvisation, monologues, dialogues, poetry performances, and the creation of original works. They use literary and historical contexts to deepen the understanding of a character. The acting curriculum also stresses the vocabulary of the stage and the importance of learning to perform and make choices on stage. They also learn the physical aspects and management of the stage, and how to be comfortable with all aspects involved in putting on a full production.

Creative Writing

If you’ve ever attended one of AAW’s signature poetry slams, then you’ve seen firsthand the power of their creative writing program. 

Creative writers at AAW study story structure, writing techniques, and poetry forms. As they progress, they learn to perfect the craft of revision, collaborate on plays and films, and contribute to

and edit the school’s literary blog and printed anthology.


The academy’s dance curriculum aligns with what students will experience at the college level – with a focuson technique, performance, and choreography. Dance majors are typically enrolled in several sections of technique and/or repertoire at various levels.


Moving over to the academic curriculum, the study of science at AAW encourages creativity, develops analytical skills, improves communication skills, develops a love of learning, and broadens perspectives. 

Students are encouraged to experiment, try new ideas to foster creativity, and explore their available resources. They also develop organizational skills through writing and tracking data and describing the process in a clear and well-developed way. 

At AAW, there is an intrinsic understanding of how science changes the way we view everything, including art and music. A student can have a new experience of art when learning how eyes see color. Or they may have a deeper understanding of music when they understand sound waves. 


The myth that artists can’t do math is all too prevalent in our society. It’s a myth that’s debunked at Arts Academy in the Woods. 

Educators prepare students to see math in a whole new way through the reinforcement of foundational knowledge and the teaching of conceptual/logical thinking via arts integration. In other words, learning math through art.

Social Studies

AAW also teaches social studies (i.e. history, geography, economics, and civics) through art in various ways. For example, by studying art movements during specific eras, students learn the importance of taking action on local, national, and global issues. They practice critical thinking skills which encourage informed civic action while gaining tools to understand human behavior, culture, and development.


The educational goals at AAW include creating, cultivating, motivating, and inspiring English language arts learners to appreciate personal, social, occupational, and civic literacy.

Meanwhile, students are also given the opportunity to acquire a second language. This is key to making deeper cultural connections that enhance every artist’s work. Educators teach students to listen and understand, speak, read, and write the chosen second language in its simple forms.

Health and Wellness

Finally, through the school’s health and wellness curriculum, students are encouraged to learn essential life skills that extend beyond (while also lending to) their art. These include skills that maintain physical, mental, emotional, and academic wellness – with an added emphasis on mental health. 

Would Your Child Thrive at AAW?

Now that you have a better understanding of how the curriculum is laid out at Arts Academy in the Woods, you may be ready to take a tour of our school.

We invite you to do so! Contact us today to make that happen. We look forward to meeting our next remarkable student. 


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