Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts to start Arts Academy

Published 6:11 pm Friday, October 29, 2021

The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts will debut an Arts Academy for city students in the third through fifth grades on Wednesday afternoons when school is not in session.

The School Board voted to dismiss students early every other Wednesday beginning Nov. 10 through the rest of the school year, except on Nov. 24 and Dec. 22, when schools are closed for fall and winter breaks, respectively.

The early release dates when the Wednesday arts academy will take place are Nov. 10, Dec. 8, Jan. 12, Jan. 26, Feb. 9, Feb. 23, March 9, March 23, April 6, April 27, May 11, May 25 and June 8. On early dismissal days, elementary school students are let out at 1:15 p.m.

Registration began Oct. 27 and will be limited to the first 45 children to sign up. The registration fee is $35, which includes all supplies, materials and snacks. The registration deadline is Nov. 8, and can only be done by phone by calling the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts at 757-923-0003, extension 104.

The arts academy will include activities such as dance, pottery, drawing, crafts and more. Suffolk Public Schools will provide bus transportation to the arts center from the child’s school if requested, and parents are asked to contact their child’s school once they have confirmed their child’s enrollment in the Arts Academy.

Parents are responsible for picking up their children from the arts center by 5 p.m. on each day of the Arts Academy. The cultural arts center is at 110 W. Finney Ave. in downtown Suffolk.

Superintendent Dr. John B. Gordon III said during the Oct. 14 board meeting that the early dismissal on Wednesdays would allow for planning and professional development time for teachers and instructional staff, and help mitigate burnout issues.

AlphaBest will also provide afterschool care on the early dismissal Wednesdays. Families wanting it will have to register for those days separately at $30 per day, with a $20 discount applied to families who are already enrolled in the afternoon program.

When accessing the AlphaBest website, there will be three options: after school care on early release days, before and/or after school care food the school year and a 10-visit punch pass for before and/or after school care with families providing at least 24 hours’ notice for staffing purposes (Registration link: www.alphabest.org/suffolkva). Anyone with questions can call 866-300-7750.

He said besides the Arts Academy, the division was looking to partner with the Boys and Girls Club and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to provide options for families on the early dismissal Wednesdays. Discounted vouchers would potentially be available for AlphaBest.