Community, students, faculty commit to SCS
“I’d like to welcome you to the School for Creative Studies, where there is no box,” said Renee Price, the principal of Durham’s newest magnet school.
Chewning Middle School was transformed into the School for Creative Studies and the new digital media and creative design school opened its doors for an official opening Tuesday with district administrators, board of education members, parents and members of the community on hand to celebrate the new school.
“This is a school where the students love to do homework, where students feel safe and love their teachers,” Price said. “This is the school where teachers truly collaborate and work across classes.”
The year-round school began classes July 15, with about 300 students enrolled in the three grade levels that the school serves -- sixth, seventh and ninth. SCS is on a 100 percent lottery system but students can apply to transfer to the school.
DPS Superintendent Eric Becoats said that the School for Creative Studies was in the making for a few years before coming to fruition this school year.
“I am really, really pleased with what we’re doing here,” he said. “I am happy with the four pillars outlined here, creativity, communication, collaboration and community.”
Board of education chairwoman Heidi Carter said that the School for Creative Studies community had taken Price’s vision and added a bit of themselves to make the school that much more unique.
“You’re building this school together,” Carter said. “This helps Durham Public Schools create a strong ecosystem of schools.”
Carter viewed SCS as a way to promote diversity and offer a unique, relevant program that the community said it wanted and would support.
The School for Creative Studies offers classes in video technology and communication, digital media and design, music and audio production, design for living, which includes interior design and landscaping and architecture.
Those on hand for the event were able to take student-led tours of the school and talk with the principal and available school staff.
Part of the renovations to Chewning to turn it into the School for Creative Studies includes video and editing suites and a television studio complete with a green screen and swivel chairs for students anchors.
When classes began in July, there was no mascot. Price explained that they “always wanted to empower our students and let them have some ownership so at the open house we let them make suggestions.”
From about a hundred, the suggestions were narrowed down to five before the gryphon beat out a robot, maze, phoenix and chameleon to represent the school.
Several people on hand for the ribbon cutting demonstrated their commitment to the new school with railroad spikes. Plugging the spikes into a SCS maze, participants proclaimed their commitment to support staff and students, to have confidence in students and help them exceed their potential, to provide family support and advocate for families and volunteer to help build relationships on the campus and in the community.
“My commitment is to learn hard and study even harder,” said sixth-grader Albert Satterfield.
“I commit to not let anyone box me in and try to stay unique,” added seventh-grader Tate Sennett.
Ninth-grader Diana Ortiz said that she commits to “accomplish my dreams and always be there for the school.”
DPS Superintendent for High Schools Jim Key brought some of the audience to tears when he made his commitment to the new school.
“I was a student here when it opened its door 39 years ago,” Key said. “Whatever this school needs from Jim Key and his family, we will do. My commitment is lifelong.”