Marsha Dobrzynski found it a revelation when five years ago, teenagers who attended digital arts-based summer programs in Cleveland were always the first to arrive and the last to leave.
Their dedication inspired Dobrzynski, of the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning in Cleveland, to consider how a curriculum that incorporates video production, game design and digital music recording might work in a school setting. Aided by funding from two of Cleveland's most prominent foundations, she spent years doing research that resulted in the Cleveland Municipal School District's new Cleveland High School for the Digital Arts.
The school welcomed 116 freshmen for the first day of school Monday while workers buzzed about completing the space the students will be using. A new freshman class will be added each year until it becomes a four-year school. Students will attend year-round with four 10-week sessions and a three-week break in between. As an accommodation to the sleep patterns of teenagers, school will start at 9 a.m. and end at 5:30 p.m.