Booker T. Washington HSPVA in the Dallas Independent School District evolved in 1976 as a part of the district’s desegregation order. The premise which started the school came from a realization that gifted young artists need highly specialized and rigorous training in the arts to be prepared for the intense competition they will meet in colleges, conservatories, and the professional arts world. The creation of the “Arts Magnet,” as it was known in 1976, represented only the second attempt by any public high school in the nation to correlate an academic program with con- centrated training in the arts. For DISD, the formation of the Arts Magnet HS represented a dramatic departure from traditional comprehensive programs. Ultimately the school became one of the pilot schools for today's magnet school concept.
Booker T. Washington HSPVA is fully accredited and offers the same academic curriculum and graduation requirements as all DISD high schools; the major difference in the academic program is that we offer the added ingredient of correlating the arts with academics, rather than treating either as isolated disciplines. All stu- dents take three classes in their art areas, and the remainder of the time (five classes) in academics or electives. The arts offered for in-depth study are: Dance, Instrumental Music Jazz Studies and Vocal Music, Theatre Arts, and Visual Arts.
In addition, Booker T. Washington HSPVA is committed to its role as a college preparatory school, making students aware of the variety of opportunities they have for future training at colleges or universities, advanced art institutes, and conservatories.
The school recognizes and values student individuality. It nurtures, without excep- tion, the values of individual accomplishment and independence. Since individual creativity is integral to the production of art, our faculty and staff work with students on an individualized, human level that stimulates intellectual, artistic, and technical originality. We strive to graduate people who can work independently and crea- tively and who are the problem solvers and leaders of tomorrow.
At the same time, Booker T. Washington HSPVA places high value on group re- sponsibility, loyalty, and sense of community. In a country that is sustained by a democratic process, a sense of individual worth, coupled with a sense of responsi- bility to a society, is invaluable. It is to these ends that Booker T. Washington HSPVA devotes its energies.