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01-28-15-encore-academy.gifElementary school is the gateway to learning. Reading, writing, math and science are the basic components to everything. But art is just as important. The study of the arts gives children the ability to dream. Art is not just painting or even music; it’s the embodiment of thinking. Through art a person has power to imagine, which is the idea that is not only embraced by The Capitol Encore Academy in Downtown Fayetteville, but which is played out through its curriculum.

Capitol Encore Academy is one of two charter schools in the community. Charter schools receive public funding, but operate under their own independent jurisdiction. A charter school may have alternative ways of teaching compared to a traditional public school.

Located in the building that once housed the Capitol Department Store, and more recently, Docks at the Capitol, the school pays homage to its heritage by maintaining its name.

The building has since been well renovated by adding a dance room as well as a theater. Classrooms and other designated rooms are now where arcade games used to be. The building can be utilized as a place of learning as well as a place for fun.

Capitol Encore Academy’s mission is to develop artists who inspire others with principles of design and artful thinking through the integration of academic excellence, virtuous character and disciplined artistry.

“Enrollment is going wonderfully. We are currently full in almost all grades, with openings only in 3rd and 4th. The kids are doing some amazing things. We have their art displayed on Hay Street in our windows as well as all over the school,” said Joe Salisbury, office manager of the academy.

The academy encourages its students to use their minds to focus on creativity by supporting a child’s hands-on learning in conjunction with artful thinking.

The academy will eventually be open to grades K-12 following its grade expansion plan. It is expected that most of the children will be from Fayetteville and some surrounding areas. The school is adding 6th grade next year.

“Businesses are now looking for Master’s of Fine Arts over MBAs as their utilization and understanding of computers is what is needed in an ever-changing technological world,” said Salisbury. “Also, being in a truly arts focused community helps as the students are involved in/exposed to a multitude of different arts and are able to take part in many functions,” said Salisbury.

The school also offers classes with its Encore Kids College program that includes dance, music, theater, movement arts, visual arts/poetry and martial arts. These classes offer additional learning opportunities for students to focus on their talents throughout the entire school year. Students will enjoy sharing their talents with one another and have one-on-one time with teachers.

“The biggest challenge is getting up and smoothly running. Luckily, we have an amazing educational service provider that helped get us started and gives us the resources needed to give the students a top-notch education. Also, the amount of parent support has been unbelievable,” he said.

“The reason charter schools succeed is, ultimately, not the administration, but the teachers who work diligently every day to create a learning environment for the school,” said Salisbury.

The academy will host Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s Sweet Words from Feb. 11-15.

Open enrollment for The Capitol Encore Academy starts on Feb. 2 and runs through March 13. Parents who would like to enroll are asked to fill out the online application. The academy is currently open to grades K-5. For more information about the school and requirements visit www.capitolencoreacademy.org.

Photo: The Capitol Encore Academy is one of two charter schools in Cumberland County. The Capitol focuses on the arts as the building blocks of education.

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