ARMES

Greenville County school district artistically gifted & talented elementary and middle school program

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The ARMES Program (Arts Reaching Middle and Elementary Schools) is a tuition-free artistically gifted and talented program designed to meet the needs of identified 3rd - 8th grade Greenville County students in the areas of music, dance, drama, visual art and writing. The purpose of the program is to allow students to explore their chosen art form in depth while promoting individual creativity.

Classes are taught at a pace and level of complexity appropriate for artistically gifted children with similar abilities and interests. This kind of rigorous study contributes to the development of the ARMES students in significant ways and requires both regular attendance and a willingness to work hard. The ARMES program may, on occasion, include activities outside of regular ARMES class hours such as field trips and limited homework. Participation in the ARMES program does not excuse students from their regular school assignments and grade maintenance.

All ARMES classes are held after regular school hours. Transportation to ARMES site locations is not provided. It is the family's responsibility to get the student to and from class. We do encourage carpooling if possible.

Students who are in the 2nd - 7th grade who wish to audition for the following school year must have a completed nomination form which will be posted on this website from mid February to mid April. The nomination form may be completed by a teacher, parent, or the student. A separate nomination form must be filled out for each area in which the student is applying. The students will then be scheduled for an audition in May.

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

  • Allow young students to develop as artists

  • Create a stimulating learning environment in which students experience both intellectual and social growth

  • Develop behaviors useful in self-directed learning

  • Heighten enthusiasm for learning

  • Increase knowledge and use of creative problem-solving and critical-thinking skills

  • Foster appreciation for personal abilities

  • Encourage the development of aesthetic values

PROGRAM EXPANSION

Greenville County Schools is excited to announce the ARMES program will be expanding in the coming school year by establishing sites in the northern and southern areas of the district and by adding an additional music pathway to the central site. There are approximately 35,000 3rd-8th graders in Greenville County Schools, and we are currently serving 350 of these students in ARMES. Through this program expansion, we will grow over time to serve over 1,900 artistically gifted students.


In a 2019 pilot study, the ARMES staff identified hundreds of students at four elementary and two middle schools in the northern and southern areas of the district who qualified for ARMES but were not participating in the program. The primary reason for not participating was the distance needed to travel from these schools to the Fine Arts Center. We acknowledge traveling to the Fine Arts Center twice each week from different parts of the county is a large commitment and simply not possible for many. Therefore, the ARMES program will be expanded by establishing new sites at Greer Middle School and Hillcrest Middle School.


As part of the program’s growth, we will also be expanding music opportunities for students at all three locations. In the current program, strings is the only option for incoming students who wish to study music. The new music pathway will provide students in grades 3-5 with an in-depth study of developing aural skills, sight singing, ear training, music theory, and other music topics that extend well beyond what is provided in an elementary music class. When these students transition into middle school, they will elect to focus on either orchestra, band, or chorus and will be provided master class-type instruction through the ARMES program. The middle school curriculum for orchestra, band, and chorus will be built around the audition criteria for entry into the Fine Arts Center. The district recognizes the current ARMES strings program has a long history of excellence, and as such, it will remain in place at the Central site alongside the new music pathway. The new sites will offer the new music pathway for students beginning in 3rd grade and will transition these students to orchestra, band and chorus as they age up into middle school during the 2025-2026 school year.


The current ARMES program does not have room to expand at the Fine Arts Center site. In order to provide room for expansion, the program will be relocating to League Academy beginning in August. We are in the process of upfitting the League facilities to ensure necessary equipment and supplies are available for ARMES. The ARMES faculty will continue to collaborate closely with Fine Arts Center Instructors, and curriculum implementation will be consistent across all three ARMES sites.


At the new Greer and Hillcrest Middle sites, we will be layering in the different arts subject areas over a five-year period. The Greer and Hillcrest Middle sites will kick off next year by serving third-grade music students. The planned implementation schedule is:

2022-2023: Music (Grade 3)

2023-2024: Visual Art (Grades 3-8); Music (add Grade 4)

2024-2025: Drama (Grades 3-8); Music (add Grade 5)

2025-2026: Dance (Grades 3-8); Instrumental Music (Grades 6-8); Voice (Grades 6-8)

2026-2027: Creative Writing (Grades 3-8)


All arts areas and grade levels currently served at the Fine Arts Center site will continue to be offered at League Academy each year. The planned implementation schedule of new programming for the Central Site is:

2022-2023: Music (Grade 3)

2023-2024: Music (add Grade 4)

2024-2025: Music (add Grade 5)

2025-2026: Instrumental Music (Grades 6-8); Voice (Grades 6-8)