MARIETTA - At Hickory Hills Elementary the arts take center stage in a big way. The school is an arts academy and every student, learns every subject through performing or visual arts and it's all tied to the Georgia Performance Standards.
Principal Diana Mills said four years ago the organization, Arts Now, trained teachers on how "to use the arts to teach core content."
The arts focus has led to Hickory Hills being named a national teaching and learning lab school.
In addition to the core courses, every student takes drama, dance and musical arts.
The walls of the entire school are a visual feast of student talent. But, it's the results that tell the true story because, as one teacher discovered a few years ago, the arts help kids learn.
"His scores," said Mills of the teacher, "went from meeting expectations from the 40th percentile to the 90th percentile the following year and that's just a statement of children being engaged."
11Alive rewarded the innovation education program at Hickory Hills with a check for $500. All week, 11Alive's Education Nation Express is spotlighting innovative programs in metro Atlanta schools.