Howe Hall Arts Infused Magnet School opened in 2002 as the first magnet school in Berkeley County. The school quickly established its arts philosophy and became a model for arts infusion. Countless educators have visited the school meeting with arts teachers and administrators in their efforts to begin arts schools or replicate the arts infusion philosophy at Howe Hall. In 2014 year the school was visited by educators attending the International Arts Schools Network Conference.
Howe Hall AIMS serves 420 kindergarten through fifth grade students who are selected, not by audition, but by lottery from all over Berkeley County. Each year there are over 500 applications for only 40 to 50 openings. If selected to attend the school, transportation to and from school must be provided by the parents.
The students participate weekly in classes for dance, drama, music, physical education and visual art. In addition, the fine arts and classroom teachers deliver arts infused lessons utilizing a team teaching approach. These lessons are based on the S.C. state standards but are taught through the eyes of an artist. Students apply arts skills as they work to master the academic standards. Additionally, students in grades 3-5 are treated to a myriad of exploratory classes from which they select one which they attend once a week. These classes include: orchestral strings, steel drums, chorus, puppetry, tap dance, yoga, improvisational theatre, broadcast journalism, clay, photography and more.
Howe Hall AIMS student scores are consistently among the highest in the state on both the state determined assessment for academics and on the state assessment for the arts (S.C. Arts Assessment Program, SCAAP). For example, in 2014 over 90% of the students in grades 3-5 met standard in ELA by scoring “Met” or “Exemplary” on PASS. Fifth grade scores were premier with 98.7% of students meeting standard; 68% of these students scored “Exemplary.” 100% of the fifth graders in the free and reduced meals subgroup and 100% of the African-American students met the established state standard.
AIMS has earned numerous awards and recognitions for excellence in education including being named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in 2010, recognition by the Kennedy Center for Excellence in Fine Arts Education in 2007, and was presented the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award for Arts in Education by Governor Nikki Haley in 2015. Howe Hall AIMS earned a Palmetto Award every year they have been issued since 2009. In 2017 our school’s principal, Chris Swetckie, was named the Outstanding Elementary Principal of the Year by the South Carolina Art Education Association. We are extremely proud of our successes and accomplishments and continue to strive to raise the bar each and every year.
To this day, Howe Hall Arts Infused Magnet School consistently offers children unparalleled instruction that addresses multiple intelligences by creating lessons that merge arts and academic standards. The true essence of its success as defined by student learning is due to the innovation and creativity of its arts infused lessons and the focus on academic achievement for every student.