John Copenhaver knows what makes students tick. Throughout his career, he has worked to identify instructional best practices to improve the academic progress of students in grades K-8. And for the past seven years as an Assistant Principal at SCPA, he has used his expertise to shape a strong academic environment where students can achieve their full potential. Perhaps the secret to his success is that he understands that SCPA’s students are uniquely wired and respond best to lessons that engage and challenge the creative mind.
One reason – perhaps the most important one - for John’s success? He loves his job. “Where else can you walk down one hallway and hear a melodious symphony of instruments and in the same moment observe a beautiful dance or a vibrant work of art? Only in an arts school,” he recently stated.
As a visual artist, John understands that art is everywhere and can be seen in every discipline. He encourages teachers to work together to deliver lessons that blend the arts and academics across all disciplines. He believes that SCPA’s physical structure is conducive to collaboration because everyone is in the same location enabling teachers to easily walk into one another’s classrooms to explain how an academic lesson relates to the arts, or how a particular craft can be woven into the content of a unit of study. John also points out that opportunities for field trips to view the arts are usually just a few steps away, both inside and outside of the building.
This comprehensive approach fuels the school’s mission to harness the power of the arts and education in every aspect of the student’s learning. John, along with members of the leadership team at SCPA, have the critical job of continuing to push the envelope to make learning fresh, creative and meaningful.
He also wants kids to slow down and enjoy life a bit. In an era where children are overscheduled and pushed in every direction, John is a voice of reason. “I feel that my job is to see that my students not only excel in their arts and academics, but to make sure that they also get to have some fun.”
The perfect balance of arts and education – with a dose of fun mixed in? Sounds like John Copenhaver really does have it figured out.