DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts began as Hooper Alexander Elementary School. Read the CrossRoadsNews, Inc. article below published in 2002.
Hooper Alexander is the First Elementary Arts Magnet School
When Hooper Alexander Elementary opens its doors on Aug. 12, it will be a much different school than it was last year. All of its 580 students will be magnet students. Only DeKalb's second magnet elementary school, it will be the first elementary arts magnet school in metro Atlanta. "It's a wonderful opportunity to break new ground," said Norma Rushing, the school's principal. "We are not hemmed in so we can create the vision."
In March, the school system accepted a proposal -- written and championed by Area Three executive director Dr. Delores Bank -- for the elementary arts school to be created by combining magnet programs at Hooper, Atherton and Avondale elementary schools. Rushing said the new elementary program will mirror the DeKalb School for the Arts, the county's arts magnet high school. She said Hooper Alexander was picked for the new school because it had the space and could easily send its "home" students to nearby Knollwood and Forest Hill elementary schools. Rushing, who has been principal at Hooper Alexander since 1992, said the elementary arts magnet is the latest change at the school, which has seen its fair share of changes since it opened in 1937. It has had magnet arts students since 1990, but starting this fall, the entire student population will be magnet students from kindergarten to seventh grade. Kittredge Elementary School for high achievers is the county's only other all-magnet school. Students will learn dance, music, drama, visual and performing arts as well as core academic subjects. Graduates of the program will go to the eighth-grade academy at the DeKalb School of the Arts on Briarcliff Road before enrolling in the high school.
Even though its name -- DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts at Hooper Alexander -- is quite a mouthful, it didn't stop 1,400 children from trying to go there. In second grade, where two spots were available, Rushing said there were 294 applications.
Over the summer, parents and teachers were busy working to transform the school into an all-magnet school. They picked uniforms, mulled over a name change and took steps to organize a Parent Teachers Association. At a June meeting parents chose khaki or navy bottoms and burgundy or yellow tops for the school's uniform. On dance days, the students can wear sweat pants. Parents also voted for a mandatory 16 hours of volunteer service at the school for every parent.
The school has no theater, but Rushing said kindergartners through third-graders will use the cafeteria for performances. The older children will stage their performances at the Kyle Theater at Avondale High.
Source 2002 CrossRoadsNews, Inc.
School Overview/Enrollment Process
DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts (DESA) is a visual and performing arts magnet school. We are a Title I school and serve, on an average, 550 students in grades kindergarten to eight. Our curriculum includes core academic classes along with drama/theatre, dance, vocal and instrumental music, and visual arts. Students in grades K-3 take dance, drama, music, and visual arts classes weekly. Students in grades 4-6 focus on two arts disciplines and students in grades 7 & 8 focus on one arts discipline within the curriculum we offer; dance, drama, vocal music, instrumental music, or visual arts. Arts courses for students in grades 4-6 are designated as their Day 1 class and Day 2 class. Students attend once class every other day. Students in grades 1-8 must maintain a 3.0 (or higher) grade point average (GPA) to maintain their enrollment at DESA. School Year 2020-2021 marked DESA's 19th year of existence and we became a kindergarten through eighth grade arts school!!
Our school is part of the DeKalb County School District’s School Choice/Magnet Program. Our goal is to provide a high quality education by integrating the core academics and the arts. The DESA faculty and staff are committed to partnering with parents for the academic success of all students!
Students entering into grades K -1 must:
1) Apply through the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) School Choice Open Enrollment process and 2) be admitted through the DCSD School Choice Lottery process.
Students entering into grades 2-3 must:
1) Have a 3.0 (or higher) grade point average (GPA), 2) apply through the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) School Choice Open Enrollment process, and 3) be admitted through the DCSD School Choice Lottery process.
Students entering into grades 4-8 must:
1) Have a 3.0 (or higher) grade point average (GPA), 2) apply through the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) School Choice Open Enrollment process, 3) complete the DESA Audition Application, and 4) complete the DESA Audition Process.