KALISPELL, Mont. - Sophomore student Alysha Ward just enrolled for classes next year and says junior year is more tailored to her.
"It gives me a chance to take more art classes and actually have a reason for why I'm taking them, rather than just taking them because I want to take an art class," said Ward.
She sees this as the perfect opportunity to hone in on her skills and build a portfolio for college applications.
"I am really interested in art, like as a major for college, I'd like to do art studio," said Ward.
Glacier High School decided to add the fine arts academy after success with the engineering academy added to this year's curriculum. It didn't cost extra.
The fine arts academy will include music, theatre and visual arts. For the visual arts director, this is a dream come true.
"I feel like this is important because we live in a world that just values the correct answer and standardized testing and everything just being a certain way, and I think this is a way to encourage kids to be creative," said Josh Lancaster.
To help students pursue their passion in fine arts, teachers planned a curriculum that will prepare the students by senior year to be well rounded and qualified for college and jobs.
"They've accepted a challenge basically greater than what their perceived capacity is. They are doing something greater than what they originally thought they were going to do," said Lancaster
Program backers say test scores show it will pay off.
According to the College Board, in 2005 students who took four years of Fine Arts scored 58 points higher in the verbal portion and 38 points higher on the math portion of the SAT.
The academy is a chance for students like Ward to find a niche they're passionate about.
"For me to be able to express myself and just kind of show who I am I guess. I just enjoy it and it's a fun thing for me to do," said Ward.
The program accepts all interested students and upper-classmen as long as they meet the requirements. Along with the academy classes, the students also have to take the core curriculum.