Program Information FAQ


Frequently Asked Questions


We welcome all questions sent to iaa@camas.wednet.edu.  Phone conversations may also be arranged.

What is IAA in a nutshell?

  • The four-year IAA program is a part of Camas High School and is for grades 9-12. 
  • The visual and performing arts merge with the academics to meet students' arts-minded learning styles: musical-rhythmic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal.
  • The academic classes utilize arts integration activities as a dynamic way of learning. 
  • Students: 
    • Create informed visual and performing arts projects (both personal and community-based) during their Core Studio (CS) class. They take CS each year for their studio time.
    • In their Freshmen year, students have the opportunity to take the course "Arts Explore" to explore different art forms and develop their creativity through projects.
    • Exhibit and perform at public showcases.
    • Participate in field trips, community-based projects, and memorable professional guest artist projects.

What is the vision of IAA?

Vision Statement:  “IAA is the program where the academics come to life with the arts.”

What is unique about IAA?

IAA Guiding Principles:  As part of Camas High School, IAA students experience a unique learning opportunity in which their passion for the visual and performing arts merges with the academics to cultivate critical thinking, creativity, and community as they prepare for college, any career field, and life.

How is the instruction in IAA classes different than traditional ones?

In the academic classes (which vary by cohort), teachers use the arts as an instructional strategy.  In the studio class, called Core Studio, which students take each year, we cultivate critical thinking through a framework of inquiry which helps students generate and analyze their ideas for their visual and performing arts projects. That framework is called Fundamental Questions which develops critical thinking around: Research, Perspective, Connections, Relevance, Supposition, and Transition.

Normally, school subjects are taught separately with no connection to each other.  Our IAA classes are still taught individually, but use "Shared Concepts" to help students make connections between subjects.  They grapple with open-ended Essential Questions that cross subject areas and require them to make inferences.  Students have the opportunity to express their learning and their ideas in their projects.

How do students develop their creativity in IAA?

We develop creativity as a skill for innovating in the 21st century.  In addition to the Fundamental Questions outlined above, students:
  • Apply their learning in motivating, hands-on, arts activities.
  • Learn about the artist process in different art forms and they reflect on their own during and upon completion of projects.
  • Innovate personal and relevant solutions to assignments.
  • Projects require decision making and reflection.
  • During their Senior year, students participate in a Senior Project and organize a final showcase to celebrate their work throughout high school.

How do current IAA students feel about the program?

What is evident from our student surveys is that over time and experiences together, they feel like "family".  That may be due to the fact that we intentionally foster a sense of community in which students feel they belong and are safe to express ideas and create. Within a comprehensive, expanding high school, IAA gives students a niche opportunity to know themselves and others better as they develop intellectually, creatively, socially, and artistically. When students create art together, the work manifests supportive and trusting relationships.  Throughout each year, we organize field trips into the community to view exhibits and experience performances.

How does IAA connect to the larger community?

Externally, students connect to artists, organizations, and businesses in our local community.  They share their art and performances with our Camas community, go on field trips to arts events, give back through community service such as artist residencies their Junior and Senior years.  And we are currently developing job shadows and internships for our Junior and Senior years.

Is IAA a conservatory?  Who is this program for?

The main goal of a conservatory is to rigorously prepare students for a career in the arts and entertainment industries. While the IAA program is not a conservatory, it is designed for both students who may be headed for a career path in the arts as well as most of the students who will choose a different career field. The main differences are that in IAA, students:

  • Learn to appreciate a variety of art forms through active experiences such as visual art and design, dance, literary art, theatre, film, and music, 
  • Take academic classes where the instruction includes arts-based activities that reinforce the learning, and 
  • Learn to develop concepts in their art stemming from their academic study while receiving instruction on techniques that will help them express those concepts. In addition to the IAA program classes, students usually take arts electives to develop their skills outside of the program.

Can a student with a 504 or IEP be accepted into the program?

Students who are being served in mostly self-contained, specialized district programs will be considered on a case-by-case basis according to the IEP team recommendations. If you have questions regarding special services, please feel free to contact us or speak with your child's IEP case manager.

For application questions, please see our Student Application Information page.  


Will students be able to take classes with non-IAA friends?

Yes.  Only a portion of the day is designated for IAA classes.  See the IAA Four Year Plan for a visual sample of the schedule.

Does the IAA program meet the Core 24 High School Graduation Requirements? Will students be prepared for college?

Yes and yes.  IAA teachers use the same standards, benchmarks, and testing as other CHS classes. They just incorporate the arts into instructional strategies and activities. The program includes some optional AP classes that integrate well with the arts, and there is room in the student schedule to take additional ones.  The program pathway does not inhibit students from taking college admission required classes because most of our students are college-bound.  Please view the IAA Four Year Plan.  Specific college preparation skills that IAA students focus on are how to manage their time through projects, prepare to speak and perform publicly, collaborate with others, and reflect on their process and learning for improvement. College admissions officers look at test scores, the rigor of courses, grades, involvement in special programs, and extracurricular activities.

What is the Core Studio class that students must take each year?

Students use Core Studio as the studio portion of their day to work with academic Shared Concepts to create larger visual and performing arts projects, create with professional guest artists in an 8-10 day residency format, and collaborate on community-based projects. Students can and should take other arts classes like visual art, band, choir, and drama as electives in their schedule.  The work created in the Core Studio classes is shared publicly at special events and our end of the year celebration, the culminating IAA Learning Showcase. Funding through grants awarded by the Camas Educational Foundation and Friends of Camas Arts have been instrumental in shaping this course and the program for students.

If accepted, can a student enroll in Running Start, Skills Center or other CHS programs?

Maybe.  When a student applies to the IAA program, they are committing to fully participate in the part-time IAA program for all four years. If accepted, they will be taking a "seat" that could have been offered to another student should they change their mind.  Students in IAA may enroll in some other programs as part-time, but full-time enrollment is usually not possible.  Our IAA Counselor can assist students in configuring their best schedule.  The Mathematics, Science, and Technology magnet has parallel academics courses, so dual enrollment is not possible.


What if a student decides that IAA is not a good fit for him or her?

Although we prefer that students who join IAA have the intention to stay all four years because we work hard to build a community within the program, students are not required to stay in IAA if it ends up not being the best fit for them for whatever reason.

How much of the student's day is taken up with the program?

IAA only accounts for 2-3 periods during the school day which then allows for a lot of flexibility with what students do with the other periods, so students have no problem completing their requirements for graduation and college preparation.

Can IAA students participate in after-school sports and activities?

Yes.  The IAA program usually only requires 2 evening events over the course of the year.  We have an optional IAA Club in which students can participate in fundraisers and fun activities together.