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 IAA program is for grades 9-12. New students are admitted in ninth grade and tenth grade on a space-available basis.
  • 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 for 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.
    • 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 common themes to help students make connections between subjects.  They grapple with open-ended Essential Questions that cross subject areas and require them to make inferences.

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 decisions 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 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 the year, we organize field trips to Portland to view exhibits and see plays, and we plan to expand on this element of our program.

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 like 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 experience 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.

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 4 Year Path 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 as instructional strategies and activities. There is room in the student four-year schedule to take some AP classes.  The program pathway does not inhibit students from taking college admission required classes because most of our students are college-bound.  Please view the 4 Year Path.  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 content to create larger visual and performing arts projects, create with professional guest artists in a 8-10 day residency format, and collaborate on community based projects. The Junior and Senior cohorts focus more extensively on designing independent 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 June celebration, the culminating IAA Learning Showcase. Funding through grants awarded by the Camas Educational Foundation as been instrumental in shaping this course for students.  The newly formed Friends of Camas Arts is now online to support our students with grants for future large projects.

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 must complete a Letter of Commitment form which specifies that they intend to fully participate in the part-time IAA program 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 not possible.

IAA students can take from a wide variety of dual-credit high school/college courses through Central Washington University that earn college credit transferrable to most public universities while at CHS; therefore students could remain in the IAA program throughout their high school career.  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 like for students who join IAA to 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 admission.

Can IAA students participate in after school sports and activities?

Yes.  The IAA program only requires 2-3 evening events over the course of the year.  We have an optional IAA Club in which students can fundraise and do fun activities together.