Local students offered new way to learn with help of Notre Dame scholars

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SOUTH BEND The South Bend Community School Corporation (SBCSC) will invite parents to attend an annual event on Monday at the Century Center. The magnet fair is a chance for area parents and students to learn more about a unique learning opportunity within the corporation.

Thirteen schools offer magnets, including four high schools and nine primary and intermediate schools. A magnet is what the SBCSC describes as an enriching educational experience in a real-world setting. At the high school level, the magnet is an option for students to expand learning in creative fields like engineering and robotics. At the primary level, the magnet is integrated into the curriculum.

In the 2014-15 school year, Perley Fine Arts Academy is expanding its opportunities for K-4 students thanks to a new partnership with the University of Notre Dame. Fulbright scholars are interacting with students on a daily basis to teach them Chinese and Italian.

"They're still very young, so I think it's very easy for them to pick up a new language and to get the sounds right," said Alessio Compagnino, a Fulbright Language Italian Teaching Assistant.

Perley is a fine arts magnet, meaning teachers have written a supplemental guide integrating arts into the regular curriculum, so students can begin seeing connections among those subjects, according to the SBCSC website. Students also have a chance to learn outside of the classroom through free after school programs.

"They learn piano, violin, cello, they do modern dance. They do media. They do abstract art," said Jill Vandriessche, the Principal at Perley.

"We have to prepare our kids for a global future. And what does our global future look like? It looks like a mixed world. A world that is experiencing different cultures, different experiences," said Vandriessche.

Perley is just one of many magnet opportunities in the area. To learn more, parents are encouraged to attend Monday's free magnet fair at the Century Center from 6-7:30 p.m. Click here for more information.