Students at Three Lake Charles Charter Schools Learn Important Lessons from Dance

Dancing Classrooms build character and self esteem

LAKE CHARLES, La (Sept. 21, 2015) – Students are literally dancing their way into classrooms at Southwest Louisiana Charter Academy (SWLCA), Lake Charles Charter Academy (LCCA) and Lake Charles College Prep (The Prep.) Dancing Classrooms is a project of the American Ballroom Theater Company provided by the Whistle Stop, a non-profit child advocacy organization. This year, students are lacing up their dancing shoes to embark on an adventure that promises to raise their self-esteem, give them untapped confidence and even possibly perform better in school.

“Time and again I have witnessed the difference that this program has made with fifth grade students,” added Pam Quebodeaux, principal of Lake Charles Charter Academy. “Rebecca Middleton, one of our sixth graders who participates in the DC Company afterschool program, told me that the program not only inspired her to be a great dancer, but helped her to gain more confidence. Her mother says that Dancing Classrooms has helped Rebecca in numerous social aspects such as not being afraid to be on stage and being comfortable with herself.”

Principals at all three schools support the program and look forward to a successful year again this year. At the elementary school level, Dancing Classrooms is offered for fifth grade students.

“Students must be reached in a variety of ways,” said LaTonia Harris, principal at SWLCA. “We see students who have participated in Dancing Classrooms walking down the hallways with their heads held high, shoulders back and a twinkle in their eyes. Many are hesitant at first, but after about three or four classes, you can visibly see a difference in their stature and we have noticed that often referrals start to decrease for students who were struggling with behavior issues.”

Dancing Classrooms is also being implemented at The Prep, under the title of Dance Sport where select ninth and 10th grade students are learning important inter-social skills that transcend traditional teenage interactions.

“In today’s society, it’s often difficult for teenagers to socially interact in a way that allows physical contact and communication and is an appropriate and acceptable means of reaching each other,” said Lorette Bass, principal of The Prep. “Students in high school are so connected to their technology and over-exposed to a culture that dismisses appropriate boundaries. Dance Sport forces young adults to learn that respectful communication and personal interaction are not only possible, but actually enjoyable!”

Through generous donations by people like Barbara Newman, who contributed $3,000 to the program, instructors come into the school for a 10-week period. After learning a variety of dance moves, students present to parents and some compete in local, regional and national competitions. At the recent Colors of the Rainbow school competition, students from SWLCA and LCCA won gold and LCCA went on to win the Dancing Classrooms state championship.

“I believe in the children and think Dancing Classrooms is a beautiful idea,” said Newman. “I support anything that builds children’s self-esteem – especially when you can tell that they are having fun as a result.”

Southwest Louisiana Charter Academy, Lake Charles College Academy and Lake Charles College Prep are part of the Charter Schools USA family of schools. CSUSA currently operates nine charter schools throughout the State of Louisiana with a total of 76 in seven states serving nearly 70,000 students. CSUSA is the first education management company to receive district accreditation through AdvancED which allows all schools opened under its management to be accredited the first year. For more information, visit www.swlouisianacharter.org; www.lakecharlescharteracademy.org or www.lakecharlescollegeprep.org.

To schedule a visit at one of the Dancing Classrooms, please contact Colleen Reynolds to arrange an appropriate time. Parents and students will be available for interviews and all students are photo released.

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Media Contact:

Colleen Reynolds, APR – public relations counselor, Charter Schools USA

(239) 437-0040 or cell (239) 849-6400

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