When Magnet Schools of America (MSA) announced its Principal of the Year, Martin Reid, was praying his name would be called.
“My school, students and alumni need the positive exposure,” Reid explained. “So any national publicity is great.”
Now, they have it. Reid is the principal of Arthur & Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts located in Miami, Fla., which now boasts a lengthy list of students eagerly waiting to enter. The school has an impressive rating of 4.4. out of 5 on Google, and now attracts students from all walks of life. Reid believes that what sets his institution apart from the rest is the arts-focused curriculum.
“The impact of the arts on student achievement it is very telling. Anywhere this happens within curriculum, students simply achieve more,” Reid said. “The arts improve the part of the brain that processes critical thought.”
According to its website, the school now offers specialized studies in band, choral studies, orchestra, dance, creative writing, theatre, television production, and visual arts.
The study of arts has been proven to sharpen the mind. According to researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), “students with high arts involvement performed better on standardized achievement tests than students with low arts involvement.”
Arthur & Polly Mays Conservatory was once Mays Middle School before Reid took over its leadership. He quickly transformed the middle school to cater to sixth through 12th grade students. The 1992 elementary education graduate said he began his career at the elementary level, but said he believes that middle school is “ground zero.”
“Middle school is critical,” Reid said. “That’s when kids are most impressionable, and I wanted to set that example.”
In a day where the “preschool to prison pipeline” is a real, harsh reality, the educator has made it his mission to serve as a mentor, and not just an administrator.
“I’m there for my students to be a strong support, to help and guide them through the adolescent years. My goal is to get them to high school,” Reid said.
He added, “I will catch them while they are young and make a difference. Growth is the best indicator for success.”