Education

Wednesday open house offers tips for Northwest arts auditions

Auditions are required to get into Northwest School of the Arts, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg magnet school covering grades 6-12.
Auditions are required to get into Northwest School of the Arts, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg magnet school covering grades 6-12. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

A Wednesday open house at Northwest School of the Arts will help prospective students prepare for the auditions they must complete to get in next year.

Northwest is a visual and performing arts magnet open to students in grades 6-12 from across Mecklenburg County. But students who don’t realize they must audition are sometimes disappointed when they aren’t eligible for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools magnet lottery.

The lottery for 2016-17 magnet programs opens Friday and runs through Jan. 25.

Northwest’s open house is Wednesday at the school, 1415 Beatties Ford Road, with self-guided tours at 5:30 p.m. and a presentation in the auditorium at 6:30 p.m.

Students need to apply for an audition, which can range from presenting a visual arts portfolio to performing a song or dance piece. Preparation often takes about three weeks, said auditions coordinator Susan Donkle. Students who haven’t auditioned can’t get a seat in the first lottery, though they may get a second chance to audition if seats remain unfilled.

In recent years, Northwest and several other magnet schools offered busing only through shuttle stops, which meant parents had to get their children to pickup locations at neighborhood schools. This year CMS is offering the option of bus stops within walking distance of homes, in hopes of making magnets more accessible.

Learn more about the Northwest auditions at http://nwsa-auditions.weebly.com/. CMS will hold a school options fair at the Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, 1430 Alleghany St., on Jan. 9.

Ann Doss Helms: 704-358-5033, @anndosshelms

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