Home Education Recording arts as a Pathway to Reengagement, Social Justice and Pathway 

Recording arts as a Pathway to Reengagement, Social Justice and Pathway 


After a successful career as a recording artist, David “TC” Ellis created Studio 4 in St. Paul to spot budding music stars. It became a hangout spot for creative young people, most of whom had “dropped out of school due to boredom and a sense that school wasn’t relevant to their lives and dreams.” 

Ellis began thinking about a new kind of high school that would reengage learners through musicology and “put them on a positive tangent.” He created a pilot program for 15 learners in 1996. After being blown away by their genius and with the support of community groups, Minnesota’s early charter school policy, and a grant from Edvisions, Ellis and colleagues opened the High School for Recording Arts in 1998. 

For Ellis it was spiritual, and HSRA became a refuge for students. HSRA serves about 320 children with personalized project-based education through an asset-based method. The majority of students are enrolled in courses to learn music production, and the business side of music, using the Family, Respect and Community lens. HSRA has state-of the-art facilities for music production, including recording studios, rehearsal rooms and a performance space. 

Students of the HSRA also develop their…

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