The Aztec Arts Academy hopes to collaborate with McCallum Theatre

Palm Desert High School is pleased to announce the creation of the Aztec Arts Academy. This new program offers career technical education (CTE) through arts, media, and entertainment pathways. Courses will be offered in music technology, vocal music, instrumental music, dance, and theater. The Aztec Arts Academy looks forward to collaborating with McCallum Theatre and local industry professionals offering students opportunities to be consumers, performers, and technicians in the arts, media, and entertainment (AME) sectors.

The Aztec Arts Academy will build on Palm Desert High School’s strong tradition of fine choral, instrumental, and theatrical performances. The Aztec Arts Academy will also partner with the well developed Palm Desert High School film and broadcasting pathway to provide interdisciplinary opportunities such as live streaming, lighting, sound, and film creation through student performances and recitals. This collaborative focus will allow students to gain real industry experiences for all AME pathways at Palm Desert High School.

Introducing the Aztec Arts AcademySpecifically, the Aztec Arts Academy aims to provide students with the opportunity to create, perform, critique, and develop an understanding and respect for the performing arts in all of its forms. Our philosophy is that the arts are an essential aspect of human existence and that arts education is therefore a crucial component for a truly holistic education. Our student-tailored performance-based curriculum aims to equip students planning to study the performing arts in college with the foundation needed for success, as well as give students with other interests the opportunities only found through arts learning, creating, analyzing, consuming, and performing.

Through project-based ensemble participation, students discover, create, refine, synthesize, improvise, and perform with confidence and artistic knowledge gained through focused formative assessment and peer interaction. Our CTE students capitalize on the project-based environment and focus on learner outcomes supporting 21st century skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication.

A huge part of these new pathways is the new course offering titled Collaborative Performing Arts seminar designed to prepare students committed to pursuing the performing arts (music, theatre, dance) at the college level and/or as a viable career pathway in the entertainment industry. Successful career preparation involves both broad and in-depth academic and technical preparation as well as the cultivation of flexibility, problem-solving abilities, and interpersonal skills. This course is designed to help students discover the appropriate knowledge, skills, and practical experience to pursue their chosen profession, whether that profession requires postsecondary education, graduate training, or apprenticeship. This course is open to all students in all of the AME pathways and is meant to be a collaborative experience.

The program will begin during the summer of 2021 with the summer music academy/camp. Palm Desert High School is glad to welcome Broadway clinician Justin Greer to help us with summer studies and kick off the introduction of the new course offerings the following year. The summer will conclude with a full musical performance in July. If students are interested in participating in the summer program you can contact Michael Cundari at [email protected].

Go Aztecs!

Reminder: New student registration will be open for DSUSD beginning Monday, April 19 and will continue through June 18. Parents and guardians of students new to the district should reach out to the child’s neighborhood school for information. Telephone numbers for the schools as well as information on registration can be found on the district’s website at


Image Sources

  • Performing arts: DSUSD
  • Play: DSUSD