7th - Grade 12

Stivers School for the Arts

  • 1313 E. Fifth Street Dayton, OH 45402
  • OFFICE: 937.542.7380
  • FAX: 937.542.7381


Students select one art area for their major concentration. A second magnet area is sometimes possible, depending on each student's course of study and required academic courses. Click below to learn more about each area.

Band  |  Choir  |  Creative Writing  |  Dance  |  Orchestra  |  Piano  |  Theatre  |  Visual Arts


Stivers band students play a diverse range of music from traditional band music to jazz.  Students may participate in the Philharmonic, Symphonic, and Jazz Orchestras. 

Students have the opportunity to take one-on-one studio lessons with adjunct faculty.  There are also masterclasses with professional musicians during the school year. 

Band students may participate in various regional and national competitions.  Many students have gone to prestigious music camps, such as Interlochen School for the Arts and Berklee School of Music.  Graduates have been accepted to prestigious colleges and universities such as Berklee School of Music, Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, and Rose Hulman, among others.


Jazz Orchestra is a year-long course of study that is open to any woodwind, brass, percussion, and piano students who are selected by the music faculty. Advanced jazz repertoire is chosen from professional libraries of current and historical composers and arrangers. Performance opportunities and master classes are offered with guest artists several times during the year. The Stivers Jazz band took first place at Boston's 2004 and 2008 Berklee Jazz Festivals among top high school jazz bands from across the nation.  Every concert that the Jazz Orchestra performs is recorded. The group has five CD recordings to date.


The Stivers Choir Magnet is an award-winning choral program.  The dedicated students in the Stivers choirs have earned numerous solo and ensemble awards.  Recently, Angela Brown performed in the Winter Garden of the Schuster Center, and the choir has collaborated with the nationally acclaimed Wilberforce University Choir, the Dayton Opera Guild, and the Sinclair Community College Choir.  Graduates of Stivers continue to earn scholarships to many of the country’s finest universities including Alabama A&M, Kentucky State, Central State, Wright State, and The Academy of American Music and Drama in New York City.

We are confident that all students in the Stivers Choir will enjoy being a part of this tradition as we continue to grow musically.  The mission of the Stivers Choir Magnet is to create an organization that produces quality performances in a fun and cooperative atmosphere.  The ultimate goal is to help each other reach the objectives of the program, enjoy positive, successful experiences, and provide opportunities at all ability levels.  Our goal is to create memories that will be cherished for a lifetime, to encourage students to appreciate a variety of musical styles, to develop in our students the skills needed to become lifelong musicians, to provide opportunities for students to sing in a healthy, resonant, and entertaining manner; and to set the standard of excellence in behavior and performance


From its inception in 1997, the six-year creative writing program has focused on the development of skills that would allow students upon graduation, to pursue a career as a professional writer or to work in the fields of journalism, publishing, and other areas related to creative writing. The department consists of Director, Bill Steinmetz, but also of five professional adjunct instructors who add their expertise and energy to the largest magnet program at Stivers.

 Students in the seventh grade begin to develop their craft as a writer in the survey classes for middle school students which focus not so much on technique but on standard writing form. During the six-year program, students develop their craft as a writer, experimenting with different genres of poetry, prose, and scriptwriting. A professional writing portfolio is an expectation of the department, and this process begins in the seventh-grade year where student writing samples are collected, edited, and archived in the Creative Writing room. Each year, student writing is preserved and archived and upon graduation, each senior student is given his or her professional writing portfolio which can be used during college entrance and scholarship interviews.


In over seventeen years of existence, the Dance Department has unfolded its ability to unearth the core energy of its students and shape it into artistic resourcefulness--the lifeblood of professional dance.  Students realize their gifts while studying dynamic movement forms: the pedestrian, the thoughtful, and the sublime.  As well, students are encouraged to use their creative energy to experiment with craft and forge new movement that catches their young eyes long before it is recognized as dance. 

 At Stivers School for the Arts dance students are alight with combustive creativity and knowledge that influences their approach to all they do and think for the balance of their learning lives.  They set academic rigor and creative inquiry to a multi-faceted investigation of the art form utilizing a time-consuming dance curriculum that is organized into progressive levels of technique, craft, history and performance.  This prepares them for higher education in a broad range of subjects.

 Student achievement is measured, qualitatively and quantitatively, by growth in physiological development and production of a senior portfolio that meets entry-level, university standards.  The dance department is peopled with exceptional students who are dancers.

 Stivers’ reputation has garnered notable affiliations, locally, statewide, and at universities throughout the country, resulting in performance and scholarship opportunities, in a broad range of majors, for its best students and impending graduates.


The Orchestra Magnet at Stivers School for the Arts focuses on developing each student’s skills as a soloist and as a performance group member.  The program is designed for students who play an orchestral instrument and who want to obtain an in-depth education in performance.  Our goal is to develop independent, expressive, and versatile musicians. Orchestra magnet students are expected to perform at the highest level.  The high expectations at Stivers allow students to excel in their magnet.  The course is demanding but fulfilling.  Students are required to play every day and practice every night.  They are also expected to participate in recitals and in solo and ensemble contests.  Students receive a grade as they would in any academic course.  There are three levels of performance groups based upon skill progression:  Entry Level, Developing Level, which is the Chamber Orchestra, and Highest Level, the Philharmonia Orchestra. 

 Besides these, there are also chamber ensembles, which are groups of three to six students.  These ensembles perform both within and outside of school.  One such ensemble is the Next Wave Strings, an afterschool, all-volunteer high school group.  It is student-led and facilitated by Lois Ramey.  This eclectic group performs diverse music ranging from Kashmir, an alternative group, to Led Zeppelin, The Police, and Coldplay.  Students use their classical skills and apply them to different genres of music.

 Applied individual lessons are the backbone of the program and they help to develop a student’s core performance skills.  These lessons are taught by an applied adjunct staff composed of local professional musicians.

 In addition, students are encouraged to participate in outside activities.  Past students have participated in the Dayton Volunteer Association Competition for Young Musicians, the Dayton Philharmonic Junior Strings Orchestra and Concerto Competition, and the Muse Machine Pit Orchestra.  This fall, students were also selected to perform in the OMEA Southwest Regional Orchestra and the Ohio University Honors Orchestra.  In addition, Stivers School for the Arts Orchestra members participates in the Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, the Junior Strings Orchestra, the Springfield Youth Orchestra, and the Muse Machine Orchestra.  Students are also encouraged to attend summer music camps like the Sphinx Performance Academy in Detroit, the All-State Orchestra, or the OMEA Regional Orchestra.

  One of the unique aspects of the program at Stivers is the multi-age mentoring that happens among students.  Students help each other, care about each other, and develop strong peer relationships.


The Stivers School for the Arts Piano Magnet offers serious young pianists in grades 7-12 a unique opportunity to be in an intensive and varied musical program.  Our Piano Magnet has 15 full size, weighed keys Kawai keyboards, a six-foot Steinway Grand, two Kawai Grands and two Kawai concert uprights for students use.  

 Our department cultivates complete musicianship skills, which includes:  piano performance techniques with expressive playing, written theory skill, knowledge of music history, and concert deportment.  Our mission is to foster musical, educational, personal, and social development through solo and group preparation and performance.

 Students received a private lesson each week from professional pianists on staff.  Those private instructors are Cissy Matthews (427-2138) and Bernadette O'Connor.

 Stivers’ Pianists compete annually at the OMEA (Ohio Music Educator Association ) Competition and the OMTA ( Ohio Music Teachers Association ) Scales Contest at Wright State University.  Stivers’ Pianists perform an average of eight concerts each year across the Miami Valley.  The department presents a winter and a spring concert at the school.


The Ringing Tigers Handbells were formed in 1998 and have become well known for exciting presentations of a variety of music.  The group consists of eighth through twelfth graders who ring a five-octave set of Schulmerich handbells.  The group meets daily to learn music theory, ringing techniques, showmanship, and a great variety of musical styles from classical pieces to the latest pop genres.

The Ringing Tigers have been invited five times to perform at the Ohio Music Educator Conference since 1998.  In November of 2003, the AGEHR Committee for Handbells and Handchimes in Music Education presented Stivers’ handbell program the 2003 Exemplary Award for Handbells/Handchimes.  Stivers was one of two nationwide selected for this honor.


The department is comprised of approximately 100 students.  The cornerstones of the department are commitment, discipline, rigor, and excellence.
We have a solid legacy that boasts a 98% success rate for students who gain acceptance and scholarships into collegiate theatre and film programs that include:  Emerson College, Ithaca University, New York University, Ohio Northern University, Tulane University, and Wright State University. 

We are also the only high school in the Dayton area to earn an invitation by the American High School Theatre Festival to perform at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.  We traveled to the festival in 2005 and our performance of Romeo You Idiot earned four out of five stars from the foreign press.  Recent alumni have earned roles in television and film and are being paid to perform in regional theatre.

Each student within the department is given the charge to continue adding blocks to this legacy.  Some students within the program desire to make acting, musical theatre or technical theatre their chosen career path while others desire to strengthen their communication and interpersonal skills.  Regardless of the initial draw, students are fully aware of the expectations and commitment necessary.  The Stivers Theatre Department is developing individuals who choose to pursue theatre as a profession as well as those who elect not to.  Nevertheless, upon graduation, each student leaves the department with a solid theatre foundation a strong sense of self, and a varied acting repertoire.  We gladly welcome students who have the desire and drive to excel. 

There are five levels within the theatre department: Intermediate Theatre, Theatre I, Theatre II, Theatre III, and Theatre IV.  Students are initially placed in courses based upon their acting ability.  Additional promotions are made through ability, portfolio, a letter of reflection, and an interview reviewing the student’s progress. 

We desire to have each student reach beyond his/her perceived potential and excel beyond what they envisioned was possible.  Our training includes the tools of the actor (body, voice, mind), improvisation, stage environment, production roles, audition techniques, scene study, theatre history, resume & portfolio development, repertoire development, studio lessons, private lessons, stage make-up, costume design and a variety of acting techniques (Stanislavski, Viewpoints, Strasberg, Meisner).


The Visual Arts Program provides instruction in artistic mediums such as drawing, painting, ceramics, and photography.

 Each year, Stivers artists compete in the Ohio Governor's Youth Art Exhibition.  2010 Top 25 Winners included two Stivers students, Zuri Ali and Jessica McLaughlin.  Stivers students also compete each year in the Congressional Art Competition.

 Two popular events each year include the annual Photography fundraiser; and "Soup Dressed Up", the annual ceramics fundraiser.



    9:00 a.m. – 2:15 p.m.



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