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HSRA History

With over a decade of turning around the lives of countless young people, read below to learn about the history of HSRA.

Pilot Program

HSRA began as a pilot program developed by Studio 4 Enterprises in December 1996. After a recording career with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Prince, David T.C. Ellis started Studio 4 as a recording production facility. Eventually, youth from the community who were at significantly high risk for dropping-out of school starting exhibiting an interest in the studio and recording their music. David soon had the idea to build an educational pilot program recognizing the need to address the drop out crisis in his community. Enrollment in the program, which began with fifteen learners, grew quickly through word of mouth. In March 1997, Studio 4 developed a relationship with St. Paul Family Learning Center and Designs for Learning in order to build the program to a point where it could exist independently.

High School for Recording Arts was born in July 1998 with its approval as an independent charter school district by the Minnesota Department of Education. In 2001, HSRA was approved for a three-year renewal of its charter by the St. Paul School District, HSRA’s sponsor. The charter was renewed again in 2004 and 2008. In the summer of 2008, High School for Recording Arts, with the support of the Minnesota Commissioner of Education, amicably moved authorization of its charter from St. Paul Public Schools to Pillsbury United Communities (PUC). Today student enrollment has stabilized at just over 200 students.

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Learn More About Studio 4

Studio 4 is the professional recording studio that founded HSRA. Learn more about how it has grown to also develop the Studio 4 model, which provides management, pedagogy, and consulting services in the area of education and the recording arts.

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Learn More about Designs for Learning

Designs for Learning has been establishing and supporting charter schools since 1995, including HSRA. Learn more about Designs for Learning here.

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