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STOP Award Semi Finalist

Posted November 18, 2021

STOP Award Semi Finalist

The High School for Recording Arts Named Sem-Finalists in $1 Million Prize to Transform Education


The High School for Recording Arts has been named one of 20 semi-finalists for the first ever $1 million STOP Award from the Center for Education Reform (CER). The STOP Award semi-finalists represent a microcosm of transformational, outstanding work from education providers who delivered for kids during the pandemic. They are big and small and represent public, private, charter, tech and community groups. They hail from both coasts and the states in between. CER is administering the award with Forbes as its media partner.


STOP stands for Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding, Permissionless. The High School for Recording Arts has served young people who have been pushed and kicked out of traditional schools across Minnesota for over 20 years. Founded by David “TC” Ellis in 1998 when he noticed young Black men of high school age showing up to his recording studio instead of going to school. As a result of recognizing their brilliance, creativity and need to create a welcoming, supportive educational learning community for them, the High School for Recording Arts was born. HSRA has dedicated itself to Minnesota’s youth who have been least served by the state’s public school system.


High School for Recording Arts provides a personalized and innovative education option to students. The school personalizes learning through robust arts offerings centered around its industry-standard recording studios. These studios serve as host to the world’s longest-running student-operated record label, Another Level Records, which supports the school’s career and technical training branch in the creative industries. Students earn paid internship positions to operate the record label, learn the ins-and-outs of the music industry, and earn industry standard certifications. The school also offers its alumni access to its 13th year certification program in audio/visual engineering called the Diverse Media Institute. In the last year, it launched a school support initiative called 4 Learning, designed to work with schools, districts and extracurricular programs in establishing their own recording arts program for student-centered learning, student retention, and re-engagement. In its first six months, 4 Learning has added four schools to its first-year portfolio.


High School for Recording Arts will join 19 other semi-finalists in Dallas, TX for a pitch competition where they will present their models to potential funders. At this convening during the week of November 28th, 2021, judges will narrow down the semi-finalists to a group of five, from which one winner will be selected and announced mid-December in Davos Switzerland. To support the school in their efforts, tag them with a comment on social media @HSRA_MN using the hashtag #STOPAward


For inquiries, please contact:

Tony Simmons

Executive Director, High School for Recording Arts

(612) 803-9540