Phoenix International School of the Arts

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95 Catalpa Drive
La Plata, MD 20646
Grades: 6 - 8
Phone: 301-753-2098
Principal: Dr. R. Demetri Sermons
School #0110
MSDE Report Card (when available)

What makes us unique?

Phoenix International School of the Arts (PISOTA) is the first public charter school in Charles County, Maryland and is dedicated to nurturing artistic talent, fostering academic excellence, and preparing students for success in both the arts and academia. PISOTA is committed to designing a transformative educational experience that empowers students to excel in the performing and visual arts while cultivating their intellectual, social, and emotional growth. Located in La Plata, MD, PISOTA aspires to be a world-class institution that not only produces outstanding artists, but also globally-minded citizens. PISOTA places a strong emphasis on academic rigor alongside artistic development. Our dedicated faculty, with expertise in their respective fields, employ innovative teaching methods that enable students to excel academically. We offer a comprehensive globally recognized curriculum that aligns with state standards while allowing students to explore their passions in the arts. PISOTA is committed to developing a world-class arts program in disciplines such as dance, music, theater, visual arts, voice, instrument, and museum studies. Our partnerships with local arts organizations offer unique opportunities for real-world experience. We celebrate diversity in all its forms and are committed to creating a welcoming, inclusive, and equitable environment for students from all backgrounds. We are supported in this effort through our membership in the Diverse Charter Schools Coalition. PISOTA values the unique perspectives and talents that each student brings to our community. PISOTA actively engages with the local community and the broader arts world. Our students regularly participate in performances, exhibitions, and community service projects, fostering a sense of civic responsibility and an appreciation for the arts' transformative power. Phoenix International School of the Arts stands as a beacon of artistic excellence and educational achievement, preparing students to become not only skilled artists but also informed and compassionate individuals. Our commitment to academic excellence, diversity, and community engagement sets us apart as a leader in arts education. We invite you to explore our school further and discover how PISOTA is shaping the artists and leaders of tomorrow.


Phoenix International Incorporated is the 501(c)(3) charitable organization that operates PISOTA. Our charge is to develop and implement an ecosystem where rural youth, who have historically, and currently, been marginalized due to location, race, or socio-economic standing, gain access to critically needed educational experiences, in-person and online, that challenge and prepare them to take stake in the global economy. The online piece is important: we view our efforts through the concept of web3: a new, more inclusive and more decentralized iteration of the world wide web that can help to empower communities of color. Our impact model is three-pronged: no-to-low-cost, innovative educational models, including free public charter schools; out-of-school youth and community programming; and sector development through professional development collaboratives and resource-sharing.

Mission and Vision:

Inspire and prepare the next generation of global artists, scholars, innovators, and changemakers to use their intrinsic gifts to make the world a better place. For middle school students in Charles County, MD. PISOTA will provide a supportive learning community that promotes creative exploration, global competence and bilingualism, holistic wellness, learning enriched by real-world experiences, and access to experts - all combined with arts integrated teaching practices, an inquiry-based international curriculum, and the latest in technology and innovation. Our scholars learn academic and artistic concepts through The Creative Process and Cambridge Learner Attributes and they embody our core values to RISE (Reflect, Innovate, Serve, and Excel).


Program components that support the academic program and school culture:

  • Arts Integration
  • Arts as curriculum
  • Cambridge International School
  • Community School
  • Crew (advisory with structured SEL curriculum)
  • Dress Code
  • Habits of Mind
  • Project-based Learning
  • Restorative Practices
  • Student Service
  • Summer Programs

Phoenix International provides out-of-school, direct-service programming grounded within a critical arts lens for youth in elementary to high school. Since 2020, these programs have reached over 300 youth in the southern Maryland region. Our signature programs are:

  • DREAM Academy - geared toward upper elementary students, participants in this program explore and create local approaches to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, using the creative process and building visual arts pieces to bring awareness to key social issues.
  • Beats, Bars, and Social Justice - developed in partnership with Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, Mumu Fresh, this music education program serves middle-and-high school-aged youth and teaches participants the skills of songwriting, the influence of music and sound, and the impact of music on society. The program culminates in the participants’ fully produced songs about social topics of interest and shared through a listening party for participants and their invited guests
  • Southern Maryland Youth Poet Laureate - the National Youth Poet Laureate program celebrates our nation’s top youth poets who are committed to artistic excellence, civic engagement, and social impact. The Southern Maryland Youth Poet Laureate is a local level poetry competition that qualifies local youth to compete and be recognized at the regional and national level. The 2021 presidential inaugural poet hailed from this program as the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate.

Lottery Preferences:

  • Siblings of current students
  • Staff and board member children (for up to 10% of the lottery)
  • Charles County residents

Principal's Message:

I am most proud of our school community when staff, scholars, and their families feel heard, seen, and cared for.