The Canton City School District greatly values the importance of the arts in developing well-rounded students and enhancing the school day. It is widely believed that participation in the arts can spark a student's critical thinking skills, enhance communication skills, and improve focus and discipline. Participation in the arts also can give students motivation to participate in other aspects of their education, and  improve self-esteem and social skills.

    In the CCSD, we offer a variety of experiences in both visual and performing arts.


    Currently over 10 percent of our students are involved in vocal or instrumental music.


    Ensembles that we offer for band:

    Concert Band
    Marching Band
    Steel Band
    Pep Band
    Jazz Band
    Percussion Ensemble
    Saxophone Ensemble
    Clarinet Ensemble
    Brass Ensemble
    Competition Percussion Ensemble 

    Vocal Ensembles:

    Concert Choir
    Freshmen Choir
    Early College Ensemble
    Show Choir
    Advanced Show Choir
    A Cappella Pop Choir
    Men's Ensemble
    Gospel Choir
    Competition/Contest Choir
    String/Orchestra Offerings

    Main Campus Symphonic Strings
    Downtown Campus Concert Strings
    Guitar Offerings

    4 guitar ensembles
    1 College Credit Plus guitar ensemble
    Modern music ensemble


    The McKinley Speech and Debate Team is always well represented at the state and national level. 


    Stepping is a rising art form and grows in participation here in the CCSD each year. In stepping, the body is used as an instrument to create intricate rhythms and sounds through a combination of footsteps, claps, and the spoken word.

    The team consists of steppers from the C2RA Academy at Lehman, Early College High School, Summit Academy, Canton South High School, McKinley Downtown Campus and the STEAMM Academy @ Hartford. The team qualified and competed at the National Step Competition at Morehouse College in Atlanta in the summer of 2019.  Step skills are being taught at the elementary and middle school levels in our after school programs.

    Gibbs Step Team


    All students, alongside our performing arts students, have the opportunity to stage professional shows on the stage of Umstattd Performing Arts Hall, home to the Canton Symphony Orchestra. Recent shows include 




     CTE Performing Arts Senior Showcase

    Seven Sceniors

     Seven seniors

    All School Musical: Pippin


    The Arts Academy @ Summit is proud to have its own state-of-the-art piano and dance labs. The piano lab, officially named “PIANOFORTE,” features 28 KORG electric pianos, complete with upgraded benches and headsets with microphones. A teacher station allows music teachers Holly Flowers and Deborah Paulis to speak back and forth with the students individually, or in large or small groups using wifi and an iPad. The Dance lab is also a recent addition to the Arts Academy. It includes a new laminate floor, a wall of mirrors, and ballet barres. A generous donation provided for the mirrors and barres. Dance teacher Kelly Winn and her husband installed the floor.

    piano lab


    Each year our McKinley guitar ensembles have great opportunites to participate in seminars and festivals with their teacher, George Dean. His courses include:

    Guitar Students-Guitar Orchestra, Modern Band/ Kent State CCP Chamber Ensemble and Kent State CCP Studio Ensemble





    Kennedy Williams, McKinley Class of 2019, sang the National Anthem before the Cleveland Cavaliers game March 2, 2019, at Quicken Loans Arena.

    Arts Academy music teacher Debby Paulis was named one of 10 finalists for the Canton Symphony Orchestra’s 2019 Music Educator of the Year Award. This is a county-wide award. 


    Many of our high school musicians competed at the Ohio Indoor Performance Association Central Crossing competition in 2019 for the first time. McKinley came away with a 1st place finish in this competitive indoor drumline contest.


    The 2019 Career Technical Education Performing Arts Spring musical and was one of the most successful shows in recent years. Students created costume & makeup designs, and choreography.

    They also had the opportunity to work with one of the Performing Arts Advisory Board members, Kimberly Phillips, to learn authentic Haitian dance about the culture and identity of the characters they portrayed to more accurately convey character and plot.


    Each year our after school program collaborates with the New Direction Performing Arts Academy to perform a one-night-only musical. The 2019 performance of Aladdin was a huge success. We also had guest performances by En-Rich-Ment, the ECA Step Dancers, and Cedar’s Ukulele group.