Arts On Line Update – 3.14.2011

The “Well-Rounded” Education

After years of having the arts included as a core subject in federal policy, the arts education community is faced with adapting to a new approach to positioning the arts in the curriculum. Federal policy has not abandoned the arts as a core subject – at least not yet. But the arts are now clustered within the concept of having a “well-rounded” education (or the well-rounded curriculum). For U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, a “well-rounded” education or curriculum means that in addition to math, science, and language arts – we need to make sure that students have the arts, foreign language, history and civics, financial literacy, and environmental education.

In recent days, the Secretary has issued guidance to the Governors in the form of a letter and several white papers to explain how the states can adapt to the economic realities of shrinking budgets without cutting various aspects of education.

Polls and surveys from the Harris Poll and Pew Research Center tell us that the American public doesn’t want to cut K-12 education when choices need to be made. A Pew Research Center survey conducted of 1385 adults between February 2-7, 2011 showed that 62% of those polled favor increased federal funding for education. The Harris Poll of 2,566 adults surveyed online between January 17 and 24, 2011 showed that 71% opposed cutting federal aid to education.

But what does it say when an emphasis is placed on other subjects within the primary policies and materials (i.e. an emphasis on STEM subjects, mathematics, and reading), and guidance needs to be sent to try to encourage state and local policy makers not to cut other areas of the curriculum – areas currently identified within ESEA for over a decade as core subjects?  And arts education advocates are put in the position of following up with policy makers to try to ensure that they read these documents in hopes that perhaps the arts will continue to be included in the curriculum and supported by policies at the federal, state, and local school district levels.

The Secretary of Education has repeatedly identified the narrowing of the curriculum as the top concern expressed to him by parents nationwide.  The term “well-rounded” sounds a lot like electives are important as well as the core, or placing these “well-rounded” subjects at the “side” or making them available after-school, and encouraging students to take them because “a liberal arts education” is a good thing to consider in their overall education and human development.  We’ve been there time and time again. With the Department’s arts in education programs’ appropriation threatened in the current federal budget battle, we know that it will be possible for this important federal bully pulpit for the role of arts education to be eliminated – not intentionally, but because it will be “swept into” a list of programs that “we can no longer afford.”

In spite of the fact that the arts mean business – that we know that there are a myriad of jobs in the arts sector and Americans for the Arts has developed extraordinary data mechanisms to prove this. And that the arts are a recognized means to build the 4C’s – creativity, critical thinking and problem solving, and collaboration – all essential to both student achievement and economic success in a changing employment and economic environment.

We want to believe that the President and the Secretary inherently understand that the arts are important, and as a community we value the statements and the communications that have been issued in support of the arts and arts education. So the question is, What message does labeling subjects, including the arts, as important to the curriculum only in terms of the “well-rounded” curriculum send about the subjects described in this way? Well-rounded, educated people – or students achieving in school, work, and life? Enabling people with to build the skills they need to succeed now and in the future?  How do we incorporate the current “well-rounded” curriculum concept into our messaging without jeopardizing the gains made for the arts as core subjects? And perhaps most important – Will positioning the arts as part of a “well-rounded” education succeed as a strategy to ensure access to the arts for all children?

Kathi R. Levin
Arts Education Consultant

129th Ohio General Assembly:  The Ohio House and Senate will hold sessions and committee hearings this week.  The House and Senate Education Committees will also meet. Hearings on the FY12-13 budget have been scheduled, pending introduction of the legislation.

Governor Kasich is expected to submit the FY12-13 budget proposal to the Ohio House on March 15, 2011.  The Governor plans a town hall meeting on the budget at 6:00 PM at the Capitol Theater in the Riffe Center also on March 15, 2011.  Admission will require a ticket, which can be obtained here.  The governor and cabinet members will provide a briefing and then take questions. The event will be streamed online and via satellite to TV stations.

The Office of Budget and Management reported some good economic news this week in the February 2011 Monthly budget update. Year to date state revenues are above estimates by $470 million, due in part to higher than estimated personal income tax revenues and sales tax revenues.  Spending is also down for some programs, including Medicaid. Overall the state’s FY11 budget is expected to have a surplus by the end of June 2011.

A U.S. District Court in Cleveland denied Martha Harris’ request for a temporary injunction to retain her seat on the State Board of Education.  Mrs. Harris was appointed in 2008 by Governor Strickland for a four year term on the State Board ending in 2012, but her appointment was never confirmed by the Ohio Senate.  Determining that the seat was vacant because of the lack of confirmation, Governor Kasich appointed Angela Thi Bennett to complete the term in February 2011.  Mrs. Harris filed a lawsuit in federal court on February 14, 2011.

The Ohio House approved on March 9, 2011 HB36 (Kozlowski), which increases the number of calamity days from three to five.  The Ohio Senate approved on March 9, 2011 SB9 (Manning), which eliminates the requirement that school districts provide all-day Kindergarten, and permits certain school districts to charge for all-day Kindergarten.

This Week at the Statehouse

MONDAY, MARCH 14, 2011

House Commerce and Labor: The House Commerce and Labor Committee, chaired by Representative Uecker, will meet on Monday, March 14, 2011 at 1:00 PM in hearing room 313.  The committee will receive testimony on SB5 (Jones) Collective Bargaining Reform.

TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 2011

Senate Education Committee: The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner, will meet on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 9:30 AM in the South Hearing Room. The committee will receive testimony on the following bills:

  • SB81 (Cates) Teach for America/Educator License:  Qualifies Teach for America participants for a resident educator license.
  • HB30 School Funding (Gardner) Eliminates spending and reporting requirements related to the school funding system; abolishes the School Funding Advisory Council; eliminates the requirement that school districts offer all-day kindergarten.
  • SB86 (Sawyer) Community School – DYS Adults:  Permits the establishment of a community school to serve adults of school age who are incarcerated or who have been released from the custody of the Department of Youth Services, and declares an emergency.

WEDNESDAY, March 16, 2011

House Commerce and Labor: The House Commerce and Labor Committee, chaired by Representative Uecker, will meet on Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 9:00 AM in hearing room 121.  The committee will receive testimony on SB5 (Jones) Collective Bargaining Reform.

The House Finance and Appropriations Committee, chaired by Representative Amstutz, will meet on Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 9:00 PM in hearing room 313 and reconvene after session.  Pending introduction and referral, the committee will receive testimony on the FY12-13 budget bill from Tim Keen, Director of the Office of Budget and Management, and the Legislative Service Commission.

House Health and Aging Retirement and Pensions Subcommittee: The House Health and Aging Retirement and Pensions Subcommittee, chaired by Representative Kirk Schuring, will meet on Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 2:30 PM in room 018 to receive testimony on HB69 (Wachtmann) Pension Reform.

The House Education Committee: The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton will meet on Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 5:00 PM in hearing room 017. The committee will receive testimony on the following bills:

  • HB135 (Burke) Free School Meal Benefits:  Requires direct certification of students for free school meal benefits at least five times each school year.
  • HB139 (McKenney) Northeastern Ohio Universities:  Renames the Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy as the Northeast Ohio Medical University, and declares an emergency.
  • HB136 (Huffman) Parental Choice and Taxpayer Savings Scholarship Program: Replaces the Educational Choice and the Cleveland scholarship program with the Parental Choice and Taxpayer Savings Scholarship Program and establishes the Special Education Scholarship Program.
  • HB96 (Celeste) Dyslexia:  Specifies dyslexia as a specific learning disability and requires a pilot project to provide early screening and intervention services for children with dyslexia.

THURSDAY, MARCH 17, 2011

House Commerce and Labor: The House Commerce and Labor Committee, chaired by Representative Uecker, will meet on Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 9:00 AM in hearing room 121.  The committee will receive testimony on SB5 (Jones) Collective Bargaining Reform.

The House Finance and Appropriations Committee, chaired by Representative Amstutz, will meet on Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 9:00 PM in hearing room 313 and reconvene at 1:00 PM.  Pending introduction and referral, the committee will receive testimony on the FY12-13 budget bill from several departments, including Health, Developmental Disabilities, Aging, Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, and Job and Family Services, regarding shared responsibilities for health care.

News from Washington, D.C.

Update on Federal Funding for Arts in Education:  The U.S. Senate defeated two measures on March 9, 2011 to fund federal programs through September 30, 2011. As a result, Congressional leaders have introduced in the U.S. House another continuing resolution (and additional budget cuts) to ensure that the government can keep operating when authorization for current governmental spending expires on March 18, 2011.

On March 9, 2011 the Senate first voted on an amendment to H.R. 1 (Senate Amendment 149), offered by the Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Senator Daniel Inouye.  This amendment would have funded federal programs through September 30, 2011, but was defeated by a vote of 42 to 58.  Eleven Senate Democrats joined most Senate Republicans to defeat the amendment. (The amendment needed 60 votes to pass.)

The amendment would have restored funding for several education programs, including Arts in Education ($40 million), the National Endowment for the Arts ($167 million), and the National Endowment for the Humanities ($167 million). Funding for these programs was eliminated in a “stop-gap” continuing resolution that Congress approved on March 2, 2011 to avoid a government shut-down through March 18, 2011.

The amendment also reduced funding for some education programs including the Teacher Incentive Fund, which allocates grants to districts to create pay-for-performance programs, the Educational Technology state grants, and the Improving Teacher Quality State grants.

The Senate then voted on H.R. 1, which also was defeated by a vote of 44 to 56. H.R. 1 was approved by the U.S. House on February 19, 2011, and would fund government agencies and departments through September 30, 2011 (FY11).   It includes cuts of more than $61 billion from the federal budget, including $5 billion from the U.S. Department of Education’s budget; $1 billion from Head Start; $40 million for Arts in Education; and reduces funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Committee Approves D.C. Voucher Program:  The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Representative Darrell Issa chair, approved on March 10, 2011 the “Scholarships for Opportunity and Results” (SOAR) Act (H.R. 471), which includes language to re-authorize the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (D.C. OSP),  a program that provides low-income families with vouchers to attend private schools.  The program was first authorized in 2004, but Congress stopped the program from accepting new enrollees after the 2010 school year.

On March 9, 2011 the U.S. Senate defeated an amendment that would have reinstated funding for the program for the school year.

Testimony on the Education Budget:  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, chaired by Representative John Kline, on March 9, 2011. He urged lawmakers to revamp the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) to make it more fair and flexible, and focus on students most at risk. According to estimates prepared by the U.S. DOE, four out of five schools could fail to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) targets in math and reading next year, making the number of low performing schools unmanageable.  With many states facing cuts in education budgets, resources will not be available to help students who are most at risk in schools that have failed for several years. NCLB requires 100 percent of students to be proficient in math and reading by 2014.

During the hearing Representative Kline asked Secretary Duncan to do more to eliminate wasteful or duplicative programs at the U.S. DOE. Some duplicative programs have come to light in a recent report released by the Government Accounting Office (GAO).  In that report the GAO identified, for example, 80 federal programs that focus on improving teacher quality operating through several different agencies.

What Did We Learn from the State of the State Address? As Ohioans wait for Governor Kasich to introduce his administration’s FY12-13 budget this week, one thing is certain, Governor Kasich provided few specifics or new information about what might be included in the FY12-13 budget during the State of the State Address on March 8, 2011.

After recounting the economic challenges Ohio faces, Governor Kasich said that his administration was “….putting a budget together that can transform our state”, and “if you’ve seen a lot of change in these first seven weeks, you ain’t seen nothing yet.” He also warned that those who had used the federal stimulus money to sustain or expand government services during the economic crisis would have a difficult time coping with the budget proposal, sending a ominous message to most school districts and local governments that had used federal stimulus dollars to prevent teacher and other layoffs.

The Governor also repeated some familiar themes for education: education is critical to our economic future; “more choice, more accountability, more dollars in the classroom instead of the bureaucracy will improve our schools”; education must be linked to business opportunities; higher education must be able to commercialize more products; and Teach for America will come to Ohio. He also said that he was going to show the movie “Waiting for Superman”.

Other ideas that the Governor has promoted in the past were also mentioned in the speech.  These include sharing services to increase efficiencies; preserving the reduction in state personal income tax rates; reforming prescription drug laws; revamping health care and Medicaid; supporting the elderly in their homes; reforming criminal sentencing; increasing the birth weight of babies; and more.

Saying that the enemy of the state is joblessness and poverty, Governor Kasich repeated often during the speech that, “The state of the State and the future of Ohio is in our hands” and urged Republicans and Democrats to find things to work together on, and “climb the mountain and make Ohio great.”

A transcript of the State of the State Address is available.

Democrats Release Compact:  House Democrats, led by House Minority Leader Armond Budish, released a document entitled “Democratic Compact with the Middle-Class” on March 7, 2011, a day before Governor Kasich presented the State of the State address.  The compact describes the following ten principles and legislative initiatives that the House Democratic caucus will promote to strengthen middle class families and communities in Ohio, and promote economic development:

  • Protect the rights of all workers to join together to collectively bargain for wages, benefits, and terms of employment
  • Keep college tuition affordable
  • Create, maintain and attract good paying jobs
  • Ensure a high quality education for all children
  • Ensure quality care for older and disabled Ohioans
  • Fight for affordable health care for all Ohioans
  • Fight against cuts to police, fire, and other vital services
  • Honor those who keep us safe
  • Protect Ohio’s assets and natural resources
  • Protect consumers and homeowners

The compact is available.

Study of Wealthy Households Released:  The Center for Community Solutions released on March 7, 2011 a study entitled “State Tax Cuts for Wealthy Households Disproportionately Benefit Urban Counties” by Jon Honeck, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy.  The study analyzed the location of households with federal adjusted gross incomes over $200,000, which constitute two percent of all Ohio tax returns, and found that high income residents are over-represented in urban counties, such as Cuyahoga, Franklin, and Hamilton. Twenty-one rural counties have fewer than 100 high-income households.

According to the study, top income households have benefited the most from the 21 percent reduction in income tax rates, which have been reduced to their lowest levels since the early 1980s, and the benefits of the tax cuts have been unevenly distributed among Ohio’s regions.

The study recommends that rather than reducing vital public services any further, “Restoring the top state income tax rate for the highest-income households is the best way to raise revenue to help fill the state’s $8 billion budget deficit.” This would raise between $450 and $500 million in 2012, and should be part of a balanced approach to solving the state’s budget deficit.

The report is available.

State Board of Education to Meet: The State Board of Education, Rob Hovis president, will meet on March 14-15, 2011 at the Ohio School for the Deaf, 500 Morse Road, Columbus.

The Executive Committee, chaired by Rob Hovis, will meet on March 14, 2011 at 8:45 AM to discuss the Board meeting calendar for 2011-2012.

The Achievement, Capacity, and Urban Schools committees will meet at 9:00 AM.

The Achievement Committee, chaired by Mike Collins, will discuss and approve a resolution to adopt Model Curricula in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies; discuss and approve a resolution of intent to adopt Pre-K English Language Arts and math Standards; receive a presentation on the Interstate Compact for Educational Opportunities for Military Children; and discuss the value added process and calculations.

The Capacity Committee, chaired by Kristen McKinley, will discuss Rules 3301-104-01 to 03, Expenditures for Computers or Internet Based School Rules and discuss the model policy for Tobacco Free Schools.

The Urban Schools Committee Meeting, chaired by Rob Hovis, will review current performance data of urban schools, discuss characteristics of high performing schools, and discuss future outcomes for the committee.

At 11:00 AM the Board will recognize the Ohio Milken National Educator Award Recipient and Ohio’s finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teacher.  The Board will also receive a presentation from Andrew Naab, the Ohio Youth Governor.

Following lunch at 1:00 PM the Board will receive a presentation about Race to the Top.

At 2:45 PM the Next Generation Learning Committee, chaired by Dennis Reardon, and the Advocacy and Outreach Committee, chaired by Mary Rose Oakar will meet.  The Advocacy and Outreach Committee will recommend a position on HB96 (Celeste), which specifies dyslexia as a specific learning disability and requires a pilot project to provide early screening and intervention services for children with dyslexia.

The Board will then receive reports from the Executive, Achievement, Capacity, and Urban Schools committees; review reports; and review resolutions that will be considered at the business meeting on March 15, 2011.

A Chapter 119 Hearing will be conducted at 4:00 PM regarding the following rules:

  • 3301-44-01 to 08 Post Secondary Enrollment Options
  • 3301-92-01, 02, Textbooks and Instructional Materials

TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 2011

On March 15, 2011 the Board will convene its business meeting at 8:00 AM and immediately proceed into executive session.

Following the executive session the Board will begin its business meeting at 9:30 AM.  The Board will elect Board officers by roll-call vote.

The Board will continue its meeting with the report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and public participation on agenda items.  The Board will then take action on eleven personnel items and the resolutions included below. The Board will then consider old, new business, and miscellaneous business, receive public participation on non-agenda items, receive the reports from the Next Generation of Learning and Urban Schools committees, and adjourn.

Resolutions to be Considered by the State Board of Education at their March 2011 Meeting

#3  Approve a Resolution of Intent to Amend Rule 3301-24-14 of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) entitled Supplemental Teaching License.

#4 Approve a Resolution of Intent to Adopt Preschool Content Standards and Their Successors in mathematics and English Language Arts.

#5 Approve a Resolution of Intent to consider confirmation of the Reynoldsburg City School District’s determination of impractical transportation of a certain student attending Liberty Christian Academy, a chartered nonpublic school, Licking County.

#6 Approve a Resolution of Intent to Adopt the Diversity Strategy Recommendations set forth in the OSU Kirwan Institute’s Report and Recommendations on Diversity Strategies for Successful Schools, and to Direct the Development of an Implementation Plan.

#7 Approve a Resolution to Accept the Recommendations of the Hearing Officer and to Deny the Transfer of School District Territory from the Mansfield City School District, Richland County, to the Lexington Local School District, Richland County, pursuant to Section 3311.24 of the Ohio Revised Code.

#8a  Approve a Resolution to Deny the Transfer of School District Territory from the Columbus City School District, Franklin County to the Westerville City School District, Franklin County, pursuant to Section 3311.24 of the Ohio Revised Code.

#8b  Approve a Resolution to Approve the Transfer of School District Territory from the Columbus City School District, Franklin County to the Westerville City School District, Franklin County, pursuant to Section 3311.24 of the Ohio Revised Code.

#9 Approve a Resolution to Accept the Recommendation of the Hearing Officer and to Deny the Transfer of School District Territory from the Bethel Local School District, Miami County, to the Miami East Local School District, Miami County, pursuant to Section 3311.24 of the Ohio Revised Code.

#10 Approve a Resolution to Accept the Recommendation of the Hearing Officer and to Approve the Transfer of School District Territory from the Alexander Local School District, Athens County, to the Athens City School District, Athens County, pursuant to Section 3311.24 of the Ohio Revised Code.

#20  Approve a Resolution to Amend Rule 3301-11-10 entitled payment of Scholarship Amounts.

#21 Approve a Resolution to Rescind and Adopt Rule 3301-24-03 entitled Teacher Education Programs.

#22 Approve a Resolution to Amend Rule 3301-39-01, to rescind and adopt Rules 3301-39-02 and 3301-39-03 and to rescind Rule 3301-39-04 regarding approval of nonpublic schools.

#23 Approve a Resolution to Adopt Model Curricula in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies in accordance with the requirements of Revised Code Section 3301.079.

#24 Approve a Motion to Relocate the State Board of Education’s Regularly Scheduled Administrative Rule Hearing from the Ohio School for the Deaf to the Ohio Department of Education, commencing with the Rule Hearings Scheduled for April 2011.

#25  Approve a Motion Regarding the 2011-2012 State Board Meeting Dates.

#26  Approve a Resolution to Accept the Surrender of and Revoke the Charter of Natural Learning Montessori Academy.

Responses to Times Blog:  Why Blame Teachers!:  The New York Times “Room for Debate Blog” on March 6, 2011, asked eight education experts why teachers are being blamed by some for being ineffective and overpaid?

Responding to the question were Diane Ravitch, Frederick Hess, Richard Kahlenberg, Molly Putnam, Michale Goldstein, Jeffrey Mirel, Donna Foote, and Pedro Hoguera.

Diane Ravitch, educator and author, responded that the No Child Left Behind Act requires all students to be proficient in math and English language arts by 2014.  It assumes that poor student performance is caused by incompetent teachers and principals, “despite the fact that decades of social science show that family income is the most reliable predictor of test scores.”  The attacks on the teaching profession echo a “deeply ingrained American belief that anyone can teach, no training or experience necessary.”

She writes, “A historic strain of anti-intellectualism in American thought has merged with fiscal conservatism, producing the present campaign to dismantle the teaching profession.”

Frederick M. Hess, American Enterprise Institute, writes that American culture has always held teachers and teaching in low regard, and the current wave of criticisms are not an anti-teacher assault. The efforts to change collective bargaining, teacher evaluation, teacher tenure, are ways to correct structural problems that will lead to un-sustainable obligations for schools and states.

Michael Goldstein, founder of Match Charter School in Boston, believes that there are two camps in the current teacher quality debate:  those who want to improve teacher effectiveness, such as President Obama, Bill Gates, and Arne Duncan, and those who believe that teacher compensation is too high, such as the members of the Tea Party and conservatives.  He notes that the real challenge that schools are facing is — “low student effort — and often decorum — in many schools.”

Molly Putnam, a teacher at the High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology in Brooklyn, writes that politicians who want to eliminate seniority rules, because they believe that new teachers are better prepared, do not have all the facts. Experienced teachers understand classroom management, student learning styles, can mentor newer teachers, and provide schools with stability over time.

Read more about this discussion.

Bills Introduced

  • SB116 (Seitz) School Transportation Employees: Permits non-Civil Service school district boards to terminate positions of district transportation employees for reasons of economy and efficiency and contract with independent agents to provide transportation services as long as certain conditions are satisfied.
  • SB112 (Skindell) Ohio Health Care Plan: Establishes and operates the Ohio Health Care Plan to provide universal health care coverage to all Ohio residents.
  • SB113 (Skindell) Earned Income Tax Credit: Grants a state earned income tax credit equal to a percentage of the federal earned income tax credit.

FYI ARTS

Don’t harm students by cutting the arts:  The U.S. Department of Education released on March 3, 2011 guidelines and principles for states and school districts to follow to address budget shortfalls.

One document, “Guidance on Productivity” offers states and districts ideas about how to improve productivity and student achievement with specific examples, such as leveraging local partnerships and resources, promoting the use of technology, and changing teacher and principal compensation systems to reward excellence. The document recommends the following:

  • Policy makers should evaluate all policies and practices against the ultimate bottom line:  Is this policy or practice improving student outcomes?
  • Minimize harm to students when making decisions about which programs to eliminate and which programs to save. Avoid short-sighted cost cutting such as “reducing the number of days in the school year, decreasing the amount of instructional time, eliminating instruction in the arts and foreign languages, eliminating high-quality early learning programs, abandoning promising reforms, and indiscriminately laying off talented teachers be they new, mid-career, or veteran.”
  • Share ideas and learn from success to maximize resources.
  • Work collaboratively with stakeholders to make informed decisions and increase support for decisions.
  • Protect the neediest students and communities.
  • Close persistently low-performing schools and send the students to higher-performing schools in the district.
  • Make smart use of technology.
  • Tie compensation to student learning.
  • Reduce mandates that hinder productivity.

The other document, “Guidance on Flexibility” highlights the flexibility available under federal law (ESEA) to transfer federal dollars to other education programs without applying for a waiver. For example, a state, or school district, could spend money from its safe and drug-free school grant (carry-over funds) to improve teacher and leader effectiveness. Rural school districts have additional flexibility through the REAP-Flex provision to support a broader range of programs. Administrative funds for several grants can be consolidated to build the capacity of the state or local schools to meet student needs.

The documents are available.

Students express themselves through dance:  An article in the The Tennessean, “Station Camp students express ideas through dance” by Dessislava Yankova, describes how professional dance lessons inspired student creativity at Station Camp High School in Gallatin, Tennessee.  The teachers at Station Camp work with the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) through the educational program ArtSmart to connect teaching artists with teachers in school.

Choreographer Stephanie Walker, a teaching artist at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville, spent four days at Station Camp teaching 140 students to perform “Botanica”, and explored the elements of dance, choreography, and performance. English teacher James Dittes incorporated the dance lessons into an honors English course, in which dance was used as a metaphor to understand how Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson saw meaning in nature.

Students said that they liked the creative ways that dance could be used to communicate and express ideas and feelings.

The article is available.

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About OAAE

Since our founding in 1974, by Dr. Dick Shoup and Jerry Tollifson, our mission has always been to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Working at the local, state, and federal levels through the efforts of a highly qualified and elected Board of Directors, our members, and a professional staff we have four primary areas of focus: building collaborations, professional development, advocacy, and capacity building. The OAAE is funded in part for its day-to-day operation by the Ohio Arts Council. This support makes it possible for the OAAE to operate its office in Columbus and to work statewide to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Support for arts education projects comes from the Ohio Arts Council, The John F. Kennedy Center, Ohio Music Education Association, Ohio Art Education Association, Ohio Educational Theatre Association, VSA Ohio, and OhioDance. The Community Arts Education programs of Central Ohio are financially assisted by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners and the Greater Columbus Arts Council. We gratefully acknowledge and appreciate the financial support received from each of these outstanding agencies and organizations.
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