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August 2 , 2010

$1 Million for Arts Education Awarded to Tennessee

NASHVILLE - - The Tennessee Arts Commission was recently awarded over $1 million from the U.S. Department of Education through an Arts Education Model Development and Dissemination grant. Funds will be used for Arts360°, a whole-school instructional model that makes arts-based and arts integrated learning a focal point of the curriculum. Arts360° is based on the innovative Artist to Artist model pioneered by the Perpich Center for Arts Education, the North Dakota Council on the Arts, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. It includes year-round professional development for classroom teachers, arts specialists, and teaching artists.

The Commission developed Arts360° from lessons learned through the successful Value Plus Schools program, funded through a previous $906,000 U.S. Department of Education grantin 2006. “Value Plus gave us the evidence to prove the arts impact student achievement,” states Kim Leavitt, director of arts education for the Commission and the creator of both Value Plus and Arts360°. “All six Value Plus Schools made greater academic gains than the control schools, despite having larger numbers of economically disadvantaged students.” This is significant, Leavitt says, as research shows high poverty schools typically perform lower on standardized tests. 

While Value Plus was a statewide model, Arts360° will focus on one district, Knox County Schools, which was selected due to Mooreland Heights Elementary’s success with implementing Value Plus. Knox County Superintendant Dr. James McIntyre says the district is delighted to have additional resources to build upon Mooreland Height’s accomplishments. “We know that the arts are an important part of a well rounded education for children, but this initiative has demonstrated that integrating the arts across the curriculum can be beneficial to student learning in all subject areas.  We greatly appreciate the partnership with the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the support of Senator Jamie Woodson in making this exciting expansion a reality," stated Dr. McIntyre. Senator Woodson (R-Knoxville) is equally elated. “The arts educate the whole child. Programs like Arts360° will better prepare our next generation of Tennesseans to be more productive parents, better prepared community leaders, and fully engaged citizens.”

The Commission has made Arts Education a priority, according to executive director Rich Boyd, who notes that the agency values partnerships such as the one with Knox County, in order to carry out its mission to serve the citizens of Tennessee. “Arts360° would not be possible without the leadership of Governor Bredesen and continued support from the Tennessee General Assembly.”   

Participating Knox County schools are: Gap Creek Elementary, Green Magnet, Mount Olive Elementary, and New Hopewell Elementary. Mooreland Heights Elementary will serve as a mentor school with teachers modeling arts integration strategies.

For more information on Arts360°, contact Kim Leavitt at kim.leavitt@tn.gov

 

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