Defining a Good Arts Education
The KC’s got a couple great opportunities coming up to bring some national attention to your local community. We host two national competitions: One for schools and one for districts.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Schools of Distinction in Arts Education awards highlight five schools annually that have developed exemplary arts education programs. Though we recognize the importance of federal, state, and local policy makers in providing arts education, this award recognizes of the role individual school leaders, educators, and communities play in providing a creative learning environment for outstanding student achievement. The award garners media attention for the winning school and for the nominating member of the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network, and it comes with a $2,000 unrestricted cash award.
The second award is a unique one. The Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network (KCAAEN) and the National School Boards Association (NSBA) annually recognize a local school board for its outstanding support of the arts in its district. This national award has been presented annually since 1988. Only one school board per state makes it to the national competition, and the winner receives the award during a plenary session of the National School Boards Association Convention. The winning district receives a $10,000 cash award to use for their arts education programs.
In developing these awards, the Kennedy Center has described what it feels is a high quality arts education. Each award evaluates elements of community and parent participation, and each requires that all students have access to at least four major art forms—music, visual arts, dance, and theater. The award goes to those with sustained, sequential, standards-based arts education that is augmented by strong cultural community participation.
My first year working with these programs was heartening. I read so often about cuts to arts education, battles at the school board or state level to retain the arts, and other assaults on a deep and rich education for kids. But reviewing the nominations for these awards was invigorating. Administrators and educators can and are providing fantastic arts education opportunities to their kids—all their kids and all the art forms.
You can read the winning applications online. You can learn more or nominate some outstanding folks in your community too.