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The West Bolivar School District, in partnership with Delta State University’s Bologna Performing Arts Center, recently began an arts-centered education initiative facilitated through the Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education Program. Throughout the 2012-2013 school year, national and local teaching artists have presented arts integration-based workshops and teaching demonstrations to the West Bolivar School District. On Monday, March 18, the West Bolivar Elementary and Middle School faculty attended a “Moving through Math” workshop, led by Sherice Ortman, teaching artist and instructional coach for the Waterloo, Iowa Community School District. This workshop was the last in a series that focused on the arts to enrich the instruction of other subject areas and increase student achievement. Arts Integration Workshops are now being planned for the 2013-2014 school year.
On Tuesday, March 19, teaching artist Sherice Ortman led “Movement through Math” teaching demonstrations in the elementary and middle school classrooms, in order to reinforce the concepts presented at Monday’s workshop. Previous workshops presented during the 2012-2013 school year include an Introduction to Arts Integration Workshop led by Althea Jerome and Kathryn Lewis, teaching artists from the Mississippi Arts Commission, along with special presentations by Jodie Engle and Kim Whitt, staff members at the Mississippi Arts Commission. Later in the school year, Paige Whelan, a San Francisco-based teaching artist, presented “Acting Right: Drama as a Classroom Management Strategy” to the teachers in the West Bolivar School District.
The Bologna Performing Arts Center and West Bolivar School District were one of twelve teams nationwide selected in 2012 to become members of the prestigious Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Selected because of their demonstrated commitment to the improvements of education in and through the arts, the partnership team participates in collaborative efforts to provide professional development opportunities in the arts for educators.