2017-2018 School Year

October 2017

Making Today Count: The Arts are Thriving & Well at our District!

During my visits at two more elementary schools this past month, I was again feeling appreciative with a warm heart for how our enthusiastic, talented teachers bring the arts to life for our students. In one classroom, the art teacher was working with kindergarten students as they recognized and specified the defining attributes of given shapes. With smiling faces, the students were eagerly participating in the learning of the rules about shapes, making comparisons between shapes and real life objects within the room.

In another art classroom, third grade students were engaged in a project that brought together collaboration and individual creativity. The teacher shared how the art project supported content taught to students in a different subject area, demonstrating the success of cross-curriculum planning. Students excitedly showed me their designs, along with an explanation of how their artwork related to content from another subject.

Equally pleasing was to see students thoroughly enjoying their music classes. One of my visits included an observation of an adapted music class for students with multiple disabilities.  Students were manipulating various musical tools in order to produce sound and work on tactile skills. The adapted activity fit the specific needs of the students, and undoubtedly, contributed in meaningful ways to their personal educational growth. Interacting with the students as they participated in music class truly warmed my heart.

In recent dialogue with a family about their student’s budding interest in the arts, we talked about the significant positive impact of exposing and instructing students in the arts throughout their formative educational years. When actively engaged in the arts with classroom peers, students gain ideas and perspectives that would not have occurred in individual art lessons. In group lessons, teachers are focused on delivering the arts curriculum to all students – children with varied abilities and background knowledge/experience. All students have access to equitable quality arts curriculum and teachers.

Of course, some families may decide to offer their students additional opportunities to experience the arts outside of the school day through individual private music classes and activities, camps, community art classes, etc. Not all families have the opportunity to provide such experiences, so we ensure that our passionate, dedicated teachers provide instruction in the arts and music in structured classroom settings during the school day. Supporting the mission of the District – to nurture and challenge [ALL students] for success, arts and music instruction during the school day demonstrates equitable learning at its finest.

We are proud that our students receive excellent art and music instruction at Manheim Township, and the end result is obvious when seeing the talent of our students at musical performances, art shows, etc. We are continually amazed at their talent!