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Fine Arts

Poetry Out Loud

Poetry Out Loud Information Letter for 2016-17 school year


September 9, 2016

Notes from the Arts Education Director, Tom Tobias


The week of September 11-17, 2016 has been designated by Congressional resolution as Arts in Education Week.  Ben Martin, Director of the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education has written an article about the state of arts education in Missouri for the arts advocacy publication Americans for the Arts. Ben makes a clearly written, strong case for maintaining and growing arts education as an essential component in the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Top Ten by Twenty Initiative. Read on……………………………


September 7, 2016

To the Editor:

The week of September 11-17, 2016, has been designated by Congressional resolution as Arts in Education Week.  For these seven days we will celebrate the powerful influence that Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual Art can have on the lives of students and communities alike.  And, the good news is, there is a lot to celebrate.

Across the state and nation schools are discovering that an effective, strong education is to be found in schools that have ‘regular’ classrooms infused with arts-related activities.  Example after example, study after study is revealing how powerful the arts are as an educational tool.  At the end of August, the Christian Science Monitor published a cover story about a Connecticut school entitled “The School that Art Saved.”  The article details the strides that one elementary school has taken forward after moving to an arts-integrated learning model.

Within the Kansas City metropolitan area itself schools in Liberty, Hickman Mills, Belton and Kansas City are trying out new techniques in incorporating arts learning throughout the school day. Even leaders in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) have discovered that by adding the Arts they can move students full STEAM ahead.  Raytown Schools have even incorporated an arts component in their daring new program to launch a satellite designed by students in the district.  The Media Lab at Summit Technology Academy in the Lee’s Summit District has proved that by blending computer technology with music and video, they can graduate students career-ready in that field.

However, there is still a vital place for the traditional arts classroom where students focus on developing their artistic abilities.  If nothing else study in the arts completes the ‘well-rounded’ education so necessary to create good human beings to live in our society.  Artistic pursuits allow students to practice creativity, innovation, and perhaps, most important, perseverance in completing a task, and completing it well.  While in other parts of the school a student may accept that 80% completion is mastery of a subject, it is in the arts that a student learns that only complete and total excellence is acceptable.  Can you imagine a high school band which only hits 80% of their notes correctly or a play where the light board operator feels good about herself if 16 of 20 lighting cues happened on time?  How about a painting where 80% was completed, but one-fifth was left almost blank?  Nor can the student in the arts.  They strive for perfection in those classes.  Is it any wonder then that research reveals that students in the arts tend to perform better in their regular classes as well?

So, join with students, parents and teachers around the nation in celebrating Arts in Education this week.  If you happen to encounter one of those dedicated educators who is reaching his students through the Arts, say thank you.  And if you also encounter an educational leader in your community, please remind her that you expect your schools to educate the whole child.  All of us in arts education thank you for your ongoing support.


Ben Martin, Executive Director
Missouri Alliance for Arts Education


Tom Tobias | Arts Education Director | Office of College and Career Readiness
Phone: 573-751-9610 | Fax: 573-526-0812 |  tom.tobias@dese.mo.gov