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- The following message about the importance of arts
- created by the Community/Schools Partnership for the Arts
- (C/SPA) of Sarasota County, Florida:
- A Community Arts Advocacy
- THE MESSAGE
- "We are a special interest group. Our special interest is
- students, the future citizens of Sarasota County. As a
- parents, community organizations, and businesses, we believe
- all Sarasota County students MUST receive a complete and
- balanced education including, at minimum, the
- study of music from a qualified music teacher and art from
- qualified art teacher.
- We believe education in the arts is vital for ALL OUR
- STUDENTS because:
- - Children who study the arts are better overall
- - Children who study the arts are more employable after
- - Studying the arts emphasizes innovation,
- communication skills, personal discipline and
- collaboration, and teamwork - universally recognized skills
- - Studying the arts balances education through
- fostering the creative imagination with experiences using
- - Sarasota is known as the 'County of the Arts' and we are
- of the significant impact of the arts on our economy. We
- have an education system which reflects the prevailing
- values of our community.
- Our goal is to join with the Sarasota County School System
- provide the best, balanced, fiscally responsible education for
- our students."
- Copyright Sarasota County Arts Council, Sarasota,
- All rights reserved.
- The statement above was developed by the
- Partnership for the Arts of Sarasota County, Florida, or
- This organization consists of arts organizations in Sarasota
- including the Asolo Theater Company, the Florida West
- Symphony, the John and Mable Ringling Museum, and the
- Sarasota Ballet. Teachers, school district administrators,
- students, and community foundations are also part of
- The Community/Schools Partnership for the Arts was founded in
- when the Sarasota County School District eliminated almost all
- arts teachers. Using a three-point plan, the group worked
- successfully restore arts education programs.
- 1) TAKE A PROACTIVE STANCE
- Instead of defending the existing arts program or trying to
- the arts program to its pre-budget cut status, C/SPA started
- ground level. C/SPA members envisioned a new arts program
- achieving new goals, and they enlisted the assistance of the
- administration in creating the arts program.
- Despite early setbacks in dealing with the school
- C/SPA remained positive, persistent, and united.
- a true partnership was established. Although struggles
- there were more arts teachers and more arts course offerings
- Sarasota County School District in 1999 than before the
- cuts in 1995.
- 2) CREATE AND FOLLOW A MISSION STATEMENT
- C/SPA members spent a great deal of time discussing,
- and revising a mission statement. (Their statement is called
- MESSAGE and is featured at the beginning of this
- After all members of C/SPA voiced their opinions, they
- concise, easily understood "Message" that the public and
- officials could comprehend. This "Message" served to guide
- actions and decisions of C/SPA. Surprisingly, the goals stated
- final draft of the "Message" were very different from those in
- first draft. Through discussion and revision, points that at
- seemed insignificant became important, and other goals became
- 3) MAKE ARTS EDUCATION THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE
- SCHOOL DISTRICT
- The arts organizations in C/SPA agreed to assist and augment
- education program of the Sarasota County School District only
- school students received regular arts education from
- certified in the arts. C/SPA would not opt for a quick fix,
- decision held true to their mission statement or
- Of course, the three principles above did not, by
- restore arts education to Sarasota County. The efforts
- achievements of the Community/School Partnership for the
- (C/SPA) required a great deal of organization, cooperation,
- action. Many "movers and shakers" in the community shared
- expertise and power. A local movie theater showed slides
- movies promoting the school arts program. At a performance
- the Florida West Coast Symphony, all the musicians who
- studying music in the public schools were asked to exit, and
- two musicians remained on stage.
- In the federal study "Gaining the Arts Advantage," the
- districts with the strongest arts programs typically have a
- of community involvement and support for those programs.
- circumstances that surround each community, school district,
- program are unique. However, Sarasota County, Florida sets an
- of successful community support for a school arts
- "Back from the Brink: The Community's Perspective" by Bruce
- Rodgers. Published in "Teaching Music," February 1999, pp.
- 42, 62.
- "Gaining the Arts Advantage" from the Presidents' Committee
- the Arts and Humanities. http://www.pcah.gov
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