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National PTA Awards Arts Enhancement Grants to PTAs

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James Martinez, Sr. Manager of Media & Public Relations

Stellar, innovative efforts by three local PTAs earn honors

ALEXANDRIA, VA. (December 3, 2012) — The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA®) announced today the three recipients of the 2012-2013 Mary Lou Anderson Reflections Arts Enhancement Grants—a matching grant program for student-centered arts education programs.

“Research continues to show that children who are able to express themselves artistically perform better academically. As schools are asked to do more with less every year, it is critical to keep the arts alive in our schools. That’s why National PTA is proud to support grassroots efforts to keep kids active in the arts,” said National PTA President Betsy Landers.

The Mary Lou Anderson Reflections Arts Enhancement Grant is a matching grant provided by National PTA to local PTAs. The objective is to provide sustainable arts education learning opportunities representative of best practices, with a continued focus on service to at-risk students. The grant program is one component of National PTA’s Reflections Arts in Education program—a program that has engaged students in the arts for more than 40 years.  Below are the 2012 grant recipients.

D.A. Grout Elementary PTA in Portland, Ore., will reconnect students with their cultural roots through “The Culture of Drama Project.” The project will emphasize the diverse population of cultures represented both at the school and within the local community. For 45 minutes a day, students will attend a theatre residency at New Moon Theatre Productions for six weeks to learn about theatre, develop a script from a piece of world literature and engage in all aspects of creating a production. The classroom teacher and parents will work with the theatre teacher to develop scripts, culminating with two performances; one at the school and another at the Holgate Retirement Center. The program provides a unique and creative route for family engagement, asking students to include their own cultural background into the final folktale.

Harvey Scott PTA in Portland, Ore., will launch a community building art project that will help bridge the diverse socio-economic, cultural and language barriers facing the school community. The program includes the Harvey Scott PTA, Portland State University (PSU) arts mentorship program and the Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) afterschool program. The new art program will pair PSU students with students from Harvey Scott who will each create small mural panels combined to create a 420 square foot mural in the school gymnasium/auditorium. ‘Character Counts’ will be the central theme for the mural in the school which currently lacks both an art and  music teacher. Students will be asked to write a 300 word script to be orally recorded. All digital stories will be screened at the art exhibit opening.

Madrona PTSA in Seattle, Wash., will implement a long-term, collaborative art program between local artists-in-residence and Madrona students and teachers. The PTSA will partner with ArtsCorps, a local non-profit, to engage local artists-in-residence to work with teachers to jointly develop a curriculum comprehensively infused with the arts. The artist will assist teachers in developing units/lessons which balance artistic and educational objectives equally and which will be guided by student interest. Though Madrona is a member of ArtsEd Washington and is a Principal Arts Leadership school, it does not have a dedicated art teacher. This overall effort will establish a school culture through systematic integration of the arts into the school day and after school curricula.

The grant recipients were chosen based on creativity of the program, and the number of at-risk students who are reached, among other criteria. The grant program complements PTA’s long-standing commitment to quality arts education in public schools by providing funds to local PTAs to establish or enhance school arts programs in one or more areas: visual arts, photography, music, dance, literature and theater.

About National PTA

National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.