Special to The Star
The Meridian Star
Four educators from Lauderdale County traveled to Washington, D.C., for a June 24-26 national conference devoted to using the arts as a teaching tool.
The third annual Arts Integration Conference, Exploring an Approach to Teaching, took place at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It was designed to explore the “how” of arts integration, drawing on the Kennedy Center’s 30 years of experience in professional learning for teachers. Workshops were aimed at not only teachers but also principals, school district administrators, and staff and artists from partnering arts organizations.
Attendees included three representatives from the Lauderdale County School District: Tammy Crowe, principal of Northeast Lauderdale Elementary School; Courtney Ashcraft, a teacher at Northeast Elementary; and Mandy Goldman, a teacher at West Lauderdale Elementary School. Heather LaCoste, a teacher at Magnolia Middle School in the Meridian Public School District, also attended.
Both school districts are members of the Kennedy Center Partners in Education Program with the MSU Riley Center in Meridian. The program is designed to assist arts organizations throughout the nation to develop or expand educational partnerships with their local school systems.
Heather Lacoste said, “The training really helped us to truly understand arts integration versus just using the arts as an add on. Integration involves teaching the academic content through the arts form. I feel much more confident in using it now."
The sold-out conference examined the Kennedy Center’s definition of arts integration and featured participatory workshops that provided strategies for making arts integration a part of every teacher’s approach to teaching. Among the sessions were Drama: The Missing Link in Teaching Literacy, Teamwork through Dance: Building an Inclusive Classroom and Reaching Students with Autism through the Arts.
For more information about the conference or about arts integration in education, contact Charlotte B. Tabereaux, Ph.D., Education Director for the MSU Riley Center, at 601-696-2204.