Escondido, CA

Learning the Arts is Academic



School districts in North County re­cently hit a high note when they were recognized by the California Alliance for Arts Education for enhancing stu­dent scholastic experience through robust arts education programs. The results were ‘music to the ears’ of San Marcos, San Pasqual and Vista Uni­fied School Districts when students recently performed at the San Diego Museum of Art during the Alliance’s award celebration. The economic recession’s impact on school dis­trict finances has left arts education programs, including music, drama, dance, and visual arts underfunded. With budgets now stabilized, some school districts have restored their in­vestment in arts education.

Each school district was cited for their work to develop strategic plans that will bring more arts education to their students. Studies have found that integrating the arts with other subjects can help raise achievement levels. They point to students who regularly participate in the arts and note improvement in their overall scores in academic subjects.

On hand to receive awards for their districts were: San Marcos Unified School District Board Member Stacy Carlson; Vista Unified School Dis­trict Assistant Superintendent Sherry Opacic; and San Pasqual Unified School District Superintendent Shan­non Hargrave. Accolades were also showered on Vista Unified’s music educator Ann Fennell. Ann was re­cently honored as a finalist for the Grammy’s 2015 Music Educator Award. Prior to the awards celebra­tion, her student steel-drum ensemble entertained over 400 in the museum’s Sculpture Garden.

All award recipients were quick to credit supportive parents, teach­ers, artists, community organizations, businesses and donors as the collec­tive rock on which their programs are built. I am proud to recognize those in my district whose vision, vocation and talent are dedicated to student learning and inclusive of strong arts programs.

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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