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Federal Grant will Fund Integrated Arts Curriculum

May 13, 2004
Three local elementary schools will use a federal grant to continue the development of the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Arts Integration Model Schools (AIMS) program. Charles R. Drew, Kensington-Parkwood, and Potomac elementary schools will share a three-year grant from the United States Department of Education (USDE) totaling $836,000 that will be used to develop a curriculum that fully integrates the arts.

Participation in the program reflects the commitment of MCPS to arts education and promises to open up new pathways of learning for all children, including children who lag behind and those who are high performing.

MCPS was among only four applicants nationwide that were funded through the USDE Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination grant program this year. Allocations for the second and third year of the grant are pending federal appropriation of funds.

During the first year of the grant, Charles R. Drew, Kensington-Parkwood, and Potomac elementary schools each will receive a benefit worth approximately $86,000 to $96,000 -- including shared instructional resources, materials, and trips to performances and regional arts programs. The three schools were selected to receive this grant because of their established commitment to and involvement in the arts.

Professional development for teachers is the major focus of this grant. Lead teachers in each of the model schools will help guide the development of a curriculum that fully integrates visual arts, music, theatre, and dance into the general curriculum. Professionals and consultants from the John F. Kennedy Center's Changing Education in the Arts, Maryland Artist/Teacher Institute, Imagination Stage, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Moving America: Maryland, and other local arts organizations are providing workshops, lectures, and other opportunities as part of the foundation for the professional development. The grant also provides ways for students to participate in arts activities and performances.

As the arts integration program model is developed and refined, steps are planned to provide wider access to the integrated arts curriculum. MCPS will work with the Arts Education in Maryland School Alliance (AEMS) and the Maryland State Department of Education in further dissemination of the model and in development of an arts integration certification program for teachers.

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