Lt. Governor Landrieu announces Louisiana selected to strategize at national institute -- 06/03/2008
Office of Lieutenant GovernorFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 2008
Lt. Governor Landrieu announces Louisiana selected to strategize at national institute
National Endowment for the Arts helps Louisiana strategize about arts education; Implementation of arts education in Louisiana vital to students and schools
BATON ROUGE - Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu today announced that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has selected Louisiana to participate in its prestigious Education Leaders Institute, to be held July 15-17, 2008 in Chicago.
The NEA Education Leaders Institute will guide teams from Louisiana and four other states through discussions on challenges and practices in arts education, such as assessment, leadership, curriculum development, and access to arts learning. National speakers and experts attending the event will support the state teams, providing information and resources.
"We know that comprehensive arts education encourages a strong, positive, school environment and helps students perform better academically," said Lt. Governor Landrieu. "The National Endowment for the Arts is a tremendous partner as we work to improve schools through the arts. I am thankful for their support and for selecting Louisiana's team to participate in the Institute."
Through the leadership of Lt. Governor Landrieu and the Division of the Arts in the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, arts education has become a key component for policies and initiatives ranging from economic development to school improvement. Landrieu championed arts education curriculum in 2007, working with Sen. Sharon Weston Broome to author Senate Bill 299 which requires the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to develop, adopt, and implement a visual and performing arts curriculum in public schools beginning with the 2010-2011 school year. Legislators unanimously approved Sen. Broome's arts education bill and Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco signed Act 175 into law. Implemented in five phases, the Louisiana Department of Education has formed committees of arts education experts who are currently developing visual arts and performing arts curriculum guides that are consistent with the arts content standards.
"Sharing the Lieutenant Governor's hometown of New Orleans, I certainly understand the impact that the arts can have on our society," said State Superintendent of Education Paul G. Pastorek. "Arts education allows students to express themselves creatively, whether through painting, writing, sculpting, music or dance. Studies have also shown us again and again the link between the arts and success in other academic areas. Our culture in Louisiana has always celebrated the arts, so it's a perfect fit for the state to be working with the Education Leaders Institute. I'm sure our schools and our students will benefit greatly."
Louisiana's team comprises six members from various disciplines. Dr. Patrick Widhalm, who will serve as Louisiana's team leader, is the Executive Director of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts - a school that remains unique in the nation in its model and mission and is consistently rated one of the top high schools in the country. Other members on the team are: Derek Gordon, CEO/President of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge; Henry Price, Supervisor of Art for Caddo Parish Schools; Echo Olander, Executive Director of KID smART, an arts education organization working with public schools in New Orleans; Richard Baker, Jr., Fine Arts Program Coordinator in the Louisiana Department of Education; and Bethany France, Director of Arts-in- Education for the Louisiana Division of the Arts.
"Lousiana's Arts in Education legislation was the centerpiece of our application to the Education Leaders Institute, so to be one of only five states selected is a validation of our efforts and an honor for our state," said Dr. Wildhalm. "We will return with better honed ideas and strategies, and we will give the nation another reason to keep an eye on Louisiana."
The NEA Education Leaders Institute seeks to give school leaders, legislators and policymakers a platform to discuss the challenges of arts education and develop concrete strategies to strengthen their states' arts education policies and programs.
The teams were selected by a panel convened by the Arts Endowment in partnership with the Illinois Arts Council. Colorado, Michigan, Oklahoma and Rhode Island will join Louisiana at the Institute.