The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts awarded the Guilford County Schools Board of Education with the 30th annual Kennedy Center and National School Boards Association (NSBA) Award. The award, which includes a $10,000 prize, was presented at the NSBA Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas. The Guilford County school board was chosen from nominees around the country for its support of high-quality arts education.
On hand to receive the award were Guilford County Board Chair Alan Duncan, Superintendent Dr. Sharon Contreras, and Director of Fine Arts Dr. Nathan Street. “We are pleased to recognize the Guilford County Schools Board of Education for its dedication to providing a quality arts education for all students,” said Mario R. Rossero, Senior Vice President of Education at the Kennedy Center. “Through our work in schools across the country, we see that learning in and through the arts is a crucial component of every child’s educational journey.”
Arts education continues to be the centerpiece of a comprehensive, holistic education for all students in Guilford County Schools. The board has shown a strong commitment to the arts by allocating a significant percentage of the district budget to the arts despite economic setbacks, executing extensive impact evaluation work, and dedicating significant resources toward the expansion of professional development opportunities for teachers. Additional commitments include ensuring all third-, fourth-, and seventh-grade students experience the symphony for free each year, and ensuring all fifth-grade students experience the opera. Additionally, the district provides artists-in-residence to fourth-grade classrooms to teach history through art. Through these efforts, the district has seen an increase of arts enrollment from 70 % in 2008 to 82.1% in 2017.
The district is committed to a wide variety of arts partnerships and, with significant input from all stakeholders, has developed an Arts Master Plan that will continue the path for a strong commitment for the arts in the district, with goals regarding policy; professional development; community engagement; curriculum, instruction, and assessment; and data-driven decision making. The Guilford County Schools Board of Education intends to use its award to continue funding and enhancing arts education opportunities districtwide.
Each year, a national review panel selects the recipient school board from a pool of nominees from across the country. School boards selected for this national honor must demonstrate support for four of the five core disciplines in arts education programs: visual arts, music, theater, dance, and media arts. Instruction and programming must be available for all students throughout the district. The ways in which the school board develops collaborative partnerships with the cultural resources available in the community are also important considerations in reviewing nominations.