Tuesday, August 1st, 2017 3:00 PM
The Hillsborough County Public School Board held a meeting to discuss many new agendas as well as old agendas that need to be renewed. One of the agenda items being reviewed for renewal is Agenda Item 6.05, otherwise known as “Approve the Renewal Agreement for Technical Services with the Arts Council of Hillsborough County for the 2017/2018 Artists-in-the-Schools (AIS) Program (Office of Teaching and Learning).”
Lynn Grey from District 7 speaks about the importance of the Arts in schools. She claims that art acts as an equalizer to “all demographics, age groups, learning levels.” Grey then goes on to say, “They [the students] begin instantly having the equity among the arts. The arts require a higher level of thinking.” Grey points out that there are polls and studies that show that students who are involved in the arts will achieve at a higher level. An example being dancers having to think through precise movements and timing in order to perform a routine in sync with music. Another example is a pianist, or any other musician, who has to learn how to read music notes and remember them as they play the instrument. Both require a type of critical thinking that is not taught in regular public-school classes. Even though the Arts have many positive qualities, the downside is the cost of funding these programs. Grey’s tone changes as she enters the “but” part of her statement. She says, “Tampa arts has a meager budget. They are looking into more partnerships to be able to fund the art programs in Hillsborough.”
Agenda Item 6.05 requests that The Arts Council of Hillsborough County will supply the artistic personnel and related administrative supervision for the Arts in Education Program. This program includes the Artists-in-the-Schools (AIS) and Performing Arts Field Trip (PAFT). The AIS Program hires and provides training for professional artists and touring companies. Upon employment, their job entails providing curriculum connected performances and workshops on site for schools in the district. The Performing Arts Field Trip program lists performances that take place in all Hillsborough County venues for all grade levels. They also facilitate the reservation process for all district teachers. The Art Counsel education staff designed both programs in order to provide guidance and maintain a high level of artistic quality in Hillsborough County schools.
Susan L. Valdes from District 1 also voices her support on this agenda item, as do most of the other district representatives. Valdes recognizes the program founders as doing something great for students. The only issue that stands is how to get the proper funding to support the renewal of the Agreement for Technical Services Between The School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida and Arts Council of Hillsborough County. This year’s suggested budget is $180,000, which is $18,000 more than last year. So not only are the programs having a difficult time finding funding, they have to find more than they did last year. Other than working out those details, all districts are in support of renewing Agenda Item 6.05.