New model for arts education emerges


The center said artistic groups, working with local educators, could create specialized lessons to meet the needs of their local schools’ curriculums. A local ballet company, for example, could teach third graders about movement, while a local symphony works with fifth graders on music appreciation.

The center, a living memorial to President Kennedy, already works with teachers in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia to integrate arts throughout their curriculum. Kaiser said he’s in talks with Education Secretary Arne Duncan to possibly expand the latest initiative with federal support.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson told The Associated Press the initiative could not have come at a better time as school districts face budget cuts. Groups such as the Sacramento Theater Company and Crocker Art Museum also will benefit by fostering a new generation of patrons for theater, ballet, and art, he said.

Over the next few months, the Kennedy Center will conduct an audit of the local arts scene and existing arts programs in the Sacramento City Unified School District and Twin Rivers Unified School District. The audit will help map out an affordable way for school districts and local arts groups to provide arts education together.

The Twin Rivers Unified School District is a newly formed district that served about 31,000 students in 2008. Three quarters of the students are considered poor by federal standard, according to the state education department.

Similarly, the Sacramento City Unified School District serves about 48,000 students, and 71 percent of its students are considered poor.

“For Sacramento to become a world-class destination city, we need big ideas, and we have to make sure the arts are a vital part of whatever it is we are aspiring to do,” Johnson said.

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John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts