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District receives grant for comprehensive arts education planning with goal of increasing access and opportunity to arts programming

Thursday, May 30, 2019 — South St. Paul Public Schools (SSPPS) is one of eight Minnesota school districts chosen as recipients of the 2019-2021 Comprehensive Arts Planning Program provided by the Perpich Center for Arts Education.

Minnesota’s Comprehensive Arts Planning Program (CAPP) provides assistance to selected public school districts as they design three-year, strategic plans for K-12 arts education programs. CAPP provides financial and technical assistance to support the strategic planning process through workshops, site visits, leadership development, and resource materials.

“We are excited about the opportunity to partner with community and school stakeholders in developing a comprehensive plan for arts education for all of our students,” said Superintendent Dave Webb. “The technical assistance and guidance of Perpich Center leadership will help us fulfill our vision of preparing every child for their next step, and uphold our commitment to educating the whole child as part of our district-wide International Baccalaureate (IB) programming.”

With the help of this Perpich Professional Development (PPD) program, school districts form a CAPP committee of district and community stakeholders (arts specialists, administrators, parents, teachers, community members, and students) with an active and wide-ranging interest in the arts and arts education. This CAPP committee has the responsibility to create a comprehensive arts education plan approved by the local school board, the district, and the community. They will also ensure alignment with the Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in the Arts.

According to Chad Schmidt, SSPPS director of learning, district arts education teachers and IB Curriculum Coordinators will review the current arts education standards and revise curriculum during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years. CAPP will help the district provide educators with professional learning opportunities needed to incorporate the new standards, which are required to be fully implemented during the 2021-22 school year.

“With the new Minnesota State Standards approaching, we will be able to appropriately plan for arts education in each school and grade level, forming a clear scope and sequence for our students,” said Schmidt. “In addition, we look forward to guiding and supporting students’ development of IB Learner Profile characteristics such as being open-minded and reflective, as well as being a thinker, communicator and risk-taker through their interactions and experiences in the arts.”

According the Schmidt, through this collaborative planning process, the district will be able to ensure that students have a consistent and meaningful education that builds on prior learning. “Providing options to participate in all forms of the arts during the school day will promote student choice, increase engagement, and give insight on real-world opportunities,” he said. “These courses will also teach essential skill sets that all students need to thrive, including critical thinking, creativity, communication and technology literacy.”

Among the outcomes envisioned in the district’s application for CAPP is an increase in understanding and commitment among district stakeholders of the value of arts education to all students in the school day. This includes students living in poverty and/or students with limited resources, which often present as barriers for students to access the arts. Additionally, the district looks forward to more digital art opportunities, both in professional development for educators and in student performances.  

“The numerous ways in which South St. Paul students and educators positively change the world can already be seen through artwork in our schools and the community,” said Webb. “We are eager to begin our partnership with Perpich to expand on our successes and create new arts education opportunities for all South St. Paul students.”

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Perpich Center for Arts Education, in Golden Valley, Minnesota, is a Minnesota state agency that seeks to advance K-12 education throughout the state by teaching in and through the arts. It was created by the state legislature in 1985 at the urging of then Gov. Rudy Perpich. It was renamed in his honor after his death in 1995. Minnesota is one of only a handful of states in the nation with a dedicated state agency supporting arts education.