The Mount Vernon City School District and ArtsWestchester will expand their partnership for arts-in-education after receiving $1.35 million in funding.
The funding came in part from a four-year, $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, with the remainder coming from private donations secured by ArtsWestchester, a nonprofit based in White Plains. Awarded in late 2013, the grant was one of only eight awarded across the U.S. in the Arts in Education Development and Dissemination category, and will be used to further integrate the arts into core curriculum STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and math.
“The district strongly believes that the arts are an essential component of education,” said Evelyn Collins, who recently joined the Mount Vernon school district as director of arts and gifted and talented, in a press release announcing the program expansion. “We seek to deepen students’ knowledge and training in all the arts, and to enhance classroom learning by integrating the arts into curriculum subjects. The partnership with ArtsWestchster has been longstanding and I am delighted to join the district at a time when that partnership is expanding.”
The initial phase of the four-year program, launched earlier this year, funds teaching artist residencies, field trips and training for teachers in four of the district’s neediest schools – Graham Elementary, Grimes Elementary, Longfellow Elementary and Williams Elementary, according to the press release. Additional funding will provide extended first-grade experiences, including 14 additional artist residencies in STEM subjects. In all, approximately 100 residencies will be delivered in Mount Vernon this school year.
“This partnership will benefit the students and teachers in the Mount Vernon School District and it’s sure to be a model for districts all across the country,” Janet Langsam, the CEO of ArtsWestchester, said in the press release.
As part of these programs, ArtsWestchester will continue to provide artists who will help teachers integrate all forms of art into lessons, while fostering arts-based methods of teaching STEM subjects, the nonprofit reported.