Arts essential to every student<br>

Also in attendance were Cheryl Brock, executive director of the Coconino Center for the Arts along with her Governing Board members of Flagstaff Cultural Partners and representatives from the Arizona Alliance for Arts Education, the Arizona Community Foundation, the Arizona Department of Education and Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Horne assumed his position as Arizona Superintendent on Jan. 6, 2003. He served on the Arizona legislature from 1996-2000, during which time he chaired the Academic Accountability Committee and served as vice-chair of the Education Committee. Horne brings 24 years of school board experience as a member of the board of the third largest district in the state. He received his undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Harvard College and graduated with honors from Harvard Law School.

Statistics on the arts

Research findings that support visual and performing arts for students include a study of third grade students in Seattle, Wash., who were involved in dance. Data indicates dance activities boosted their reading scores by 13 percent in six months.

A 1996 study by Howard Garner involved eight first-grade classrooms. Four of these classrooms were art enriched, and four were controls that received only the standard art curriculum. After seven months, 77 percent of the arts enriched classes scored at grade levels, compared to 55 percent of the control group.

Second graders who received piano instruction plus practice with a math video game along with their regular math instruction, scored 15 to 41 percent higher on a test of ratios and fractions than second graders who received extra English lessons plus the math video game and students who just received the traditional math lessons.

There are also statistics that support higher scores in the high school area as well. The College Board reports that for the 1999 school year, there are differences between scores of students taking dramatic arts to those with no coursework in these areas. Students that were in a drama study class scored 44 points higher. Students with acting or production experience scored 53 points higher on the averaged math and verbal scores.

(Rosanda Suetopka Thayer is Public Relations Director for Tuba City Unified School District.)

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