to create full access to and equity in arts education programs and resources for K-8 students.
To achieve this goal, communities:
Develop and meet long-term goals and short-term action steps for planning, implementing, and sustaining arts education programs and resources for students.
Establish an organizational infrastructure to oversee and sustain an effective effort.
Develop support systems (including data collection, resources, and professional development) for arts education providers, such as classroom teachers, arts specialists, administrators, arts organizations, and teaching artists.
Secure funding and other resources necessary to sustain the community's long-term goals for K-8 arts education for every child.
Communicate and collaborate with policymakers and leaders to influence arts and education policy in the school district, local government, and arts organizations, so that the initiative's gains are institutionalized.
The city of Meridian was selected in August of 2016 by the Kennedy Center for a multi-year, Pre-K-8 arts integration program called ANY GIVEN CHILD. This collaboration is between MSU Riley Center, members of the Meridian community, local educators, and the Kennedy Center. The Kennedy Center experts provide consulting to facilitate strategic planning for arts education into the Pre-K-8 experience in the Meridian Public School District. The goal of the program is to touch every child in their school experiences with the arts across many different forms--dance, music, theater, visual arts, and media arts.
Members of the Meridian community formed a 30-member Community Action Team (CAT) and a smaller Working Group that will collaborate to develop long terms goals and short-term action steps for sustained arts education. The first year of the program is the strategic planning stage, facilitated by the Kennedy Center with the community to develop a customized plan that addresses the schools’ needs and assesses the arts resources. The second phase (Years 2, 3, and 4) is the implementation of the plan. The third phase is the sustaining period in which the community and MPSD remain connected to the Kennedy Center as needed.
The first step in proposal development was to secure the support and interest of the MPSD superintendent’s office and the support of the mayor; both wholeheartedly agreed to support the proposal. To proceed, we also had to secure the willingness of people to serve on the Community Arts Team. This group includes educators and administrators in the Meridian Public School District, leaders from the arts community representing a variety of art forms, members of philanthropic organizations, East Mississippi Business Development Corporation, leaders in the community, a researcher to track the impact of the community plan on student outcomes, and local higher education administrators.