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The abc’s of ABC…

November 17, 2011
Fifth graders welcome educators from around the state to their arts infused school.

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More than 100 arts educators, classroom teachers and administrators from across South Carolina gathered last week as part of the The ABC Project. They discussed  their challenges and successes as part of this soon to be 25 year-old-project that’s all about getting more arts into the schools and fostering community support for that effort.

Arts teachers and administrators gather to learn from others and share their experiences at the ABC Site Meeting Thursday, Nov. 10.

Windsor Hill Elementary in Dorchester County,  the meeting site for this gathering, showcased some of its exemplary programs including its BEAUX Hawks Drumming ensemble for fourth and fifth grade boys. The powerful effects of participating in drumming has led to reduced discipline referrals,  improved attitudes and new leadership skills.  One of many other stories shared,  Boulder Bluff Elementary told how a visiting puppetry and cartooning artist affected the performance  of a student who “hadn’t completed one writing assignment all year.”   After exposure to a new way of telling a story, this student completed every writing assignment the remainder of the school year.

Here's the ABC team from Berkeley County!

Other arts educators shared their stories of successful artists-in-residence experiences.  These educators  know first-hand how the arts change the culture of a school environment and lead to healthier, more engaged learners.   A tour of the arts-infused school inspired  ideas for the group to take back to their schools across our state.

ABC Project Director Christine Fisher discusses the agenda with Logan Elementary Principal

A three-way partnership between three organizations makes the ABC Project possible: the South Carolina Arts Commission, Department of Education and Winthrop University where the program is housed.  Under the leadership of Project Director  Christine Fisher, grantees of this program meet at least two times a year.  Representatives of these schools are some of the most passionate believers  and advocates for the arts in schools.

Superintendent Joseph Pye with Windsor Hill Principal Vernisa Bodison

Of course, in addition to passionate arts teachers, it takes local leaders, superintendents, administrators and parents to make ABC schools successful.  Dorchester Two School Superintendent  Joe Pye sited his belief in the arts: ” During this time of cost cutting, cutting the arts in our schools was non- negotiable. In fact, we haven’t cut any arts teachers,  we’ve added them.”   Mr. Pye holds the distinction of being named South Carolina’s  School Superintendent of the Year in June.

Congratulations Mr. Pye, and thanks for your example of leadership in the arts!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Ray Doughty permalink
    November 20, 2011 2:38 pm

    Thanks for the informative story on ABC Site Meeting in Summerville last week. I saw a number of familiar faces in the pictures I am proud that the project is continuing in Christine’s capable hands. The very first Site Meeting was in the fall of 1991. At that time there were less than 10 ABC Sites.
    Former ABC Director (91-98)

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