UNCW, New Hanover County Schools Selected to Participate in Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education Program

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

UNCW's Office of the Arts and New Hanover County Schools (NHCS) are among ten teams nationwide selected to join The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as Partners in Education.

Representatives from UNCW and NHCS will attend the 14th annual Partners in Education Institute in April, where they will develop a plan to establish or expand arts-based professional development programs for teachers. Teams will receive a detailed planning guide, attend performances and meet with national education leaders and guest artists while at the Kennedy Center.

“We’ll be working together to integrate the arts into classroom settings, by providing professional development for teachers as well as trained teaching artists to work with teachers and students,” said Kristen Brogdon, director of UNCW Office of the Arts. “One of the great things about the training Institute that the Kennedy Center offers is that it allows us to carve out time for concentrated planning with immediate feedback from experts in the field.”

Kenan Auditorium will serve as a venue for some of the programming, Brogdon added. The Office of the Arts will also work with guest artists of UNCW Presents to extend their Wilmington residencies into schools and classrooms, and will act as a liaison with NHCS and the Watson College of Education to make sure training opportunities reach as many teachers as possible.

“There’s so much wonderful research about how the arts contribute to student success – a whole spectrum of functions, from keeping students motivated to come to school, to boosting test scores, to providing ways to reach students with different learning styles,” said Brogdon. “We’re in a great position to provide our teachers access to these tools. NHCS has a strong infrastructure in place to support arts programming and integration, and UNCW has access to both world-class artists and outstanding education faculty. Our teachers deserve all the help we can offer, and my hope is that these programs also bring some inspiration to their lives.”

Teams met the criteria for selection for the Partners in Education Institute by demonstrating the potential to further grow programs for teachers and a commitment by arts organizations and schools to collaborate on developing programs.

“UNCW and NHCS have been collaborating successfully for a long time through our arts programs as well as Watson College,” Brogdon said. “This year, there are new arts leaders in both organizations, so this Partners in Education program is a great opportunity for all of us to dream together, and then put plans in place to realize those dreams for our students and teachers.”

-- Venita Jenkins