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Deseret News
Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — At Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, arts specialist Rosemary Mitchell dares her students to “dream big.” Read more...
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Woodrow Wilson art teacher Rosemary Mitchell’s awards prove her excellence 7/26/2012
Award-winning teacher helps kids connect with art at Woodrow Wilson 3/22/2012
Woodrow Wilson celebrates life in parade 11/23/2011


Video Courtesy of KSL.com

Innovative art program helps improve student performanceApril 5th, 2011 @ 4:50pm
By John Daley
SALT LAKE CITY -- Educators across the state credit an innovative arts program with helping improve student performance.
The program provides integrated arts education in about 50 elementary schools around the state. Due to budget shortfalls, it was potentially on the chopping block this year, but in the end lawmakers approved the money needed to keep it going.
"That they do better in all areas of the core curriculum when art is included. They do better in math; they do better in science, history, when arts are woven into the curriculum." -- Principal Lynda Hart, Woodrow Wislon Elementary
Woodrow Wilson Elementary in the Granite School District is diverse with kids from 30 countries, speaking 28 languages. And one key to helping them learn is getting the kids involved with art.
"The kids come. They're very attentive. They want to do a nice finished product," said the principal of Woodrow Wilson Elementary, Lynda Hart. "And they have something they can take home or display when we have our arts festival."
Wilson Elementary is one of 50 schools with an arts specialist, thanks for the Beverly Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program, which serves 30,000 kids statewide. Hart says the program helps teach core subjects like science, math, social studies and English, by integrating them with visual arts, theater, dance and music.
"They gain the confidence here and then that carries over into their other subjects as well," said Hart.
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A recent Dan Jones survey of schools served by it found principals believed the program was having a strong positive impact.
"That they do better in all areas of the core curriculum when art is included," said Lisa Cluff, the director of Friends of Art Works for Kids. "They do better in math; they do better in science, history, when arts are woven into the curriculum."
Lawmakers also took notice and renewed $4 million in funding for another year.
"These children are happy. They're a joy. They're having fun. They're working together," said Beverly Taylor Sorenson, the education innovator who spearheaded the program.
She says her greatest satisfaction is watching the development of whole, well-rounded children.
Next year will be the final year of the pilot program. Then supporters hope the program's success will help them to obtain ongoing funding beyond next year.