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State of the Arts

Educators have long recognized the value of music, art, drama and writing for students' creative development and academic success. Yet the arts remain squeezed by tight budgets and test-driven performance standards. This series highlights efforts to protect and promote school arts programs.

Students Jam On, with Plenty of Moxie

Forest Hills Eastern High orchestra students joined forces recently with The Moxie Strings for a night of upbeat contemporary music. But before they did, they spent time jamming together at school. Moxies violinist Diana Ladio and Alison Lynn on electric...

Settling Conflict by Settling Minds with Connective Art

With colorful petals radiating from a bright orange center, the mandala Circle of Art rug represents the universe and all its connectivity. For members of the high school's National Art Honor Society, it's also a way of connecting with a...

Students Explore Hip-Hop as ‘Something that You Live’

Matthew Duncan lightly shakes a can of spray paint and, like the serious aerosol artist he is, deftly sprays an immaculate orange “o” on a canvas. And so begins a lesson on graffiti – or more properly called “writing,” he...

Adding Sugar to Education’s Cake

As a young mother new to the district in the early 1970s, Candace Hinshaw remembers hearing about a magazine sale at Pine Ridge Elementary to raise money to bring in outside performers. "They brought in an individual who was doing...

‘They Learn by Music’

A drum beat echoes down the halls of Sparta's Appleview Elementary. The source: a boisterous bunch of musicians keeping a beat and dancing to the rhythm. Students with cognitive impairments from across the district are stepping in line with Artists Creating...

‘It’s Incredible, the Opportunities We Get’

Jazz at Byron Center High School has always been about swinging hard and playing big, and hitting the smooth, cool notes just right. So too at Northview High. But it's not about earning a grade or even competing for band...

District Talent on Full Display at Art Show

The work of K-12 artists created a huge collage of talent on display recently during the District-wide Art Show. Many mediums were showcased, and high school artists worked on pieces while parents and students watched. Editor's Note: State of the Arts:...

‘Free to Try, Free to Do Your Best’

For some students, inspiration came from a science teacher's lesson on the expanding universe. For others, it was reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" for the first time. And for others, it was finding their voice in the school choir. Many...

‘World-Class’ Band Program Thrives on Community Support

Drive down 36th Street SW between Buchanan and Division on a fall day, and the sound of trumpets, trombones, clarinets, flutes and drums fills the air. As it does every year on the field outside Godwin Heights High School,...

‘You Find Yourself Striving to be Greater at Something’

Noah Miller and Heather Price, both 2016 district graduates, are members of the Western Michigan University Marching Bronco Band and got to play at the Cotton Bowl game on Jan. 2. Here's what they had to say about what...

Speaking Poetry Helps Students Share their Hearts

Katie Mitchell could have picked from a range of interesting topics to share with classmates, but she choose the one closest to her heart. The Crossroads Middle School eighth-grader picked tragedy. As part of a spoken-word poetry workshop held at the...

Building a Band Program, From Squeaks to Symphonic

If you talk to a sixth-grader or a high school senior from Kent City's band program, you will hear a similar story. For first-chair saxophonist and senior Zach Carlson, it began in elementary school during recess. "I would ask my...
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