Arts in the Our Schools
January 17, 2016
As the Superintendent of Princeton Schools, I believe it is important for you to know about the outstanding arts programs in our schools. Perhaps you have had the opportunity to notice this. We are very fortunate to have such strong programs.
Why do we need arts programs? When we have arts programs, students are inspired to be creative, more likely to be committed to school in general, and better academically. Here are some research findings:
In our district, we like to highlight all of our students’ talents. Senior citizens living in our district have access to free passes to enjoy any arts activities. If you haven’t received one, please go to the Activities office in the high school to get one.
In our District Office and Board Room, we have a gallery of student art, which is constantly updated every spring, as more young artists are honored by having their art displayed there. The forms are varied, from drawings to sculpture to masks, and more. If you haven’t seen these, you should come to the District Office to view them.
We are fortunate that every child in elementary grades has art as part of their educational program. When other communities cut elementary art, Princeton did not. Our art teachers in all grades work very hard to help our students learn and appreciate visual arts of every kind. I remember being in a classroom at North Elementary, when the teacher told the class that it was time for art, they cheered. It warmed my heart, that our students enjoyed this class so much.
At the secondary level, students further their arts education. They provide displays of their artwork for all to see, in display cases. The Middle School students always have unique and interesting pieces to view. High School students can be seen doing pottery or sculpting or making jewelry. They also have represented us well by designing the Rum River Festival buttons. They compete in the Mississippi 8 Arts Competition, and they bring home awards!
Our tiniest children sing at the top of their lungs, with enthusiasm. Since the youngest students are housed in the same building as district offices, we often delight in their singing as we listen to them. At South Elementary, our students perform musical programs, and their little voices inspire those of us who listen. We have choirs in grades three through twelve, and having seen and heard all of the levels, I am amazed by the talents of our students, as well as the gifted teachers who lead them. We have yearly musicals, that are community favorites. The secondary students perform at the Dorian Festival at Luther College and other requested performances. This year they will be featured at the Minnesota Music Educators Association conference in February. It is pure joy to listen to the students!
And then there is band. Our band instructors do spectacular work with our students, nurturing and teaching them instruments that bring together excellent music. From a flutist to a percussionist to a brass or woodwind player, each student benefits by learning to practice and how to express themselves through music. There is nothing better than following a class of band students as they are very beginners, trying so hard to play together, all of the way through high school, as they play beautiful music. Just last week, our Jazz Band was featured as the student performing group, playing for the general session of the Minnesota School Board Association.
The arts provide a unique way of learning history and cultures, as students experience looking through life through others’ eyes. Arts programming is a lifelong skill that can be enjoyed all of the way through adulthood.
Princeton arts programs are outstanding. We are very fortunate to have everything that helps it happen, from inspiring teachers, to students who are interested, to parents who support their children, and a community that cherishes art in their community. We have a good thing going here in Princeton. Lucky us!
Julia A. Espe