Morenci school fine arts programs flourishing 11.10.2010

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

State education officials want to see collaboration between school and community, and Morenci’s fine arts programs are showing that very thing.

Music director Jamie DeVoe and art teacher Kym Ries told board of education members at the Nov. 1 meeting about collaborative efforts they’ve undertaken.

The arts programs are working individually and collaboratively to go beyond the classroom and meet certification goals.

DeVoe spoke about two field trips that gave students a broader cultural experience.

The high school band competed in a marching band festival in Grand Rapids which introduced members to a variety of larger marching band styles, including an Ohio school that competes at the national level.

Several art students also went to Grand Rapids to visit the Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. Exhibits included work by Dale Chihuly and Andy Goldsworthy, both of whom were studied last year by art students. Students also toured the Grand Rapids ArtPrize event which featured artists from around the world.

Locally, Ries spoke of the collaborative efforts between the school and Stair Public Library. The programs help the school meet the state goal of interaction with the families of students.

“The library does amazing things to enrich, reinforce and remediate the programs we do here at school,” she said.

Library director Colleen Leddy obtained a grant and Ries was awarded a grant to create a program scheduled Saturday called “Picturing New York...in a tiny Midwest town.”

Artwork will be used to transform the library into a big city museum. Students have used urban themes in projects this fall for the program.

English teacher Heather Walker is using the New York-themed book, “The Great Gatsby,” and DeVoe’s music history class has studied the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 30s.

Middle school teacher Sally Kruger played a role in bringing New York City author Ned Vizzini back to Morenci. With this visit, Vizzini will discuss how one of his books was made into a movie.

DeVoe is encouraging his students to attend the performance by the Paul Keller Trio that will present New York tunes.

“They’ll actually get to see in real life what we talk about in class,” he said.

The unit covers four of nine state standards—all of the non-performing standards—DeVoe said.

Ries said she and DeVoe are seeking a proclamation from the board that establishes a partnership between Stair Public Library and Morenci Area Schools. She said it would be helpful for meeting state standards and for seeking grants.

“Thank you for supporting the arts,” she said in conclusion.

Establishing a relationship with the library has been discussed at the committee level, said Superintendent of Schools Mike Osborn, and the board would be proud to do it.

“This is exactly the kind of thing we’re trying to encourage in classrooms,” he added.

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