NASAA Notes: July 2010


Jesse Rye Headshot

Jesse Rye

July issue
Back to all issues
July 13, 2010

Alaska: New Visions Grant

The Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA) recently completed the first year of the New Visions Grant Initiative. The initiative consists of ASCA providing three pilot school districts—Bering Strait School District, Copper River School District and Kodiak School District—$10,000 matching grants for three years to assist in developing new models of arts integration and residency programs. The initiative focuses on professional development for staff, curriculum writing, leadership training and bringing Alaskan Teaching Artists to work with students. The development of the New Visions Initiative was in response to the results gathered from On Thin Ice: Arts Education in Alaska Schools, a statewide comprehensive survey of arts education conducted through a collaboration of ASCA, the Alaska Arts Education Consortium and the Alaska Council of School Administrators. In August 2009, after consulting with administrators from the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, the three diverse Alaskan districts were targeted and approached to participate in the program. The superintendents from Bering Strait, Copper River and Kodiak all agreed to participate and to dedicate matching funds for district program development. Annie Calkins, a consultant working with the initiative, is in the process of evaluating its first year. Noteworthy developments include all three districts exceeding the required financial match; connections and commitments across the New Vision districts resulting in collaboration for professional development; the Bering Strait district integrating arts and artists into summer-school curriculum and assessing whether it has a positive impact on summer-school attendance; Copper River hosting its first artist-in-school residency and working on how to use the arts to make its curriculum more exciting; and Kodiak pioneering an initiative that uses video teleconferencing to teach music in rural districts. To learn more about the New Visions Initiative or the On Thin Ice: Arts Education in Alaska Schools report, contact ASCA Executive Director Charlotte Fox or ASCA Arts Education Consultant Annie Calkins.