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El Paso County Colorado District 49

MRES PTA hosts “Start the Art Night”

“An elementary school that treats the arts as a province of a few gifted children, or views them as recreation and entertainment, is a school that needs an infusion of soul. The arts are an essential element of education, just like reading, writing, and arithmetic.” – William J. Bennet – US Secretary of Education 1986On Oct. 25, the Meridian Ranch Elementary School PTA hosted “Start the Art Night,” in celebration of the arts in education. Children in K-6 displayed their artwork throughout the school halls; the Meridian Ranch Elementary singers, led by music teacher Norene Patton, sang along with the melody of the Falcon Middle School brass quintet, led by director Meg Halston. The Falcon High School Jazz Choir performed on stage in the gymnasium.There were plentiful hands-on activities, including an “I spy” game, where students and parents searched the hallways for specific pieces of art and a contest to identify artists of famous paintings.The second week of October is designated by the National PTA as “Start the Art Week” to embrace, celebrate and advocate for the arts, which include visual arts, music, literature, dance and drama. According to the PTA’s Web site, studies have shown that arts education can enhance children’s personal, social and intellectual development by building self-esteem and boosting student achievement.However, when school budgets are squeezed, the arts are usually the first to go. The National PTA and Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading arts advocacy organization, encourages parents to support the arts in schools by getting involved in their local PTA and calling or writing their federal, state and local policy makers to promote comprehensive arts programs in schools.

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