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First-Ever Iowa Fine Arts Education Summit Focus on New Standards

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ANKENY, Iowa- The State Department of Education, and the Iowa Alliance for Arts Education has sponsored the first ever Iowa Fine Arts Education Summit. This meeting is a result of new standards for fine arts education in the state.
That includes, dance, media arts, music visual arts, and theater.

“One of the unfortunate challenges I see in too many places, are students who are disengaged from their learning,” said Ryan Wise, Director of the Iowa Department of Education. “There are so many opportunities to better engage them, and you all are so well positioned to do that.”

The standards focus on artistic processes, rather than academic testing. The processes include creating, responding, presenting, and connecting, according to the Iowa Department of Education.

“Remember that the art standards themselves were not written as pie in the sky notions as what might be possible in arts education,” said Olivia Gude, Keynote Conference Speaker from the Chicago Art Institute. “They were written with the best teaching practices already happening in mind, they were reality based.”

The Summit featured break-out sessions on applying standards to the various disciplines, and discussions on using popular music to engage young students with music they already like, and how educators can focus on creating, and presenting the arts.

I hope having these standards will increase the public’s awareness,” Christena Miller of Carroll Community Schools. “I think that art is really important, and its one of the areas that’s kind of forgotten about in education.”

I’m really hoping to learn more about how to apply those standards within my classroom,” said Sarah Backstrom of Hubbard Radcliffe Schools. “I’m hoping to connect with other art teachers and find out what they’re doing, what things have been successful, and what things haven’t been.”

These new standards are voluntary, but it is hoped to give educators a better way to measure student progress in artistic classes.

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