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Meeting draws on importance of arts education

By By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
April 14, 2004
A Meridian public school administrator said Tuesday she wants to know how the community believes schools should improve arts education offered in kindergarten through the 12th grade.
Thomas spoke during a town meeting at Meridian Community College that included about 75 teachers, administrators and community leaders.
Mayor John Robert Smith, city council members and representatives from Meridian and Lauderdale County schools also attended.
During the meeting, participants were asked to answer a questionnaire that rates how successful they believe schools are in teaching arts education.
Althea Jerome, past president of the Mississippi Alliance for the Arts Education, said Meridian was one of five areas in Mississippi chosen to participate in the arts education audit.
Oxford, Picayune, Stone County and Cleveland also are participating in the study. The audit is being paid for by the Take Part! grant.
Jerome said the Mississippi Arts Commission received from the money from the Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Foundation. It was then given to the Mississippi Alliance for the Arts Education.
Jerome said results from Tuesday's meeting will be revealed Sept. 1, when Meridian hosts a celebration of arts education. After that, she said, the next step is up to the community.
Thomas said the arts, which includes dance, theater, visual arts and music, is important to Meridian because students need to know that they can make a career in the field.
ARTS EDUCATION QUESTIONNAIRE
If you didn't attend the Tuesday town meeting on arts education, you can access a questionnaire distributed at the session by visiting these Web sites: www.meridian.k12.ms.us or www.msartsalliance.com.
You have until April 30 to file completed questionnaires with the Meridian Public Schools central administrative office, 1019 25th Ave. You have until May 30 to file questionnaires if you use the Internet.

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