CCSD Lead Story - December 3, 2012
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Charleston County School District publicly launched the Engaging Creative Minds (ECM) public-private education partnership today. The project’s major funders were announced, and representatives from Boeing, ECM’s founding corporate partner, as well as representatives from Target and the South Carolina Arts Commission, said a few words about the importance of this new initiative. Arts education was brought to life at the launch event with a prelude by the Ashley River Creative Arts Drumming Group and a performance by the Pepperhill Elementary Chorus.
“In a global economy, our children deserve access to high quality education and opportunities to develop skills that will enable them to realize their dreams,” said Jack Jones, Boeing South Carolina vice-president and general manager. “Boeing is proud to support the Engaging Creative Minds initiative and its goal of stimulating students’ interest in learning so that they become disciplined, creative workers as adults.”
Engaging Creative Minds is structured to increase student access to learning through the arts, culture, creativity and imagination—all important drivers of student success. Year one funds will provide arts-infused curriculum training and opportunities for eight pilot elementary schools, while longer term goals for ECM include a tri-county presence in all interested schools, eventually helping to produce imaginative, adaptable and productive adults, and resulting in stronger communities and a more capable state workforce.
“We are very happy to provide support for this innovative partnership of cities, schools, higher ed, and community arts providers working together to help every child in the Charleston region succeed in and through the arts,” said Ken May, Executive Director of the South Carolina Arts Commission. “We applaud the leadership and vision of the partners as they launch the pilot phase of this long-term initiative, which we believe will have a powerful, positive impact on children and families.”
The program places a high level of importance on closing achievement gaps by providing equal access to quality creative learning opportunities. “CCSD’s Vision 2016 makes the closing of achievement gaps a top priority, and programs such as Engaging Creative Minds will help us jump yet another step closer to our goals,” said District Superintendent Nancy McGinley.
ECM will launch in January and will initially impact approximately 1,700 students, 88 teachers and principals, and over 30 ECM community partners. Modeled after the successful public-private learning partnership of Dallas-based Big Thought, the ECM budget represents approximately 55% public and 45% private funding.
Participating pilot elementary schools include:
- Angel Oak Elementary (Johns Island)
- Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary (West Ashley)
- Jennie Moore Elementary (Mt. Pleasant)
- James Island Elementary (James Island)
- James Simons Elementary (City of Charleston)
- Ladson Elementary (Ladson)
- Memminger Elementary (City of Charleston)
- Pepperhill Elementary (North Charleston)
Leaders from the CCSD, the College of Charleston, the Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts, the Youth Endowment for the Arts, the City of Charleston and the City of North Charleston came together last spring to facilitate a community planning process, which led to the development of Engaging Creative Minds. ECM’s long-term goal is to develop common core standards for classroom arts integration in the three-county region within five years, while also examining opportunities to infuse the arts and creative learning opportunities into Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs.