Posted in GAP News, Greenville Public School District, Mississippi Art News, Western Line School District

Senator Cochran Shares (Musical) Notes with Mississippi Arts Educators

Mississippians in D.C. for Kennedy Center Arts Education Meeting

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today did more than convey trade policy notes with Mississippi educators in the nation’s capital for Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education meetings.  He also shared a little of his musical talent, playing the piano in his Washington office for his visitors.

Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) representatives meeting with Cochran were (left to right):  Dr. Leeson Taylor, Greenville Public Schools Deputy Superintendent;  Jodie Engle of Hattiesburg, MAAE board member; MacKenzie Stroh, Greenville Arts Council Executive Director; Dr. Penny Wallin of Laurel, MAAE Executive Director; and Joe Johnson of Hattiesburg, MAAE board member and teacher at Woodley Elementary School.

The MAAE is part of the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network that brings together statewide nonprofit alliances that are dedicated to promoting arts education as part of the curriculum for students in grades K-12.

Cochran serves on the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees.

Kennedy Center Alliance:



The mission of the Greenville Arts Council is to promote the rich cultural heritage of the region and stimulate and encourage cultural activities, arts appreciation, arts education, and the creative works of artists. Some of the responsibilities that help define the Greenville Arts Council as the primary promoter of the arts in our area include offering art classes to children and adults, organizing community events, presenting an ongoing series of free exhibits featuring visual artists from the area and the state, and coordinating educational programs which teach arts-integration in local schools. The Greenville Arts Partnership between the Greenville Arts Council, the Greenville Public School District and our three community arts partners, Delta Center Stage, Delta Symphony Association and the Delta Children’s Museum, is focused on full arts integration in the GPSD elementary schools. Plentiful research documents the value of the teaching in and through the arts to help students understand core academic concepts on a deep level. The partnership was the first in the state of Mississippi accepted into the Kennedy Center Partners in Education Program in 2003, joining over 100 other partnerships between school districts and arts organizations across the country. The partnership provides professional development for teachers, arts experiences for students and resource and referral on arts integration issues. Professional development has been provided in two ways, through workshops with Teaching Artists from the Kennedy Touring Roster and grade-level and/or discipline-specific professional development with our local staff. We present a series of model demonstration lessons to teachers in grades K to 6, demonstrating connections between Partnership free arts programming and required state frameworks. The partner arts groups present a series of live performances allowing each elementary child in the GPSD to attend at least once each year. The groups work with the Arts Council staff to develop accompanying curriculum-based educational material for distribution to teachers prior to each performance. Over the years, we have succeeded in providing basic arts integration training district-wide as well as in-depth professional development to allow groups of teachers to increase their level of mastery.