Lehigh Valley

Bethlehem schools to partner with Kennedy Center on arts initiative

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced Wednesday that it will partner with the Bethlehem Area School District on a long-term arts education initiative.

The Kennedy Center selected the school district for its "Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child" program. The program is geared toward students in grades kindergarten through eighth, and Lehigh University's Zoellner Arts Center will serve as the lead organization.

Any Given Child aims to fill the gaps in art education for students who receive sporadic in-school art instruction, according to a news release. Working with community leaders, Kennedy Center staff work to develop art education strategies specific to a school district.

The first phase of the program is a roughly nine-month strategic planning process that involves an audit of a school district's existing art education programs. The goal is to identify gaps in the district's art curriculum.

Selected school districts are required to provide $25,000 toward the first four years of the initiative. But the Kennedy Center covers "the majority of the cost" and works with local arts groups to minimize administrative costs, according to a news release.

After the audit, a community committee will recommend to the school board and local arts organizations how to implement the plan to increase student art programs.

The Kennedy Center provides resources such as classroom lessons with online learning tools and professional development.

"The Bethlehem Area School District is honored to be part of the Kennedy Center's Any Given Child comprehensive arts education program," district Superintendent Joseph Roy said in a prepared statement. "Any Given Child will bring inspiring performances from Bethlehem's vibrant arts community into our schools, as well as collaborative teaching and learning strategies that will touch each child."


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