Jennings Music, Art Students in 2 Education Conference Programs

Jennings School District has accelerated learning using music and art and they will be showing off their performing arts talents at their Gala and Educational Conference on stage at The Blanche Touhill Performing Arts Theatre on April 3 at 6:30 p.m. and at their educational workshops on April 4.  More information on tickets can be obtained by calling the district directly at 314-653-8003.

Jennings school officials believe music can increase and promote instructional growth in ways that traditional methods cannot.  In 2013, the district appointed a retired performing arts principal, Mrs. Melba Davis, to oversee the college prep academy.  They also recruited a Director of the Performing Arts, Dello Thedford, a 30-year experienced performing arts teacher who has also worked with the Black Repertory Theatre.

This year the district started implementing a fine arts program that integrates music and art with academics. Since the start of the school year, a creative fine arts program offering music, dance, violin lessons, a drum line, band, ensemble groups, and concert choirs have been implemented in schools across the district.

Students have been performing on stage at Powell Symphony Hall, at community functions, and on April 3 they will be performing at The Blanche Touhill Performing Arts Theatre at 6:30  on the campus of University of Missouri St. Louis. The event serves as a kick off to the district’s educational conference to share how they are increasing achievement at their schools.. They want to share with others creative ways to inspire students.

Superintendent Tiffany Anderson shared her goal is to reach students in various ways and music and the performing arts is another way to help students excel. “Music and art is a form of expression and it can be used to simplify complex skills and help students express themselves academically.  Rhythmic patterns in music and art also help students make academic connections at a faster pace,” said Dr. Anderson.

Anderson’s early teacher preparation training comes from her student teaching experiences at New City School where the arts are incorporated in lessons as one of the multiple intelligences. Jennings is using fine arts to teach poetry lessons, increase long term memory skills, help students express their emotions in writing and it’s used to accelerate learning in math, science and social studies.

When touring Jennings College Prep and various elementary schools, one may observe violin lessons being incorporated in language arts classes, art lessons being co-taught by English language arts teachers and visual art teachers, and choir teachers instructing lessons on math, science and on social studies material.

School officials shared that often urban students are not exposed  to the arts due to being unable to purchase the instruments and materials. Supt. Anderson notes Jennings has invested in the fine arts programs in the same manner they are investing in the academic program to allow students to flourish academically through the arts and have the exposure they need to excel.



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