A new school year has begun, and the FAAC is excited to continue our work with the Howard County Public School System.
State of the Arts in Howard County Schools
We had our first meeting of the 2011-2012 school year on September 19, 2011. After a brief welcome by FAAC co-chair George Wilson, current and new members of the council introduced themselves and their ties to the arts and the Howard County Public School System. HCPSS Fine Arts Coordinator Mark Coates presented a State of the Arts. Highlights from his presentation include:
- Art labs: programs to assist students in digital media
- Music Technology labs: MIDI set-ups with keyboards and computers, Sibelius notation software, Smart Music student assistance software, Garage Band
- All lab spaces to be created or retro-fitted by Summer 2012
- All high school auditoriums are now centralized in the office of the HCPSS Fine Arts Coordinator
- Inspections of all high school theaters were performed and funding has been secured to standardize light and sounds systems across all high school theaters
- 2011-2012 marks the fortieth year of the Columbia Mall Art Show for HCPSS students
College Information Night
Janis McNutt introduced College Information Night, and Stephanie Gurwitz-Zurier provided a brief description and sought volunteers to help moderate panel sessions and other required tasks. More information will be provided in a later post.
High School Communication Liaisons
It was suggested by a council member that we establish communications liaisons with each school to provide more focused communication with school administrators and teachers. FAAC would create a newsletter type of communiqué to distribute to the schools and school board members.
Board of Education
Brian Meshkin, HCPSS parent and a member of the Howard County Board of Education, attended our meeting to familiarize himself with the county arts administrators and hear the concerns of all council members. Mr. Meshkin is quite interested in keeping arts involved with all school in Howard County and taking our schools in a direction that would enhance STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) to become STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math). He sought our ideas and suggestions for improving arts education in HCPSS schools and innovating the teaching of common core subjects to enhance students’ interest in school and improve their test scores. A council member provided feedback on enhanced arts integration, in particular, at Thunder Hill Elementary and its dramatic effect on their test scores.
Parks and Recreation
Holly, a representative from Howard County Parks and Recreation, was in attendance and seeking a partnership with a HCPSS school to provide an after-school program involving the arts. Her department would be providing the funding for this program.
Openings Within the Committee
Positions for a secretary and website administrator were open and volunteers sought. Katey Pearson, parent and violist, volunteered for the secretary position, and Donna Wiles-Noyes, parent and clarinetist, volunteered for the website administrator position. The FAAC co-chairs and members thank these women for their commitment to our council.
Next FAAC Meeting
The next meeting of the FAAC will be in November. Details will be updated as they are received.