Research tells us that the arts play a crucial role in improving students' abilities to learn, because they draw on a range of intelligences and learning styles, not just linguistic and logical-mathematic intelligence upon which most schools are based. It is the reason I support and am passionate about art education.
Last Saturday, I had a chance to see the "Little Mermaid" performed on stage in the newly remodeled Merced Theater by the students from the Weaver School District. I was one of more than 5,000 students and community members to see the performance.
It was outstanding and I applaud the 25 or so staff members who worked with these children to put on a great performance. I can only imagine the number of hours these staff members must have spent coaching, prepping, staging, making costumes and sets, doing makeup, and rehearsing and all without additional compensation. They did it for the love of children and the arts. I salute those staff members for their dedication and professionalism. I also want to acknowledge Weaver's superintendent, John Curry, and the Board of Trustees for their support of these staff members and of the arts.
Arts curricula are typically process-driven and relationship-based, so the impact the arts have on academic performance is often underestimated and undervalued. It is obvious that the Weaver School District does not underestimate the value of arts and perhaps one of the reasons they have also increased student academic performance as well. Congratulations to all for a job well done!
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Gomes is Merced County Superintendent of Schools.