Gallo Center, Modesto City Schools team picked for Kennedy Center program

01/16/2014 10:38 AM

01/16/2014 6:20 PM

A team from the Gallo Center for the Arts and Modesto City Schools was one of 11 groups nationwide selected to participate in a Partners in Education program by the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

In April, the representatives will be inducted into the Partners in Education Institute at the renowned John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

This is the second time the Gallo Center and the school district have applied to be part of the program, and the first time they have been picked. The program encourages more use and understanding of arts in the classroom.

Gallo Center Chief Executive Officer Lynn Dickerson said the selection is an honor for the center and the school district.

“The Kennedy Center is synonymous with quality,” she said. “This is about keeping arts alive in schools and having educators and performing-arts centers collaborate.”

Modesto City Schools Superintendent Pam Able said the district was “thrilled” to partner with the Gallo Center in the endeavor.

“The Partners in Education program will help Modesto City Schools integrate more arts in our classrooms and provide new ways to enrich the educational experience. Our students, and our entire community, will benefit from this wonderful opportunity,” she said.

The Kennedy Center program was established in 1991 as a way to bolster partnerships between arts organizations and school systems. Some 100 teams have taken part in the institute in the past 23 years. This year, other recipients include groups from Fresno; Detroit; Newark, N.J.; Tallahassee, Fla.; and Austin, Texas.

Representing Modesto’s team will be Gallo Center Arts Education Coordinator Jim Johnson and Modesto City Schools educational services directors Mike Coats (grades seven through 12) and Joseph Mesa (kindergarten through sixth grade).

The team will head to the Kennedy Center for training April 23-26. There they will take part in an intensive workshop that will focus on the development of educational programs for teachers.

The Gallo Center has had an active arts education program since its opening in 2007. Last year, some 23,000 students took part in the center’s educational offerings. This season’s slate includes 11 productions ranging from science demonstrations to historical plays and children’s classics. Each performance includes a study guide for teachers.

“I hope this (program) generates more interest from more teachers to bring students to see the arts education programming we provide,” Dickerson said. “We’re really proud of the programming we provide and one of my frustrations is it’s not taken advantage of by as many teachers and classrooms as I’d like to see. I’m hoping this partnership will open (educators’) eyes to all the great stuff we’re doing here. This is a terrific opportunity in our back yard.”

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