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Officials focused on promoting musical, visual arts at Hampton

| Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 9:00 p.m.

Strengthening and promoting musical and visual arts in the Hampton School District will be a focus this coming school year.

To that end. the Hampton School Board approved a contract for up to $8,384 with the Arts Education Collaborative in Pittsburgh for an assessment of the district's arts and music programs.

The K-12th assessment will look at current programming, identify the weaknesses and strengths in them, and make recommendations, said Hampton Superintendent of Schools Michael Loughead.

Hampton already has a strong art program, Loughead said; the AEC will help identify any needs or gaps.

Throughout the review and evaluation process the AEC will work with teachers, counselors, administrators and others. There will be a parent/community member focus group and five student focus groups – with one representing each school, according to the AEC proposal.

After a program review and data analysis, AEC staff will provide a “comprehensive report, outlining commendations and recommendations that can be used by the district to create an action plan for continual improvement,” according to its proposal.

Loughead said there will most likely be a need for professional development in this area. He said the feedback from educators has been positive.

All work is to be completed by July 31, 2018.

AEC will return in two years, then again in five years, for follow-up evaluations — both at no extra cost.

The intent is to keep Hampton arts viable, said Loughead.

“Participating in the arts can provide opportunities for students to identify their passion. That passion then becomes the doorway to lifelong learning,” said Sarah Tambucci, executive director at AEC.

The non-profit AEC was established in 1998 to “support quality arts education in southwestern Pennsylvania,” according to its website. “I think our music and visual arts teachers would be thrilled to have this,” said school board member Pam Lamagna at the recent meeting.

Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.

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