The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced the Owensboro Public Schools Board of Education in Owensboro, Kentucky, received the 28th annual Kennedy Center and National School Boards Association (NSBA) Award. The award, which includes a $10,000 prize, was presented yesterday by Mario R. Rossero, Senior Vice President of Education at the Kennedy Center, at the National School Boards Association’s Annual Conference in Boston, Massachusetts. Since 1989, this prestigious national award has recognized individual school boards for their outstanding support of arts education. The Owensboro district was chosen from nominees around the country for its support of high-quality arts education.
“We are thrilled to recognize the Owensboro Public Schools Board of Education for their commitment to providing a quality arts education,” said Mario R. Rossero, Senior Vice President of Education at the Kennedy Center. “Arts learning is an essential component of every child’s educational journey with proven results in increased student engagement and academic success.”
The award honors the work of the 2015 school board, led by Board Chair John Blaney, Vice Chair Cate Lauzon, Nancy Eskridge, Dan Griffith, and Steve Knight. In the face of funding challenges, the Owensboro Public Schools Board of Education has shown a strong commitment to the endurance of the arts by having arts programs budgeted through the central district office, removing the burden of fundraising for teachers and ensuring stability across programs. The Board has also shown significant investment by hiring an arts supervisor for the district.
The Board cultivates strong partnerships within their community that help enrich their own arts programming. Their relationships with Owensboro Dance Theater and the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra have enabled the district to grow its dance and music programming. The Board’s long-standing relationship with the RiverPark Center has helped ensure that every child in the district’s elementary schools has the opportunity to attend a professional arts performance each year in the Arts Teach Kids program. The Owensboro Public Schools Board of Education intends to use their award to continue funding and enhancing arts education opportunities districtwide. The award will specifically help create an arts infusion program based on Tableau, a drama technique that supports comprehension in core subjects including reading, writing, and social studies.
Each year, a national review panel selects the first place school board from a pool of nominees across the country. School boards selected for this national honor must demonstrate support for all four core disciplines in arts education programs: visual arts, music, theater, and dance. Instruction and programming must be available for all students throughout the district. The ways in which the school board develops collaborative partnerships with the cultural resources available in the community are also an important consideration in reviewing nominations.