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Iowa City to Get Arts Education Help From Kennedy Center

Iowa City is the latest community to get assistance in ramping up and improving its arts education offerings through an initiative of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, according to the Associated Press.

With the announcement this week, Iowa City joins a number of other communities—including Sacramento, Calif., Springfield, Mo., and Portland, Ore.—that already are receiving similar help through the Kennedy Center's "Any Given Child" initiative.

Under the program, Kennedy Center staff and consultants work in partnership with a community team to gather data on the status of arts education programs and resources in and out of school and develop long-term goals to achieve what the national arts center's website calls a "collective vision for arts education in their schools."

Iowa City schools Superintendent Stephen Murley told the AP the undertaking provides an opportunity to "create a more comprehensive and balanced arts education program for all Iowa City students."

The Any Given Child program, first launched in 2009, is designed "to assist a community in planning strategically to provide an equitable arts education for students in grades K-8, using the existing resources of the school district, the local arts community, and the Kennedy Center," according to the Washington-based organization's website.

(You can get more on this week's announcement, including further comments from education and community leaders, in this item from IowaNow, a publication of the University of Iowa.

The Kennedy Center effort sets five goals for each participating community:

• Develop long-term goals for increased access and equity in arts education programs and resources for K-8 students;

• Develop and maintain programs and support systems for arts learning providers, such as classroom teachers, arts specialists, and arts organizations;

• Develop and maintain a governance structure to oversee and sustain the initiative;

• Secure funding and other resources to sustain the community's long-term goals for K-8 arts education for every child; and

• Influence arts and education policy in the school district, local government, and arts organizations.

To get a flavor for the work under way in other communities, you can check out some recent reports and local profiles here.

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