The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts awarded the Owensboro Public Schools Board of Education with the 28th annual Kennedy Center and National School Boards Association (NSBA) Award, which includes a $10,000 prize.
“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.
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.
A release from the Kennedy Center explained the reasons OPS was selected:
- 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.
Current Board Chair Cate Lauzon said: “It was a great honor to receive The Kennedy Center and National School Boards Association 2016 Award for Excellence on behalf of all the current and former Owensboro School Board members who helped develop, protect and deepen the Owensboro Public School’s arts program. Many have made this award possible, and I am grateful to have been a small part of such a rich tradition. Arts for Every Child, In Every School!!”
Superintendent Nick Brake said: “The Kennedy Center award is the culmination of the long standing commitment of our current board of education and many previous boards of education to providing high quality arts programs to all students in our district. It also represents the hard work and dedication of the finest educators anywhere, both in and out of arts classrooms, who understand the value of teaching the whole child through an arts curriculum.”
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.