Boyle schools have strong arts programs

November 03, 2003

Dear Editor:

As a member of the Education Committee of the Community Arts Center, I read with interest the Oct. 26 feature on the role of the center, and as superintendent, I wish to clarify the state of arts education in Boyle County schools.

In designing the role of the Arts Center, planners acknowledge the strengths of this community and endeavor to identify new arts services to ensure a distinctive identity for the new center and meet remaining community needs. For instance, of the 3,000 citizens served by Community Education last year, 2,370 engaged in a wide range of arts classes, so the new center will collaborate with this successful program.

Boyle County Schools may not have a performing arts center, but for years we have provided art as well as vocal and instrumental music and dance instruction in all of our schools. Exhibits by Boyle art students taught by the 2002-2003 Kentucky Art Educator of the Year Mike Camic every year win regional awards. Last year, Boyle students placed first, second and third in visual arts categories judged by the Kentucky Art Education Association, and three Boyle students last year qualified for the Governor's School for the Arts.


Over the past three years Arts & Humanities consultant Jennifer Brogle has facilitated a wide range of arts instruction and events in all of our schools and has assisted teachers with arts integration where possible in classrooms. Her overview of our Arts & Humanities class at Boyle County High School was published in the October issue of Bluegrass Music News. Arts & Humanities teacher Tom Ellis this winter will launch our first forensics team.

In addition to our regular arts instruction, our Arts Academies for many years have employed local artists to provide dance, drama, visual arts, vocal and instrumental music instruction for identified Gifted and Talented students in the elementary and middle schools.

Boyle students use their talents to support community projects. Our elementary students this fall joined Centre College's campaign to win the bid to host the 2004 Presidential Debate by singing an original song written by Boyle's band director Tim Blevins. The song, videotaped by Centre, will be shared with the Commission on Presidential Debates in Washington, D.C.

Boyle's choral program each semester features over 200 singers who frequently perform in the area; we always are well represented in All-State choral and instrumental events where participation is controlled by rigorous audition of prepared and sight-read music.

The Boyle Marching Rebels are the only band in Kentucky to have won the Class A state championship band title for three consecutive years. During the winter, Blevins provides concert and jazz band performance experiences for students and has launched an Internet tutorial service that has been shared by the Associated Press to newspapers across the country. Mr. Blevins responds to e-mail inquiries from all over the United States about his innovative approach to home music instruction.

Finally, for the past two years we have been providing after-school arts opportunities for students through the 21st Century program that last week won first-place state recognition from the Kentucky Community Education Association. The summer enrichment program created by our Community Education program won national recognition in 2002 for its collaboration of agencies and artists to provide arts opportunities for Boyle and Danville school children .

Yes, we should be doing much more, but contrary to the one comment in Sunday's article, the arts represent far more than a mere footnote for Boyle County Schools, and we look forward to working with a new Community Arts Center to further expand arts experiences for our students.

Pam Rogers


Boyle County Schools

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