Students in several area schools will participate in musical productions this year, thanks to grants from the S.C. Department of Education.
The annual grants are to help schools and districts develop arts education programs that support the growth of dance, music, theater and visual arts programs based on the state’s 2010 Academic Standards for the Visual and Performing Arts.
Eleven schools in Dorchester District 2 received more than $132,000 total. In Berkeley County, five schools won a total of $58,100. Ashley River Creative Arts, receiving $11,996, was the lone school in in Charleston County.
Dorchester 2 typically receives more of the arts grants than other school districts, according to the Education Department.
The awards are part of about $1.18 million allocated for Distinguished Arts Program and Stategic Planning/Special Project grants this school year.
Each school also gets about $6,000 in additional money for professional development, District 2 fine arts director Larry Barnfield said.
Many of the Dorchester 2 schools plan to bring in artists-in-residence for specific projects, he said.
“Several of them will bring in guest directors, guest musicians, some technical people for lighting and set,” he said. “It’s truly a learning experience and professional development for the teachers also.”
Most of the schools do not offer theater programs, he said.
Among the projects, Oakbrook Middle plans to put on “Annie,” and River Oaks will produce “The Music Man.” Others will use the money to infuse academic programs with the arts and to take arts-related field trips.
Most of the grants have a component that incorporates the new Common Core State Standards, Barnfield said.
“It’s not ‘sit and get’ in the arts and that’s what Common Core is about also: teaching depth with the kids having lots of experiences,” he said.