Little Elm ISD Board of Trustees received an update on curriculum and learning within the Fine Arts programs during its regular board meeting last week.
The LEISD Fine Arts Department currently offers six different disciplines, which includes band (grades 6-12), choir (6-12), dance (9-12), elementary music (K-5), theater (6-12), and visual arts (K-12). At the beginning of the 2024-2025 academic year, the district will move to offer seven disciplines, adding orchestra.
Every elementary student within the district takes art and music, 79% of middle school students are enrolled in at least one fine arts class, and 59% of high school students are enrolled in at least one fine arts class. Beginning in 2023-2024, all fine arts courses offered at the secondary level (middle school and high school) will be ability-based, which will provide greater differentiation to meet the needs of all learners, said Frank Felice, Director of Fine Arts for Little Elm ISD.
“We’re trying to give students more performance opportunities,” Felice said. “We’re really trying to make sure that the students are in the correct band, the correct choir, the correct theater class based on their ability and where they need to be at that time in their learning process.”
In 2022-2023, fine arts budgets were allocated through the campus budgets, with $414,178 being allocated to the campuses and $76,000 being allocated to curriculum and learning for a total of $490,178. In 2023-2024, fine arts budgets will be allocated through the fine arts office.
For staffing, there are 13 fine arts teachers at the high school, one paraprofessional at the high school, seven teachers at Walker Middle School, seven teachers at Strike Middle School, 14 teachers at the elementary schools, and one fine arts director.
“We’re already looking at the accelerated block schedule and the possibility of adding two more art teachers to accommodate for the number of students in art,” Felice said. “This year alone, we had 850 students in art, of which over 500 of them were in Art 1.”
The department has been working with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to offer advanced art students in the 8th grade Art 1, so more students going into their freshmen year will have the opportunity to take Art 2.
When it comes to fine arts goals from this academic year, Felice said that the hope was to increase the number of opportunities for students in grades 6-12, which he felt the department had accomplished.
Other goals included developing a strategic plan for improving all fine arts programs, focusing on content specific professional development for all fine arts teachers in the district, creating a 10-year plan for uniform replacement, and creating a plan for orchestra for 2023-2024, starting with 6th grade orchestra at Strike and Walker Middle Schools.
Future needs for the fine arts department includes the possibility for additional personnel as the programs grows, and opening a visual and performing arts center.
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Arianna Morrison is a reporter for Star Local Media, covering the communities of The Colony, Little Elm, Carrollton, Lewisville, Flower Mound and Coppell. Email her with story ideas and more at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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