Missouri Schools Celebrate Fine Arts Education

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) hosted Fine Arts Education Day at the State Capitol, Tuesday afternoon. From band performances to theatrical monologues -- Missouri students showed off their skills.

365 elementary to high school aged students performed for legislators, education administrators, teachers, peers and community members. The special occasion started as students sang the "National Anthem" for the House Session and ended with a finale song of "America the Beautiful."
The program included instrumental ensembles, theatrical scenes, musical selections, artwork and multiple fine arts awards.

South Callaway High's Band also kicked off the day with its outside performance on the Capitol's steps. Avery Peneston, a senior clarinet player, said being apart of the band has helped shape who she is today. "Before I was in band, I was a really shy person, and once I started being in there I started making more friends. I started to branch out a lot more," she said.

The MAAE conducted a three-year study that led to the report "Arts Education Makes a Difference in Missouri Schools." The report analyzed data regarding graduation rates, average daily attendance rates, Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) scores, and discipline infraction occurrences. The results showed that, in middle/junior high schools and high schools where there is a high percentage of students involved in fine arts, also have higher graduation and attendance rates, a higher percentage of students scoring proficient and advanced on the Communication Arts and Mathematics MAP, and fewer discipline infractions.

This day gives students the opportunity to see state government in action, learn how to advocate for the arts and perform, according to Deborah Fisher, Executive Director of the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education. "It gives them the opportunity to be with other students from other schools that have like interests," she said.

The Francis Family Foundation and the 17 member organizations of the MAAE funded the event.