The North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts has just received two significant grants.
One is for $800,000 from the federal government to study the correlation of the arts in education through educators. The other is from Cape Coral Lowe's Home Improvement Store for $5,000 to install a new gallery system.
The federal grant will be distributed over three years, said Academy Principal Dr. Douglas Santini. What they are tying to do is see if there is a relationship between academic achievement and the arts. It is called Training Teachers to take AIM (Arts Integration for Motivation).
He said the program had been on hold, and they just learned they had gotten the prestigious grant.
"We applied two years ago and just found out we got it. It was a shock," Santini said.
Project goals include:
1. Increase student achievement in reading and mathematics.
2. Increase teacher fine arts proficiency skills and knowledge.
3. Increase collaboration between fine arts and academic teachers.
4. Increase participation in arts integration PD among teachers in Title I eligible schools.
5. Improve attitudes toward the arts among students, teachers, parents and administrators.
6. Increase teacher engagement in arts integration.
Some funds will be used to hold in-services for teachers and in integrating the arts into academics.
"It's wonderful, and a chance for our teachers to be paid for extra work, and go out and present at conferences," said Santini.
Two of his grant writers are teachers Lori Madl and Theresa West-Taylo.
"I think this is a great way students of all learning abilities to achieve more in a regular classroom," said art teacher West-Taylo. It is also a great way for more students to be exposed to the arts.
"It emphasizes working with community partners such as the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center and Alliance for the Arts," said dance teacher Nadl.
The second grant is from the Cape Coral Lowe's, called Tool Box for Education.
"Lowe's has donated $5,000 to us. This week, we will have parent and Lowes' volunteers here to help us install a new gallery system," said West-Taylo. "This is to put up a professional display for the school and art shows. It will also show off our student art work better."
There will also be new frames for the school.
The Academy is known for exceptionally talented arts students of all kinds, including Cecily McIlwan, who designed a superior calendar for the new school year.
North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts is a Title I, K-8 public school that provides all of its elementary and middle school students access to the arts program through individual classes as well as having the arts infused into the academic curriculum. The school's arts education programs contribute to the overall culture of NFMAA by infusing every aspect of the student's day with some sort of artistic experience.