S.C. Department of Education, S.C. Arts Commission Announce $20M Partnership to Expand Arts Learning Initiatives; Winthrop’s ABC Project to Receive Portion of Funding
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S.C. Department of Education, S.C. Arts Commission Announce $20M Partnership to Expand Arts Learning Initiatives; Winthrop’s ABC Project to Receive Portion of Funding

July 01, 2021

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The SCDE approved $20 million for the SCAC to implement its plan over the course of the next three years.
  • Of that figure, Winthrop University’s Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project will receive a portion directly to help fulfill the SCAC’s classroom-based goals.
  • Directed by Kim Wilson ’92, the ABC Project is housed in the College of Visual and Performing Arts and currently serves about 44,000 students in 74 schools. 

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA – A $20 million partnership announced June 29 by the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) and South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) will help public schools throughout the state address pandemic-related learning loss with proven, arts-based learning initiatives.

The SCDE approved $20 million for the SCAC to implement its plan over the course of the next three years.

Of that figure, Winthrop University’s Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project will receive a portion directly to help fulfill the SCAC’s classroom-based goals, which include:

*Increasing access to quality arts education (targeting underserved communities);

*Developing arts-rich learning environments; 

*Building, restoring, expanding and supporting infrastructure for arts learning at the district level; and

*Researching and developing new and innovative instructional practices.

Directed by Kim Wilson ’92, the ABC Project is housed in the College of Visual and Performing Arts and currently serves about 44,000 students in 74 schools. The ABC Project is cooperatively led by the SCAC, SCDE and Winthrop University. 

“ABC Project is honored by this partnership,” Wilson said. “It’s been an honor to work with teachers in schools, and we’re thrilled to be able to continue our work and scale that up to communities who haven’t yet been able to take advantage of [the project].”

Wilson added that team members already had the infrastructure – data, research, etc. – in place, which strengthened their proposal. 

“In the arts, we’ve had to advocate for ourselves for so many years that collecting data, conducting research, etc., has become part of our process,” she explained. “We have three interdependent goals: best practices, research and policy. These three goals serve as cogs in the wheel and turn each other.”  

Jeff Bellantoni, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, echoed that sentiment. 

“In times of financial struggles – as we’ve seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – arts programs are often the first to be cut, even though numerous studies point to how access to the arts positively affects students’ educational and professional careers as well as their emotional and mental wellbeing,” he said. “This partnership will help ensure South Carolina school districts will not lose those benefits. We’re proud to be part of that positive movement in the state, and we will continue to advocate for strong arts programming. Much congratulations are in order for Kim Wilson, the ABC Project team and the grants team.”

With the funding, leaders hope to help schools and teachers fill learning loss gaps in the arts, use arts integration to remediate core subject areas and provide both summer and after school learning opportunities that leverage the arts throughout the state. 

“As a long-time music teacher, I have seen firsthand the impact that arts education can have on students,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “The arts have a unique ability to engage students of diverse backgrounds across all subject areas which makes this initiative well suited for the receipt of these funds.”

People can track how the ESSER III funds are being spent, learn about the partnerships and projects and more here: https://www.abcprojectsc.com/esser3/

The background

The American Rescue Plan, passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law March 11, 2021 by President Joe Biden, included $121.9 billion in elementary and secondary school Emergency Relief funds (ARP ESSER), that has been administered through the U.S. Department of Education to state educational agencies. 

SCDE is set to receive $2.1 billion in ARP ESSER funds to help South Carolina’s public schools address the impact that COVID-19 has and continues to have on students, families, educators and school communities. Ninety percent of these funds will flow through to school districts with amounts determined in proportion to the amount of Title I, Part A funds they received in summer 2020 from funds under the Every Student Succeeds Act. The remaining funds, which amount to $211,205,148, are to be used for state-level activities to address learning loss, summer enrichment programs and comprehensive after school programs.

“The South Carolina Arts Commission is confident in its ability to put this funding to use right away to equitably impact learning using the arts,” said SCAC Executive Director David Platts. “Our team of professionals manages existing programs, partnerships and grant-making infrastructure for this work, which includes federal and state reporting for accountability. ARP ESSER funding from the SCDE will enable expedient and effective scaling with various arts education partners on the local, state and national levels.”

The SCAC is working now to release information on grant guidelines, research to support evidence-based practices, partnership and professional learning opportunities, and more in coming weeks. Starting in July, these resources will be available at www.abcprojectsc.com

Read more here: https://www.scartshub.com/tag/south-carolina-arts-commission/. 

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Last Updated: 7/1/21