The South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities was recently awarded the Research Initiative Institution Award by the Arts Schools Network Board of Directors.
This award is given annually to schools and individuals in recognition of their efforts and impact throughout arts education, said ASN managing director Melissa Brookes in a statement.
The school was recognized for its In the Spark! outreach program, which is now in its third year and exposes at-risk third-grade readers to drama principles when they attend the state-mandated Read-to-Succeed summer program.
“While we are only three years into this five-year initiative, the combination of creativity gains and reading gains together are what draws us further into this research, and we’re very excited to see these promising trends,” Carol Baker, outreach director for the Governor’s School, said. “We’re grateful for this acknowledgement from the Arts Schools Network and for the ongoing support and participation of our partners, the South Carolina Arts Commission, who is funding this project, and the USC Department of Theatre and Dance, who is compiling and analyzing the data.”
The Spark! program started at Kenneth Gardner Elementary School in Williamsburg County School District and has received increased funding to expand to Hardeeville Elementary School in the Jasper County School District. Both districts do not have a certified drama teacher at any level and serve rural, high-poverty and under-resourced populations.
Each school offers a multiweek summer remedial reading camp, which is part of the Read-to-Succeed program, for rising fourth-grade students at risk of retention due to low test scores.