A+ Schools Program leadership from North Carolina, Oklahoma and Arkansas joined together in Washington, D.C., last Monday, to present for the National Endowment for the Arts, the U.S. Department of Education and the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities. Meeting in the Old Executive Office Building, the Thea Foundation’s executive director, Paul Leopolous, kicked off the meeting. The Thea Foundation is the home of Arkansas A+ Schools, where their state-wide network of A+ schools has found rejuvenation and will grow to include twelve A+ schools this summer.
Michelle Mazan Burrows, director of the A+ Schools Program of the N.C. Arts Council, provided the background and history of the A+ Schools Program, including its training and support in the initial development of both Oklahoma’s and Arkansas’ state-wide A+ networks, and its recent move to the N.C. Arts Council. North Carolina is home to 41 A+ schools and will welcome five new schools into its A+ network this summer.
Jean Hendrickson, executive director of Oklahoma A+, rounded out the presentation with details on the foundational philosophies of A+ — the A+ Essentials TM. Oklahoma, who initiated their state-wide A+ network in 2003, is now home to more than 70 A+ schools. The presentation was followed by discussion led by NEA chairman Rocco Landesman; Doug Herbert, Special Assistant, Office of Innovation and Improvement, Department of Education; and Rachel Goslins, Executive Director, President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities and centered on supporting the A+ Schools Program at the national level and developing a vision for the future of A+.