WARREN — The “Any Given Child” program in the Warren City School District has given 10-year-old Trinity Walker ways to explore learning outside of reading textbooks.
“We have been able to do plays and learn through music and art projects,” she said.
Trinity participated in an Any Given Child art project in which she learned about Egypt and the Egyptian culture.
“I just always have been interested in it,” she said.
The infusion of various types of arts through her classroom studies and by going on field trips has given Trinity poise and a sense of confidence that allows her to believe she can accomplish any goal she sets her mind to — even one day becoming president of the United States.
Providing alternative ways of learning and encouraging confidence among the 4,900 students in Warren City Schools is part of the goal of Any Given Child Warren. The program, entering its third year, is a collaboration of The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., Warren City Schools, Warren city, as well as various local organizations.
Warren is the smallest school district of the 25 working with the Kennedy Center in the Any Given Child Program. It is the only school district in Ohio.
“Equity in, and access to, a strong arts education remains an issue in many communities,”Superintendent Steve Chiaro said. “In Warren, we’ve prioritized arts education for our children.”
“A strong district arts education plan is achieved when all students have ongoing and equal access to learning in and through all arts — visual arts, music, dance, theater, creative writing and media arts,”Chiaro said.
Since its implementation in the 2016-2017 school year, the arts have been made a major component in educating Warren students by providing a greater exposure to music, theater, visual arts and dance through field trips to various arts organizations and by bringing artists and performers into the schools.
It has been funded through $90,000 in grants, another $12,500 from a single donor and approximately $250 in local donations, according to Chiaro. Funding has been provided by the Ohio Arts Council’s Teach Arts Ohio grant to help pay for programs.
Interest in various art programming has increased since Any Given Child began.
“We are needing more donations of musical instruments, even though our student population has remained relatively stagnant,” Chiaro said.
Warren Mayor Doug Franklin said the greater emphasis in arts programming is important because studies have shown that young people that have greater exposure and participation in the arts generally do better academically.
Rep. Timothy J. Ryan, D-Howland, said Warren is a leader in infusing social-emotional learning throughout its curriculum and said increasing the arts will work as an extension of that curriculum.
As the national economy and job opportunities change, Ryan said the infusion of arts into school programming is making young people more creative and resourceful.
Lisa Ramsey, a mother of two children attending Warren schools, said the arts programs has made her son more excited about what he is doing in school.
“His class went to the Butler Museum and he came home excited,” she said. “He talked about how to interpret a painting. As a parent, I see that as a victory.”
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