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Get More Art Into Barrington Schools

Barrington School Committee candidate Paula Dominguez says the arts can bolster math and science scores while boosting all-around academic achievement.

School Committee candidate Paula Dominguez believes the arts must play a much stronger and more prominent role in Barrington’s schools.

“The arts support the core content,” said Dominguez, who holds a Ph.D. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and has studied high performing school systems. “And the good news is the future Common Core (curriculum) is a great opportunity to emphasize the arts.”

Barrington students' success in standardized science and math assessment tests is well-known in Rhode Island, she said. Greater success in those disciplines can come from introducing more art into their lives.

“The arts should not be a second conversation,” Dominguez said. “They can add to the entire community. They can add to the quality of life, and have an economic impact.”

A well-rounded education broadens a student’s capacity to understand all subject matter, she said.

“We have to recognize that 21st century skills emphasize creativity, innovation, leadership, generating ideas, and synthesizing information from different sources,” she said. “This is what the artistic process is all about.”

Dominguez, who serves on the board of Arts Alive!, which has brought performing arts to the elementary schools and, this year, to the middle school, sees “a robust community of parents who have embraced the arts.” Many of those parents and others have been enrolling their children in the Community Theater program for years.

And for good reason, she said.

“The performing arts allow children to unleash their creativity, their problem- solving skills, and their ability to draw inferences,” she said. “All of these capacities support children’s learning in core academic disciplines.”

“I am not surprised that Barrington’s progress in science and math has occurred alongside the recent development of a stronger performing arts culture,” she said. “There is now a pipeline of students in town who have grown up with the performing arts through a rich array of in-school and after-school activities.”

The fact that much of the arts in Barrington occur outside of schools, however, is not lost on Dominguez.

“I think there is a need and a thirst in our schools that sends a message that there is a gap,” she said. “I am all for a complete and well-rounded education that makes full use of the arts.”

Dominguez would devote professional development time for teachers to the arts so they can incorporate the concepts into classroom instruction.

“There is a crying need to bolster professional development of teachers in the arts,” she said.

Dominguez sees the creation of partnerships with existing arts programs, such as Arts Alive! and the Rhode Island School of Design, which operates a campus in Barrington, are a way to go, she said. She does not envision adding substantial sums of money to the budget to add more in-school arts programs.

“I will be honor-bound to pursue these partnerships if I am elected to the school committee,” Dominguez said.

Any discussion of improving Barrington’s schools must include the arts, she said. The arts must play a more prominent role in the schools.

Joel Hellmann October 01, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Artsy mom, I am working on my blog piece. It is not mudslinging. The program is good, the people mean well, but the money is the question. The town needs to follow the law. The schools need to follow the law. They both have obligations to have the best programs, that cost the town the least money and create the most revenue for the town. not to use the PTO's to get around the rules. Arts Alive Is not paying enough money to the town or schools for the exclusive right they have been granted. Arts Alive wants to take over all theatre in town. Several board members went into the town managers office last year and insisted to take over Community Theatre because they were more popular and wanted the space we used. our existance conflicted with them. When that failed,They offered all of our staff jobs if they would leave us and go to arts alive. they have been pressuring the middle school to take them in so they will have 5 schools. I will prove, that beyond any doubt, the schools could have a fine program. like arts alive or better, from many different sources and also have more money. Much more money. And that the PTO's and Arts Alive are a conflict of interest which if it were not the PTo could be criminal.
Manifold Witness October 01, 2012 at 05:20 PM
There he goes again – this public tax official who spends so much time at writing & throwing around bogus legal theories at innocent bystanders & threatening lawsuits & yakety-yaking about alleged criminal activity & alleged conflicts of interest & anything & everything ... except that he ignores his own important duties as a member of the Barrington Ad Hoc Tax Committee– including, to ensure that the town complies with the BET Settlement Order (which ironically enough, actually involves real law & the real court & a real case & real need for real tax standards & a real judge & real implications & real appeals, & real duties, etc.). But he doesn't seem to comprehend these real legal issues. And to top it off, he lied and first said his Tax Committee had implemented the standards, but when asked to produce them, he had to admit they were not implemented.
Manifold Witness October 01, 2012 at 05:33 PM
And Joel, thanks for the fair warning about your many and varied upcoming alleged exposes. Here’s our response in advance: Jealous much?
susan amendolara October 02, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Wow! I can not believe Mr. Hellmann's negative attack on Arts Alive! There are so many children and adults that think the program is wonderful. I have volunteered on many of the Arts Alive productions and can honestly say that they are NOT in it for the money! They are so talented and generous with their time. Mr. Hellmann claims to "know more than anyone else in town how much money they are raising and how much it costs to mount shows" He has no idea what goes into one of their shows! I was almost speechless when I read his absurd accusations toward the PTO's in town " benefitting themselves to harm children". WHAT? I have also been a volunteer on the PTO for many years. I sacrificed many, many hours with absolutely no personal gain! Once again, Mr. Hellman's comments are excessive and unjustified. They are not even worth a response but I was compelled to speek up.
B/STOCK October 02, 2012 at 04:44 AM
Could this law put an end to the fluorescent colored 12X14 yard sales signs that visually pollute the town. Should be very easy to catch the culprits as their addresses are written on the flyers. How I loathe those signs especially when the posters don't take them down after the sale has ended.

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