Students at seven New Jersey schools will benefit from the $250 California Casualty Music and Arts Grant. The grant was created to aid educators in fostering creativity in schools through choir, band, dance, film, theater, computer arts and graphics, or any K-12 curriculum that employs art for learning.
The funds were awarded to the following recipients and their programs to:
• Energize the Atlantic City High School band and orchestra program with new sheet music and supplies with the help from applicant Craig Martin.
• Add a new step to Highland Park’s Bartle Elementary School’s band program by repairing and purchasing beginner instruments with applicant Keith Presty.
• Acquire extra sheet music and music stands for Cape May’s Carl T. Mitnick Elementary School’s annual band concert thanks to applicant Deborah Pruitt.
• Keep things in tune by providing rosin for Hillside’s Hurden Looker Elementary School’s band and strings program with support from applicant Alissa Valiant.
• Add new beats with the purchase of percussion instruments for third graders at the East Rutherford’s McKenzie School thanks to applicant Willa Alvarez.
• Make art more colorful at Paterson’s Panther Academy with tools and art supplies with the help from applicant Pam Moya.
• Obtain new instruments and music for the fourth- and fifth-grade music program at Hawthorne’s Washington Elementary School thanks to applicant Devin Frederickson.
Washington Elementary music teacher Devin Frederickson said acquiring new sheet music will enhance student performances and give new life to the program.
“Thank you for your support in helping provide the best education and environment for our community’s children,” Deborah Pruitt, grant recipient for Carl T. Mitnick School said. “I am incredibly grateful.”
Panther Academy’s new art teacher, Katie Machere, said she is thrilled to be offering students a more comprehensive art experience.
“It feels amazing to receive this grant as funding has gone down for our program the past few years,” said Keith Presty, band director and president of the Highland Park Education Association.
The New Jersey schools are among 139 public schools in 31 states receiving a total of $34,750 to provide materials, supplies and instruments for art, music and performance programs at the schools.
California Casualty has partnered with education associations since 1951 and NJEA since 2009, and understands the importance of music and arts education for children. Numerous studies have concluded that sharing a love of the arts enhances students’:
• Brain development
• Classroom involvement
Music and art curricula have also been shown to reduce disciplinary issues and dropout rates.
Unfortunately, many schools have reduced or eliminated music and arts education because of budget cuts. California Casualty hopes to fill the need with the Music and Arts Grant.
“Students love to showcase their creativity, and helping educators keep music and arts in the forefront of everyday learning is absolutely the right thing for us to do,” said California Casualty AVP Brian Goodman.
Public K-12 schools in the Garden State needing funding for an arts or performance program can apply for the 2020 Music and Arts Grant from California Casualty, at calcasmusicartsgrant.com.
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