Daviess County and Owensboro public schools came together Friday for their fourth annual joint Professional Development Day for their Arts programs. Fine Arts Coordinators Karen Alward and Kara Smith said it is an event unique to the community.
Alward, the Fine Arts Coordinator for DCPS, said that in her previous community, there was no cross-collaboration between county and city schools when it came to fine arts. When the local Professional Development Day began 4 years ago, she helped ensure the OPS and DCPS came together.
“The concerted effort that we make here at this event, it’s just kind of a natural outcome of some of the really great things that are already happening with our students,” Alward said.
Smith, the Fine Arts Coordinator for DCPS, noted that due to the success of the event, other districts in the surrounding area have asked about how to implement something similar. Smith said this is a testament to the support of the arts in Owensboro-Daviess County.
“I think the more opportunities that we have to collaborate with each other across our school districts and within our community is just going to strengthen that sense of unity within Owensboro, and I think that the arts are (one of the best ways) to achieve that sense of community of bringing people together,” Smith said.
Through the annual training, Alward said they’ve seen signs of short- and long-term impacts on both the students and the teachers.
This year’s program was themed on social-emotional learning and how art teachers can incorporate that into their lessons. Topics during the program included ways to improve class through inspired teaching and to find creative methods to teach the students to be capable of their aspirations. Speakers included Peter Boonshaft of Jupiter Band Instruments and Scott Edgar of Lake Forest College.