I like art because it lets me use my imagination. Mr. Cornwall has taught me different ways to draw things. It doesn’t just make me a better artist—it makes me a better thinker. I love our art class.
-Jane 4th Grade
TEST SCORES – Standardized test scores for Edgemont Elementary have risen almost 10% since the introduction of the integrated art program. The 5th grade Language Arts CRT scores have increased from 85% in 2008 to 98% in 2012 after beginning an art, music, dance, and regular classroom teaching combined curriculum.
We love the arts program at Edgemont Elementary School. Like many others, we moved into the school. It is the third elementary school that our children have attended which helped give added perspective to how successful the art program at Edgemont really is.
As parents we have had so many experiences and discussions with our children related directly to the art projects they have done or the art knowledge they have gained. Once, as a family, we were visiting a print exhibit at the BYU Museum of Art. Our son was able to give a lengthy description of how prints were done, how and why they are numbered and what the numbers mean. This was from a direct learning experience in art class where they had made their own series of prints and experienced firsthand the difference between print #1 and print #5. My husband has been a great fan of classical music throughout his life. Our kindergartner recently came home telling us everything he had learned about CPE Bach at school. My husband and my son talked together for an extended period about CPE Bach and JS Bach. They listened to sections of my husband favorite CPE Bach pieces and our 6 year old even knew a fact or two he didn’t. Our boys love participating in orchestra and choir which they would not be able to do without the programs at Edgemont. My third son has developed into quite a photographer just by being inspired by projects he has seen at school. My second son who is very shy was able to preform a Christmas solo in front of a large group of people because of the confidence choir has given him.
The list goes on and on but I also have another reason to love the arts at Edgemont. My second son suffers from a motor/nerve issue. While it does not affect him mentally nor is it considered special needs, it does limit him at school somewhat. It has had the side effect of slowing down his reading, writing and comprehension because his nerve stimulus reaches him in a different way. He has always loved art and from a very young age has always expressed himself creatively. Academically he has always been at grade level but it wasn’t until moving to Edgemont that he began to feel successful at school. I believe this is directly related to the integrated art program at Edgemont. The adding of art into regular subjects such as social studies, reading, science and math, has given him more confidence in his work and the opportunity to express himself more in the regular school setting. There are now many moments in the day where his learning “belongs” to him and there are also (finally) moments where he feels he “belongs” to the learning. His art experiences have inspired him. He draws more, he reads more and he has now written 3 completed books with many others started.
I know my son is not unique. His issues have highlighted the great benefits of the Edgemont art program for us but I know there are hundreds of other children at Edgemont who benefit daily from these programs. When coming out of a dance performance my son exclaimed, “My mind has so many more ideas!” Whether we scrapbook, listen to the radio, see plays, landscape our yards, collect stamps or create 30 ft sculptures we are all patrons of the arts in some way!! We love that the art program at Edgemont teaches our children (and ourselves) to value the art that affects us all everyday. We are always so grateful for the teachers and parents that dedicated themselves to the art program and to helping create an environment in which all different types of children can grow and thrive.
No particular story – just a lot of happy Tuesdays.
After five years at a small private school, my daughter Katie entered Edgemont Elementary for 4th grade. The transition was difficult, but made much easier by the wonderful assortment of fine arts activities available to her. She excitedly brought home the flier advertising the After School Drama program which, to my relief and surprise, was also extremely affordable. We signed her up for her first production, “Kiss Me Kate”, which she loved, and she went on to participate in two other productions: “A Christmas Carol” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Participating in this program built her confidence and helped her make friends throughout the school; it was a place to belong.
Early in the fall of that 4th grade year, I took Katie to watch a performance of the Timpview High School marching band. She was enthralled! She had learned that band and orchestra were offered starting in 5th grade at Edgemont (an option not available to us at her private school) and she spent the rest of that year going around and around trying to decide what instrument she would play. When the fateful moment came, she chose the trumpet. That first year was an exciting time for her as a special teacher would come just to work with the trumpet players. The Timpview High School band teacher would also come to Edgemont to work with the students and talk to them about their future in his band. She proudly practiced her trumpet, progressed in her ability, and played in the “Monster Band” concert involving four elementary schools, the middle school, and the high school at the end of the year. In 6th grade, the band teacher changed, but the quality of the program did not. This new teacher brought the opportunity to participate in an after school Honor Band; Katie adamantly insisted she must be a part of it! Katie regularly talks about the day she will be in the Timpview High School band and the BYU marching band. These dreams are possible because of the band program at Edgemont that is available to every student at only the cost of renting an instrument. What an amazing bargain!
If Katie were able, she would be in every art program Edgemont offers. Because she is in a regular music class, she knows and loves the choir director and wants very much to be in the Before School Choir. Having watched her sister learn to play the cello, she wishes she could do orchestra as well as band. There are only so many hours in the day, so choices have to be made, but as a parent, I am grateful that she so many options. Art class is one of her favorites and fortunately, her teachers have incorporated arts-related projects into their curriculum. In 6th grade alone, Katie has made a cartouche and an Egyptian death mask (for a social studies unit on Egypt), a banjo out of a pop bottle (for a science unit on sound), and a variety of delightful paper projects at Christmastime. When she comes home from school, it is these projects that she talks about.
I love Edgemont for the quality education it provides: Katie is learning math, reading, and writing skills that are fundamental to her life. Thanks to the fine arts program, she is able to toot her horn to a mathematical beat, read Shakespeare and Dickens in drama, and write her plans and dreams for the future in a band. There are a couple of lines from the movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus” that describe my feelings about the arts in schools. Funding for the arts is being cut and the music teacher and vice principal have this exchange:
Vice Principal Wolters: I care about these kids just as much as you do. And if I’m forced to choose between Mozart and reading and writing and long division, I choose long division.
Glenn Holland: Well, I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want, Gene. Sooner or later, these kids aren’t going to have anything to read or write about.
I am grateful to Edgemont’s fine arts programs for giving my Katie something to read and write about.
I like to learn how do things that I can’t do already. I like choir because Ms. Ward teaches us cool songs. I like art because it’s fun. My favorite art project was making mummy masks using plaster of Paris. We put plastic over our face, cut a hole for our nose. Then you get strips of the plastic wet, dip it in and put it on the plastic. You smooth it out and then when you are done you let it dry. Then you can paint it. We did that art project when we were learning about Ancient Egypt in my class.
Kate 6th Grade
The Fine Arts Program at Edgemont Elementary has benefited my children immensely. The drama program after school helped both my elementary students realize their love of performing. Watching each of them come to life on stage in the role of a Shakespearean character was something I never expected to see from either of them at such a young age. Both of them have enjoyed their exposure to great literature, and learning the art of performing has given them incredible confidence.
My son plays the trumpet in the school band in addition to taking private guitar lessons. Participating in the band has broadened his interest in music. Playing the guitar is no longer the only “cool” instrument. I often find him on the piano at home playing chords by ear to match music he hears on the radio. This is a big step considering there was a time when he had no interest whatsoever in the piano. I believe he now has an appreciation for the way various instruments work together to create music.
My daughter has been talking about playing the violin in the school orchestra since 1st grade. Next year, she will have that opportunity. She also loves to sing. It has been a joy for her to participate in music classes during school and sing in school performances–something she looks forward to every year.
The visual arts specialist at Edgemont has done a phenomenal job of incorporating the core curriculum into the art projects of the students. My 6th grade son could not stop talking about the Egyptian mask he made in art class. Furthermore, he could not stop talking about Egypt. He interviewed his grandparents who lived there for a short time, went through all their pictures and souvenirs, and even presented all of his research to his class. Marrying the visual learning with the academic brought the history of Egypt to life for my son just as many other visual art projects have created a piqued interest in my children on subjects that otherwise would not be exciting to them.
When I was in second grade in another school we didn’t have an art program. It made a big difference in school because I didn’t learn as much. We moved to Provo to Edgemont Elementary and I have been so happy to have the opportunity to have art classes. Art means a lot of me and I hope we get to keep our Art Program.
Savannah 4th Grade
This is our second year at Edgemont. We are amazed by all of the arts programs that Edgemont has. Our last elementary school had only a part time chair. We have definitely taken advantage of all the Arts programs Edgemont offers. My son has developed a love for drawing and I’ve watched it improve these last 2 years with Mr Cornwall’s help. Last year as a 4th grader he participated in the before school choir and they wrote, composed, and then acted and performed in an original opera! It was a unique opportunity that he loved. This year my daughter has also decided to participate in the before school choir. My son had a great time being a art of the musical “Yes, Virgina!” and is right now trying out of the Drama production. I am so grateful for these programs that help him develop at an early age an appreciation and love for the arts. Thank you!
We have two girls at Edgemont. Like many kids, they aren’t particularly forthcoming with what they did at school each day so we don’t hear much about it. But I know two things:
1) They both love the art and music classes that are taught. They have always had good teachers and great things to say about the class.
2) When they each started piano lessons they were already very familiar with many of the concepts that are taught. If you asked them where they learned about that they learned it from their Edgemont music class.
My son, Nolan Vaughn, is only in kindergarten but can I tell you how much he LOVES his art and music classes? He knows which day of the week they are on is extra excited for school when those days roll around. He received a special certificate of recognition in art class from Mr. Cornwall and I can see how his confidence has grown in his drawing and writing skills when he brings his projects home to show me. I’m so grateful that Edgemont has such an amazing fine arts program to nurture our children, increase their knowledge, and build their confidence so that they can one day pursue their dreams.
I love art because it gives me the opportunity to be able to learn to paint and draw. I love being able to be creative and I’ve learned a lot of painting techniques. I would be so sad if we didn’t have an art program.
Annika 2nd Grade
The arts programs at Edgemont Elementary has been such a blessing for our family!!!!I am not an extraordinarily artistic person, but my children just LOVE IT! My oldest daughter just graduated from Edgemont last year. She was having a bit of a tricky time finder her school niche. Mr. Cornwall, their art teacher, was such a great example to her in opening up a creative world that she could REALLY relate to. We also have a kindergarten that has had some health struggles. As he has felt a little bit “different” at times. Having art and especially music with the WONDERFUL Miss Ward has been a heaven sent gift for him. It has also been wonderful for my fifth grader to begin her dream of playing the violin at a low risk pace to assess her interest. I KNOW she is so grateful! As a mother, it is wonderful to me that my little second grader has his creative mind opened up to things that he may not otherwise be able to experience!
Our Family’s Lives have been so enriched by all of the Fine Arts programs at Edgemont. WE ARE SO GRATEFUL!!!
My daughter, Kylie, wants to be an artist. She loves the art class at Edgemont! She’s always coming home and telling me about the fun projects they are doing in art class. And then when she gets to bring home her art projects, she acts like it’s her birthday. She gets so excited showing me her works of art. For the last few years our school has had a day where the students are supposed to dress up like “what they want to be when they grow up.” Every year she wears an apron and puts her hair up with paint brushes stuck through it, with a few paint brushes in her apron pockets too. Her art projects are scattered throughout our home. I’m so grateful for the art program at our school!
Mrs. Soderborg teaches us cool songs. I like art because it’s fun. My favorite art project was making mummy masks using plaster of Paris. We put plastic over our face, cut a hole for our nose. Then you get strips of the plastic wet, dip it in and put it on the plastic. You smooth it out and then when you are done you let it dry. Then you can paint it. We did that art project when we were learning about Ancient Egypt in my class.
Kate 6th Grade
My daughter was born with a complex heart defect and spent the first 3 years of her life in hospitals and therapy. Early in her therapies it was discovered that she was “sensory seeking” and needed extensive tactile stimulation for her brain growth. We have also discovered that the part of her brain that retains and recalls information may have been damaged. Art and music have been an essential part of her early childhood development. She is now in first grade and is thriving. When she is drawing or painting she is calm and her mind is focused. She remembers a long sequence of numbers (student id# or phone #) or how to spell her whole name through music. The art and music programs at Edgemont have been a tremendous support in helping my daughter’s progress. I am so grateful for the support of the awesome art programs at Edgemont!
Ben said he has great memories of the 6th grade dance in the dance festival. He said that even though it didn’t seem like fun when the idea was first presented, it was a lot of fun, and it is always interesting to learn new things about other countries — especially in ‘hands-on’ ways — like art, dance, and music. “It sticks with you that way.”
After they made their facemasks he came home and did a lot of additional research. From a mother’s point of view, I love that an art activity can ‘ignite a fire’ inside of a learner…and then he on his own, outside of school, he goes looking for more, more learning starts to happen all from an experience with art…
I love when Annalise said “art is my life”after art one day. That quote has been used before, but it makes me smile, and drives home the point that we want art to be a part of each child’s life…
After making a place-mat this past week [inspired by artists who use food as the subject], Annalise said she can’t wait to use her place-mat — in her book unit about foods from around the world! They’ll be sampling foods from around the world. “I love that art is part of our book units, isn’t that so great mom? We made our own place-mats!”
The Arts programs at Edgemont are a huge part of the reason we choose to have our daughter, Anne, attend Edgemont Elementary rather than our local elementary school. This results in a 12- to 15-minute drive for our family four times a day, but it is worth it. Anne loves both music and art, and we have been so pleased with her music and art teachers over the years. Her favorite school days are those on which she has more than one specialty class, particularly the arts classes. I especially appreciate the way the art program is coordinated with her learning in the regular classroom so that, for instance, when her class is studying the native peoples of Utah, they make clay pots in art class and do other activities modeled on the ancient American arts.
This year Annie joined the Before School Choir, and she has really enjoyed that experience. She sings the songs they are learning at school when she is home, and I can tell that it has added to her self-esteem to have these opportunities to learn and grow and find out she has natural talents in these areas. She also really enjoys her growing friendships with the others who participate.
To top it all off, Annie had the opportunity to play Virginia in the school’s music, “Yes, Virginia” this fall. This was an amazing experience for her! She really blossomed, not only artistically but also in her confidence and in her sense of individual responsibility. I was so proud of the way she watched the video and learned all of her parts on her own, how she took direction from those leading the group, and how she pulled off her part so beautifully in the end, together with a wonderful cast of actor-friends. This was a huge step for Annie, who has always seemed to have some attention issues (just general distraction) and to need a lot of reminders and direction. I attribute her improvements to the positive effects of artistic experience!
Our family is very grateful for all of the arts programs at Edgemont. We sincerely hope the school is able to keep them alive!
The other night my kindergartner, Mark, lay sprawled out on the kitchen floor with his markers and a sheet of lined paper, immersed in his own little world. He was creating a work of art while the chaos of family life and dinner prep swirled around him. After he added the finishing strokes to his masterpiece he jumped to his feet, proudly holding his drawing for all to see, and announced to the world“I don’t know how I do it?! I am just amazing!”We chuckled at his adorable zeal, admired his precious work of art and agreed with his statement whole-heartedly! Since that night I have been thinking about this moment a lot as I have been reflecting on the importance of arts in education.
There are many, many ways that my children’s lives have been changed because of their participation in the arts at school. For example: my sixth grader Charlie is more engaged in his studies and is excited to share what he is learningabout ancient Egypt, the phases of the moon, the Civil War and other subjects because of the art projects he has done with them that have made them a part of his life. He says he just plain enjoys school more because he gets to go to art, music and band! My son, Tyler, is now in eleventh grade and my daughter, Abby, is in ninth. They both started playing in the band at Edgemont and now Tyler is in the Jazz Band and both are in the Marching Band and Symphonic Band at Timpview High School. They have developed their minds as they have learned and memorized difficult music. They have learned discipline, compassion, leadership, respect, and have developed their creativity. They have learned how to work hard, how to work with others and how to appreciate and produce excellence. These qualities have spilled over to their schoolwork and life in general. Both straight A students, and Tyler an Eagle Scout, I credit their participation in music with developing all of these essential attributes that will be the basis of their success in the future. This is all because of their exposure to the arts that began at the elementary level.
While I have witnessed first hand the myriad of benefits that participation in the arts produces, I think that quite possibly, the most important way that the arts has impacted them is that they have grown in confidence. There is something that happens when a child participates in music, dance, art, or theater. When they create something, there is an intrinsic response, one that is hard to quantify in a study, but one that is real and one that inevitably produces a huge smile! As a parent I have discovered that this confidence has been a huge key to success in the schooling and lives of my children. Maybe more than any other single factor. If a child believes they can master something, they can do it. If they don’t, they won’t. For me, something that fosters this feeling of confidence is priceless! More than any other aspect of school, it is through the arts that my children have experienced that same feeling that Mark had: “I don’t know how I do it?! I am amazing!” A child who feels that they are amazing is going to have confidence to innovate, lead, and succeed. They are going to change the world.
When I think of the arts in education, I think of seeing this confidence in my children. I think of my third grader, Reed, brimming with excitement to show me his moon hanging from the ceiling at the school art show, or seeing him burst through the door, grinning ear to ear, with the robot dog he made out of recycled goods that he had told me so much about. He declared that he loved art so much that he wanted to become an artist himself someday. I think of my reserved Abby standing tall and confidently singing out in the regional choir festival in the Provo Tabernacle as well as proudly taking her bow at the curtain call in the school renditions of King Lear, Macbeth or A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Or seeing my boys proudly posing for a photo with their trumpets or my daughter with her clarinet on Edgemont’s stage at the end of a Winter or Spring Concert as adoring parents, shoulder to shoulder in our little lunchroom of an auditorium snap photos to memorialize the moment of our students’ achievements.
I was impacted in life-changing ways as I participated in the orchestra and in the Shakespeare drama program at the elementary level. Our little troupe was even invited to perform at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in St. George! This experience and others in the primary grades instilled in me a love for the arts and a confidence that I am capable of greatness. The arts have been a major part of my life ever since those foundational days. Knowing how they have enriched my life in so many ways, I have done my best to pass this legacy on to my children and others.
For all of these reasons, I feel so strongly that the arts are an essential part of education that I have personally devoted hundreds of hours of my time to keeping the BTS ALP at our school (Edgemont Elementary) and supporting their other arts programs. I have been immersed in the education of my children for the last 16 years and I have watched my older children work through our educational system and I have been able to see first hand the difference that arts integration has made in their education and development. I can say without reservation that it has made all the difference. To me, it is worth doing whatever it takes to give each child the greatest opportunity for success: an education that educates the whole child and instills in each a sense of confidence – one that includes the arts. The staff, teachers and parents of Edgemont Elementary School believe this, too. And thanks to all of their many efforts, the generosity of Beverley Taylor Sorenson, and the state of Utah, this is exactly what is happening at Edgemont. We are so grateful for what we have now and we have great hope that we can continue the tradition in the future!