Recognizing the Arts In Jeffco Schools

In an online conversation about the proposed Arts School, an amazing Jeffco educator wrote the following about what we already have that isn’t recognized and we agreed, it’s time to brag and recognize the accomplishments of our arts programming in Jeffco.

What could they accomplish if they were given more resources for all 86,000 kids?

“DSA certainly provides an excellent opportunity for students to excel in the arts, but it has really put a dent in other arts programs in DPS.

“The idea is for us to have strong music, theatre, and visual arts in ALL schools in Jeffco to provide equal access to all students regardless of where they live or what their transportation issues are.

“If you look around Jeffco. Lakewood High School has been nominated for over 30 Bobby G’s from the Denver Center and has won seven, was named one of three Top Theatre Schools in the nation for 2018 from the Educational Theatre Association, was named a top arts school in Colorado by Think 360 Arts in 2017 for theatre, music, visual arts and film, has had over 100 students qualify for Nationals at the State Thespian Conference in the past 10 years, and that’s just theatre. In music, they’ve been selected to perform at CMEA in vocal music and orchestra countless times in the past 15 years, consistently rank among the highest in the state in Marching Band 5A, color guard, and winter percussion.

“Pomona High School has the Performing Arts and Humanities program that integrates arts with core subjects and has also been honored as a top school in the nation by EdTA for Theatre Arts.

“Chatfield High School has received the same honor in the past.

“Evergreen High School won the Improv showdown at the Colorado State Thespian Conference in 2017 and beat out schools from around the state for that honor.

“We have Scott Ogle and Barbara Amberg, both state HS Theatre Teacher of the Year honorees, Tracy Schwartz was also given that honor (now retired). Anthony Bruno was named a MS Theatre Teacher of the Year before his retirement. Ron Castagna was named Outstanding Arts Administrator before his retirement.

“Last year’s male scholarship recipient at the state Thespian Conference was from Columbine High School and the year before that the Technical Design scholarship was awarded to a Lakewood High School student in costume design.

“Arvada West High School has one of the top rated choir programs in the nation, and have also been honored with Bobby G’s from the Denver Center.

“Ralston Valley won a Bobby G in 2017 for lighting design.

“D’Evelyn’s marching band ranks in the top of 3A bands in the state.

“There are Jeffco students who trained in Jeffco Public schools in Theatre and Music who are attending or have attended the Boston Conservatory of Music, Tish, The University of Michigan, the University of Oklahoma, UCLA, the Royal Conservatorie of Scotland, Carnegie Mellon, and the list goes on.

“There are so many wonderful performing (and visual) arts in Jeffco Schools, I just don’t think we do a good enough job of touting them.

“Teachers in Jeffco know how to prepare students just as well as DSA students but nobody talks about it. They know how to teach the arts.

“I think a little bragging about our Jeffco Theatre and Music teachers is past due.

“With all due respect, DSA has excellent educators and opportunities. But no more so than any number of Jeffco Schools.

“Go Jeffco!”