• BALTIMORE, Maryland—September 10, 2010—The Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network has awarded The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts National Schools of Distinction in Arts Education Award to Roland Park Elementary/Middle School of Baltimore.

    This prestigious award recognizes up to five public schools nationwide each year that have done an outstanding job of making the arts essential to the education of their students and provided a creative learning environment for extraordinary student achievement. Candidates for the award must provide teaching programs in the four basic art forms: music, visual arts, dance and theater. Roland Park surpassed this requirement through its additional practice of integrating the arts across the curriculum.

    While Maryland schools have been among the Kennedy Center national award honorees for each of the past three years, this is a first for Baltimore City. Roland Park Elementary/Middle is neither an arts nor a magnet school but a comprehensive city school that enrolls approximately 1,200 students in grades K through 8. Theirs is a diverse student body that comprises young people from across the city as well as children from the local communities.

    Roland Park has been recognized as one of the top-performing schools in the Baltimore metropolitan area. The school was cited as a Young Audiences School of Vision in 2010, and they won the Kennedy Center School of Excellence Award at the state level for 2008-2009. Roland Park principal Carolyn H. Cole attributes part of their academic excellence to the school’s dedication to the arts in the curriculum: “We are delighted and honored by this award. Our focus on the arts reflects the best educational theory and builds strategies that reward our children.”

    Janice E. Webber, Program Director of the Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance (AEMS, which nominated Roland Park for this award), noted that “An arts-rich curriculum has elevated students’ personal and learning experiences beyond the ordinary; the school’s powerful environment enables students to know more, know themselves better, think more critically, solve problems, and imagine.”

    Each of the five national winners will receive $2,000 to support their arts-education programs and may be invited to perform at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Roland Park Elementary/Middle School will be honored at the AEMS Cultural Arts for Education Conference in the spring of 2011.

    For more information about Roland Park Elementary/Middle School, visit www.baltimorecityschools.org/233. For the Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance, see www.aems-edu.org. To learn more about the Kennedy Center’s National Schools of Distinction in Arts Education Award, go to www.kennedy-center.org/education/kcaaen/recognition/home.html.