Nora Davis receives highest arts commission designation

The Mississippi Arts Commission recently presented Nora Davis Magnet School with designation as a Model of Exemplary Practice in Arts Integration. Pictured: MAC Executive Director Malcolm White, NDMS Principal Dr. Kiana Pendleton, NDMS arts integration project directors Casey Watts and Andrea Schipke, MAC Director of Art Education Charlotte Smelser and Mississippi Department of Education Arts Education Director Limeul Eubanks.

Nora Davis Magnet School was recently honored with the highest designation given by the Mississippi Arts Commission for the successful use of arts in the classroom. Representatives from MAC and the Mississippi Department of Education presented the school with Model of Exemplary Practice in Arts Integration.

The MAC Director of Art Education Charlotte Smelser said that during the commission’s review of the school they saw where the school excelled in the areas of arts integration, community connections, data-driven instruction and school spirit for the arts.

Nora Davis Magnet School has been a Mississippi Arts Commission Whole Schools Initiative School since 1999 and a Model School for the Arts since 2003. Now, Nora Davis is one of only two schools in the state to receive the exemplary model status.

“The arts build experiences for our students and force them to step out of their comfort zone,” Nora Davis Arts Integration Project Director Casey Watts said. “The students aren’t placed in a one size fits all box and are free to express themselves in a variety of ways including: music, dance, theater, or visual arts, but they are also pushed to think outside of the box and go beyond traditional academics and ways of thinking.”

The Whole Schools Initiative expands regular classroom instruction to include the visual and performing arts as a learning tool across the entire curriculum, and promotes collaborations between arts and classroom teachers to create arts infused instruction that is fun and engaging.

“Statistically our students shouldn’t perform as well as they do, but through the arts, we have found our students achieve greater academic success than a great number of their peers around the state,” Watts said.

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