ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — Escambia County Public Schools was awarded $2 million to incorporate a five-year project designed to enhance arts and education at 15 of its campuses.

“The ‘All in for the Arts,grant will grow a sustainable arts ecosystem that supports and develops students and teachers who champion the arts, leading to outcomes that extend beyond the four walls of the classroom,” ECPS Superintendent Tim Smith said.

This marks the tenth competitive grant that the Department of Defense Education Activity has awarded the school district since 2010.

The grant will incorporate improved access to resources and opportunities, in tandem with elevated instruction. The school system said it will afford rich arts experiences for all students at seven elementary schools, three middle schools, three high schools and two K-12 programs in the district. The grant will also provide funding for new extra-curricular tutoring and enrichment programs, which will provide learners avenues to hone their skills and further explore the arts.

Through supervised, paid internship opportunities, skilled high school arts students will engage young arts students at project middle schools, assisting with instructional activities while gaining valuable work experience, according to a release sent from the school system.

“There are numerous outstanding arts educators in our schools who were once arts students here as well,” Joel Hollon, ECPS Grants Specialist and author of the grant said. “Providing today’s talented juniors and seniors avenues to develop others’ artistic skills will return manifold benefits that surpass the lifespan of this 5-year grant.”

According to the release, targeted professional learning opportunities will equip new and seasoned arts teachers with engaging strategies to deliver high-quality, standards-based instruction. Emphasis will be placed on building internal capacity by effecting a deliberate, self-sustaining culture that develops expert teachers who improve not only their own practice, but also the practice of their peers. 

“Enhancing our current programs with professional learning and fine tuning a culture of excellence will elevate our students’ fine arts experiences in Escambia County Public Schools,” ECPS Fine and Performing Arts Specialist Angela Barberi said.

The grant will be implemented at Beulah, Blue Angels, Cook, Hellen Caro, Kingsfield, Navy Point, and Pleasant Grove Elementary Schools; Bailey, Beulah, and Brown-Barge Middle Schools; Escambia, Tate, and West Florida High Schools; Escambia Virtual Academy and Escambia Westgate.

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