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The Suburbanite
  • Louisville is using SmArts program to prepare kids for whole new world

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  • I have a very special reason voters should pass the Louisville City School District levy on May 7 — it will create smarter kids.
    I say that because this year, Louisville schools became a SmArts Partnership school with ArtsinStark. What this means is that we took the very first steps together to create a new kind of learning environment in the school district, one where arts and academics are taught at the same time to supercharge learning.
    If that sounds a little crazy, please listen to this. In the last six years, ArtsinStark has invested $250,000 running just these kinds of SmArts experiments in 50 other county schools for 15,000 kids. Here are some of the results:
    • In Canton City Schools, math scores went up 5 percent.
    • In Massillon City Schools, writing scores jumped by 23 percent.
    • In Canton Local Schools reading scores went to 48 percent from 25 percent.
    Why does this work? Because kids love art and music and theatre; they start learning through all their senses at the same time. The stage has been set for this revolutionary approach to come into Louisville schools, and a “yes” vote on May 7 can keep it happening.
    One more thing: Students today are growing up in a very different world. Over their lifetimes, they will have to prepare to hold at least six different jobs. For each one, they are going to have to reinvent themselves. The SmArts program makes them better communicators, better problem solvers and better team members.
    If Louisville City Schools parents want to give their kids the skills 21st-century businesses are looking for, I suggest they vote “yes” on May 7. It’s a whole new world out there, and we owe it to our kids to get them ready for it.
    ROBERT J. HANKINS,
    JACKSON TOWNSHIP