NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - At a time when so many school districts struggle to keep a Fine Arts program going, Nacogdoches Independent School District is strengthening its program.
The district has created a new position of Fine Arts director, and it’s expanding art education into primary grades. Pauletter Tomlinson, former San Augustine ISD band director, was hired to coordinate fine art instruction district-wide.
Tomlinson is confident that stronger fine art instruction will help improve performance by students in the core subjects.
“There is a strong correlation with students that are involved in fine arts and their test scores; students that are involved in the fine arts are scoring higher on tests, there’s definitely a correlation there," Tomlinson explained. “There’s also a lot of evidence that when teachers infuse arts into just the basic curriculum, students have other ways -- outside of writing a paper, completing a worksheet, or completing math problems -- that they can show what they’ve learned.”
District leaders will work closely with Tomlinson to align curriculum for fine arts, as well as for core subjects.
Teachers will return to work in August when the planning begins.
Tomlinson attributes her love for the fine arts to her success in other classes during hre her own high school days.
“Because of those I was successful in my other classes because I learned so many things about discipline and time management and it just made me just a much more well rounded individual and ultimately became my profession.”
Tomlinson will work closely with the district's chief academic officer, Dr. Daya Hill. Together the former dancer and the former band director will choreograph the integration of fine arts with a goal of improving performance in all subjects.
" When you look at all of the research from fine arts and you think about just providing students with a well rounded educational environment," said Hill. “Of course, you get into some STEM activities. Most people are calling it ‘STEAM’, adding in the fine arts as the 'a'.”
Hill displays in her office visual art by elementary students. It reminds her a creative seed can be planted at an early age.
Senior band officer Scottie Hutchens says the correlation between music and other subjects shows up often.
“My math class. We have to memorize music. It’s finding patterns,” said Hutchens.
And Christian Castro finds music the universal language.
“Music really shows like other’s feelings. It’s really powerful.”