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Superintendent's Message, December 2022 / January 2023

Originally published in the December 2022 / January 2023 edition of Vestavia Hills Community News

One of the many things I am grateful to my parents for is the sacrifice they made for me to have ten years of piano lessons. Whether it was practicing on the keyboard or singing with a choir or ensemble, music was at the center of my formative years. It was a medium that fostered growth of intellectual and interpersonal skills that have proven to be important in my life. Those experiences convinced me of the importance of the arts in the education experience for children.

Each year in Vestavia Hills City Schools, students in elementary grades participate in art and music classes. This year, more than half of students in grades 6-12 will take an arts class; they will also participate in performances, plays, and competitions throughout the year. I hope you are able to attend some of these events this holiday season. You will see firsthand the results of the unparalleled support of our community to make the arts come alive through our children.

Our Arts Education Coordinator, Faith Lenhart, says: “Access to quality arts education is crucial for our students. Participation in the arts allows students to stretch their minds past the traditional classroom and experience success in a new and different way. An arts education fosters teamwork as well as individual risk-taking. Our students are well-rounded and prepared to leave our school system with communication skills, time management skills, and creative thinking skills that will serve them in any profession they choose to pursue.”

Noted psychologist Dr. Daniel Goleman found that as much as 10% of a person’s career success can be attributed to their intelligence quotient (left-brain functions); all the rest can be attributed to their Emotional Quotient (right-brain functions) which is the ability of a person to be aware, regulate, and manage their behavior and relationships with others. In his book, A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink emphasizes the importance of right-brained thinking in our conceptual age. He posits that skills such as designing, story telling, and symphony are difference makers when combined with academic and intellectual knowledge. Both writers’ perspectives are compelling when considering future employability in a competitive job market.

Most of our graduates will not pursue a career in the arts. However, participating in the arts will be invaluable to their success in whatever profession they choose. You can learn more about the arts programs in VHCS and how it is a key part of our 1Rebel 1Future plan by watching the November board meeting and listening to The Vestavia Hills City Schools Podcast.