The Georgia Department of Education is awarding a total of $260,000 to rural school districts to help them expand the fine arts opportunities available to their students, State School Superintendent Richard Woods announced today.

Twenty rural districts are receiving stART grants, which can be used to create or expand arts initiatives that significantly improve students’ access to the arts. The grants are part of the Georgia Department of Education’s broader Partnership for Rural Growth initiative, which seeks to expand the resources available to public school districts in rural Georgia.

“Fine arts education is not an ‘extra’ – it’s a crucial part of a well-rounded education,” Woods said. “We continue to hear from parents, teachers, administrators, and other supporters of public education that they want those expanded opportunities for their students. This is a top priority for us at the Department, and we won’t stop until every student in Georgia has access to high-quality arts education.”

Through the stART grants, the department of education is taking advantage of the flexibility offered within the Every Student Succeeds Act to use some federal funds to support arts learning and other programs that provide a well-rounded education to students.  

The Department has also worked to expand fine arts instruction by hiring a full-time fine arts specialist at the state level, creating new virtual fine arts courses, refreshing standards, increasing the number of creative-industry-aligned high school arts courses, offering professional learning on arts integration for teachers of all content areas, and developing a new STEAM certification for school districts and a Fine Arts Diploma Seal for graduates.                                           

All eligible school districts were given the opportunity to apply for the stART grant funding. For the purposes of the grant, a rural school district is any district currently eligible for funding under the federal Rural Education Achievement Program.

Here are the schools and districts that were awarded funding:

SCHOOL DISTRICTSCHOOLAWARD
Appling County School DistrictAltamaha Elementary$10,000
Ben Hill County School DistrictFitzgerald High School and Ben Hill Middle School$10,000
Berrien County School DistrictBerrien Primary School$10,000
Berrien County School DistrictBerrien Elementary School$10,000
Brooks County School DistrictBrooks County Schools$10,000
Bulloch County School DistrictBulloch County Schools$10,000
Colquitt County School DistrictWillie J. Williams Middle School$10,000
Cook County School DistrictCook Elementary School$10,000
Cook County School DistrictCook County Middle School$10,000
Cook County School DistrictCook Primary School$10,000
Cook County School DistrictCook County High School$10,000
Crawford County School DistrictCrawford County High School$10,000
Gilmer County School DistrictEllijay Elementary, Mountain View Elementary School, Gilmer Middle Schooland Clear Creek Middle School$10,000
Madison County School DistrictMadison County Middle School$10,000
McDuffie County School DistrictDearing Elementary School and R. L. Norris Elementary School$10,000
Meriwether County School DistrictMeriwether County Schools$10,000
Pataula Charter AcademyPataula Charter Academy$10,000
Pierce County School DistrictPierce County Middle School$10,000
Quitman County School DistrictNew Quitman County Elementary School and Quitman County High School$10,000
Stewart County School DistrictStewart County Schools$10,000
Thomasville City School DistrictHarper Elementary School$10,000
Twiggs County School DistrictJeffersonville Elementary School$10,000
Twiggs County School DistrictTwiggs County High School$10,000
Twiggs County School DistrictTwiggs County Middle School$10,000
Union County School DistrictUnion County High School$10,000
Wayne County School DistrictWayne County Schools$10,000
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