Weast Receives Award from State Music Educators

March 1, 2005
Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools, has won the School Administrator Award from the Maryland Music Educators Association.

A strong supporter of arts education, Weast was recognized, among other things, for his support of the new Music Center at Strathmore and for working to bring all 10,000 second grade Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students to symphony concerts there. In preparation for their attendance, students received six weeks of instruction about the orchestra and learned the song “The Little Train from Caipira” by Villa-Lobos. The students sang and performed hand choreography with the National Philharmonic.

Weast's support for the arts includes the Creating Original Opera program. Currently, nine schools participate in the program, sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera Guild, to provide classroom, music, and arts teachers with skills to guide students through all facets of creating and producing an original opera.

Weast recently increased the elementary instrumental music staffing to provide for projected growth of the instrumental program as a result of the National Philharmonic concerts, and additional school staffing allocations are now a part of the opera program implementation.

Through Weast's vision and support, the MCPS Arts and Integration Model Schools program was established. The program, in its second year, provides professional development for teachers to use the arts as a catalyst for learning in all curricular areas.

Weast also has served as co-chair of the State Superintendent's Fine Arts Advisory Committee. As co-chair he was at the forefront of helping establish policy and practices that will ensure a place for arts education in Maryland. Those priorities include the first high-stakes assessment in the arts, to be administered to eighth grade students in the near future.

Weast will receive the Music Educators Association award at a meeting of the association in Baltimore on March 3.

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