Art integration at Lady’s Island Elementary benefits students

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By Marvelle L. Ulmer

Lady’s Island Elementary School’s (L.I.E.S.) motto “Soaring to excellence in academics and the arts” serves as the compass which guides the present direction of the school. As a result of our steadfast commitment to the arts and employing data driven decision making the school has received numerous accolades. Local author Claudia Cornett featured the school in Creating Meaning Through Literature and the Arts: Arts Integration for Classroom teachers. Another recognition dear to our heart is the Verner Award, which is South Carolina’s highest award designed to recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina. The district received this award last spring for its support of the arts. Four students will perform with the South Carolina Elementary Honors Choir in early February, and two dozen students will strive to be recognized as artistically gifted and talented by auditioning in an art category. The school is an

Art teacher Stephanie Riedmayer made Abe Lincoln log cabins with students in Mrs. Dangerfield’s kindergarten class.  At Lady’s Island Elementary students regularly integrate art into their academic lessons.
Art teacher Stephanie Riedmayer made Abe Lincoln log cabins with students in Mrs. Dangerfield’s kindergarten class. At Lady’s Island Elementary students regularly integrate art into their academic lessons.

Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) School and was the recipient of a Distinguished Arts Program grant. Lady’s Island Elementary’s past was in the arts and its clear given the success of the school that its future is bright in the arts.

Lady’s Island Elementary is a school passionate about the arts and the benefits it provides students. In addition to using the intelligences, our students develop public speaking skills and social skills. They also learn to work with others. These skills, dubbed soft skills, prepare them to be successful in school and to be productive citizens.

The success of our students is attributed to the devotion of our teachers, support of our parents, and the hard work of our students. Parents love the welcoming, warm atmosphere that combines with personalized attention for their child. Students enjoy being involved in the extra curricular activities and participating in special initiatives like Read across America. Our students are engaged in readers’ and writers’ workshops, the traditional curriculum and technology like students in other Beaufort County School District schools.

What makes our school unique? It’s the arts. Students experience exceptional theatre, dance, art, and music instruction from our Academic Arts teachers as well as using these art forms to make connections and cement learning in their academic subjects. The leadership team here truly wants to take advantage of the research that indicates that students who learn through active engagement with arts-infused lessons learn at an accelerated rate and retain what they’ve learned. Therefore, teachers plan lessons that include these elements so that our students will have every opportunity for success.

The school also provides many opportunities for those who show extra talent in the arts to further develop their skills. We have Show Choir, strings, and drumming for those who simply love music and those with exceptional musical abilities. These students participated in Beaufort’s Night on the Town, had an outstanding Christmas performance, and performed songs and clowning skits for the community. There is our Today’s Artistically Creative Talented (TACT) program for those who have a special aptitude in the visual arts. These students’ artwork is displayed throughout the community. For those that love to be dramatic, there are stories alive and many opportunities to participate in productions. Upcoming 5th grade productions will include Peter Pan and Cinderella. Perhaps you could come out and enjoy these productions this spring. LEAP is for gifted dancers. They participated in the school’s Patriotic Assembly and holiday program. They were one of the few elementary schools to take part in the local dance festival.

Lady’s Island Elementary is a school with a special arts focus; however, we also offer interesting sports activities. There is the running club where runners can earn rewards for different mileage clubs from the Marathon Club all the way up to and beyond the 100 mile club. There is also a world class sport stacking team here at Lady’s Island. Several of our members have been named as part of Team USA. Most of the state records are held by former members of the Lady’s Island Stacking teams. In addition to the state records several of our team members hold national and world records.

Most importantly our goal is to prepare our students academically. Teachers are receiving additional professional development weekly to incorporate best practices into their lessons. Technology is integrated into classrooms throughout the school day. Our media specialist encourages children to read through the Read Across America program and the twelve days of reading holiday program in which incentives are provided to students who participate. Students also enjoy the many technology projects created by the media technology team.

Lady’s Island Elementary is a school that offers an exceptional learning experience. The instructional leaders love working with students, and they make learning fun. Students at Lady’s Island Elementary School excel in a rich academic environment where they are motivated to learn via arts infusion. We welcome our community to visit our school to explore “Beaufort’s Best Kept Secret” up close and personal or join us for one of our spring performances.

Marvelle L. Ulmer is the Principal at Lady’s Island Elementary School. Each year LIBPA invites each of the schools (public and private) on Lady’s Island to contribute an article about their school. This article was provided in response to that invitation.