The AEMS Alliance has joined with Dr. Grasmick and other partners in hosting Superintendents Summits for the 24 county education superintendent. The purpose of the summits is to present the latest findings on the positive impact of arts education, provide a briefing on the status of the implementation of the State Board’s fine arts education policy, to learn about best practices in developing high-quality fine arts programs and providing effective instruction and to present successful new models encompassing comprehensive systemic arts programs, innovative arts integration schools and arts magnet schools. Summits were held in 1998, 2003, and 2007.
In 1998, AEMS Alliance, along with The Johns Hopkins University and Dr. Nancy Grasmick, State Superintendent of Schools, sponsored a Summit/Symposium on the role of arts education in comprehensive school reform. The Summit brought together school superintendents from around the state to hear nationally recognized researchers present their findings that children who participate in the arts achieve at higher levels academically than children who do not study the arts. The Symposium that followed brought the presentations to a wider audience from the field of arts educators.
In 2003, AEMS Alliance and Dr. Grasmick partnered with the Walters Art Museum for the second Superintendents Summit. On this occasion, Superintendents were joined by selected members of their boards and their assistant superintendents. New research findings were presented by nationally recognized leaders in the field, and principals from three Maryland schools – one each: elementary, middle and high school—shared their approaches to creating high-quality arts education programs which encompassed a variety of approaches. Finally, Dr. Grasmick provided an update on the status of arts education in Maryland relative to state policy. An afternoon session provided the opportunity for a more in depth discussion among participants and guest speakers.
In the spring of 2007, the third Superintendents Summit was held by AEMS and Dr. Grasmick at the Music Center at Strathmore. Again, Superintendents invited school board members as well as system instructional leadership personnel to join them at the summit. Following an update on Maryland arts education policy implementation, Superintendents from Montgomery and Washington Counties presented their innovative arts programs to their peers. Washington County showcased its comprehensive fine arts program as well as their plans for a new high school for the arts to be located within the state-designated Arts and Entertainment District in Hagerstown. The Montgomery County Public Schools Arts Integration Model Schools program, a recipient of a USDOE Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination grant, reported on its three years of implementation. This program was evaluated as part of the development of the multi-institutional Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Arts Integration. An afternoon session provided the opportunity for greater depth of discussion among the participants and speakers.