Levy Funds Support Learning through the Arts

Mural of earth, planets, rainbowIn March 2020, Nampa voters approved a two-year supplemental levy that included almost half a million dollars per year for “activities, athletics, music and performing arts.” Those funds have been used to enrich the educational experience across the board, including in the district’s 14 elementary schools.
For years, when Diana Hale’s music students at Willow Creek Elementary wanted to perform for parents and community members, they needed to borrow risers from another school, haul them to the site and set them up. Thanks to levy funds, they now have their own risers to use whenever they like.
Hale also purchased ukuleles to expand the type of instruments kids got to experience. “I love having instruments in my school that belong to a different instrument family than the percussion so I can let students see and hear what the other instrument families look and sound like,” she said. And the kids love learning to play a stringed instrument.
Brightly colored ukuleles
Students at Sherman Elementary also are enjoying a class set of ukuleles (in spite of the inevitable finger calluses), along with new drums. Greenhurst Elementary used the funds to purchase xylophones, music texts and resource books. They also are bringing in the Idaho Shakespeare Festival to perform, followed by a workshop aimed at enhancing student learning through the exploration of acting and character development.

And Centennial music teacher Sara Neddo is thrilled with her new wearable microphone that connects to her sound system. “I love these because they save my voice and I do not have to talk loud to be heard,” she said.
Centennial also used levy money to support their visual arts program. The arts-integration focus school uses the same standards and curriculum as other Nampa schools but gives it a boost by making the arts a part of learning across all subjects.
Along with art-related materials, the school used levy funds to bring in a teaching artist, Malynda Poulsen, to work with students to create a mural covering a 19-foot section of the wall. The project strengthened their ability to choose themes, pick out key ideas and details, and use descriptive language and art to communicate meaning with a wider audience, all critical language arts skills based on ELA standards. 

“A big part of our Arts Integrated program is connecting with our larger community,” said Principal Michelle Tripp. “We believe that the more we connect students with outside opportunities, the more motivated they will be to push forward through difficulties to learn and grow.”

These examples and more show the community’s – your – support for student achievement. Arts provide a bridge to understanding and can make learning more meaningful for kids who might otherwise be disengaged. Levy dollars allow us to provide the tools to make education a more targeted, positive and relevant experience for all kids.