Thursday, March 31, 2016

Arts Education Authority Names Longleaf Elementary One Of Florida’s Best Public Schools For The Arts

Orlando, Fla. (March 31, 2016) – Arts Education lives strong in the heart of Longleaf Elementary School, whose exemplary arts programs made them one of the best public schools for the arts in the state.

The Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE) recently recognized 14 Florida public schools as Florida Arts Model Schools: Longleaf received the designation for outstanding programs in music and visual arts.

Longleaf Elementary was chosen for offering Mini Majors, which is an exploratory arts wheel.  Every seven weeks, fourth grade students rotate through an introduction to an area of the fine or performance arts.  These rotations include dance, photography, green screen, stop animation, and improv/comedy.  Fifth graders choose their top three areas of interest from Mini Majors, and focus on two of them in-depth, called Majors.  Each semester, the fifth grade students work in one of their areas of interest, applying their skills in a long-term project, which prepares them for their transition to middle school.  Majors allow students to interact with different peers than their usual classmates, all of whom have the same interest as they do.  In each Mini Major and Major, students work with fellow students for a common goal.  Students learn to be leaders, to compromise and to work to meet deadlines.

Longleaf also produces a full-scale musical each year, which included last year’s Tampa Bay premier of The Lion King.  In addition to musicals, Longleaf Liberty Singers and Freedom Review Show Choir are recognized throughout the state.  This year, Freedom will be traveling to Washington, D.C. to represent the school and district at America Sings! Live at the Lincoln Memorial.  Artwork from students is displayed in prominent places throughout Pasco County. Many students attend a weekly supplemental enrichment opportunity, Modern Masters Art Club, where they design and create collaborative art projects that are showcased in the school gallery and at the school’s yearly art show.  

“Excellence in Arts Education is still very much a vital goal of the Florida Department of Education,” said Julie Hebert, Executive Director of FAAE. “Through the Florida Arts Model Schools program, we’re ensuring that schools who have made a commitment to providing the highest quality arts programs for their students not only receive the recognition they deserve, but also receive the support they need in order to share the models for their success with schools that want to improve.”

“The Longleaf Elementary staff does a tremendous job of exposing their students to the arts,” said Superintendent Kurt Browning.  “This is a well-deserved recognition.”

Teams of school administrators and teachers from each of the Florida Arts Model Schools have been presented with full-conference scholarships to FAAE’s annual Leadership Summit in Daytona Beach to further strengthen their engagement with Arts education best practices and help them connect with other arts educators and administrators from around the state. The winning schools will also be presented with their Florida Arts Model Schools Award at the Leadership Summit during a special luncheon in their honor on Saturday, June 25.

About Florida Arts Model Schools Program
The Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE) evaluates and approves schools based on criteria development by the Florida Department of Education, FAAE and Florida’s professional service associations for dance, music, theater and visual art. Schools that meet this criteria are committed for a three-year period to assist FAAE, school officials, teachers and other interested persons in observing quality fine arts programs and make suggestions for program improvement. The selected schools receive public recognition at the annual FAAE Leadership Summit.

Florida Arts Model Schools offer exemplary arts programs, exemplary arts integration programs, exemplary instructional settings, outstanding community connections, or other factors that make them worth attention and visiting. These schools have agreed to open their doors to visitors who wish to enhance and/or affirm their arts education practices.

For more information about the Florida Arts Model Schools Program or the Florida Alliance for Arts Education, visit, or call 407-488-9951.