University partnership combines teaching with arts in Manatee and Sarasota


Leaders of three local schools have signed on to a new "artist-to-teacher" program.

Educational leaders and administrators from USF Sarasota-Manatee, State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota and Ringling College of Art and Design signed memos of understanding creating the program, which allows students to enroll in participating schools for further


After completing undergraduate degrees at Ringling College or taking arts courses at State College of Florida, students can enroll at USFSM's College of Education and receive either a bachelor's or a master's degree within two years and be certified as public school teachers for elementary positions in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

The partnership is designed to improve options in higher education and promote economic development and growth.

The "Artist-to-Teacher" program builds on partnerships between Sarasota and Manatee school districts, ensuring students are exposed to the most effective and inspiring teaching methods possible.

"They are personalizing teaching, adding emotions and context and engaging all parts of the brain with hands-on learning," said Lori White, Sarasota County Schools superintendent. "We must integrate the arts into every academic program."

In her remarks, Diana Greene, Manatee County Schools deputy superintendent of instruction, also praised the goals of the Artist-to-Teacher philosophy.

"When our teaching candidates have the opportunity to imprint engaging learning with their students from day one, the real winners are the 20,000 elementary students in Manatee County," Greene said.

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