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Tucson Great Start Program
The program provides school districts with tickets to distribute to students so they can experience the arts, history and science at local museums and attractions. Nonprofits donated the tickets—150 to 200 tickets per nonprofit—which were shared equally among the five school districts. Each district came up with its own plan for distributing them to students. Sunnyside is focusing on attendance while Tucson Unified is looking at students who are already interested in these subjects.
Mayor Rothschild emphasized the importance of Tucson’s arts and cultural organizations in creating a vibrant community and said he hopes the experience of attending the symphony or a museum "will be addictive, leaving students and their families wanting more."
Research has shown that meaningful family engagement in student’s learning supports school readiness and later academic success. These experiences are essential to the building of prior knowledge and contextual foundations that are critical to reading comprehension in the early grades. Student education programs must place an emphasis on creating and sustaining community learning activities that extend beyond the home and classroom in order to close the learning gap. The program builds a solid learning foundation for Tucson students with experiences that, for many families, might otherwise be cost-prohibitive.
Tucson Unified PLAN:
All Tucson Unified Fine Arts and Opening Minds through the Arts teachers will be contacted about the various Great Start events. The teachers will select students who have demonstrated academic and artistic growth in their instrumental music, choral, dance, theatre, visual arts or OMA arts integration classes to receive the tickets. Students will be matched to an event that aligns with their school curriculum (i.e. Museum of Contemporary Art to Visual Arts students demonstrating artistic excellence in creating 2 or 3 dimensional art or Tucson Children’s Museum for elementary arts integration students who are demonstrating through performance/exhibition creative connections to math, science, or language arts concepts).
For Tucson Unified, the Great Start Program joins other programs with similar goals in mind: Act One based in Phoenix and the Metropolitan Opera HD Broadcasts from New York City.
Participating arts and cultural organizations that have given us ticket for our students:
Arizona History Museum
Children’s Museum Tucson
Reid Park Zoo
Tucson Museum of Art
Tucson Symphony Orchestra
University of Arizona Museum of Art