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Darryl Rouson files pro-arts education bill to recognize high-achieving student artists

The bill would give graduating student artists a fine arts seal on their diplomas.

Sen. Darryl Rouson filed a bill this week that would recognize students with high achievement in fine arts.

The bill (SB 1100) would is aimed at encouraging students to develop a high level of skill in performing or visual arts

The bill would provide a seal on a high school graduate’s diploma indicating that they met state standards for the Seal for Fine Arts.

The program would begin in the 2020-2021 school year.

It would apply to graduating students who completed at least three year-long courses in dance, music, theater or the visual arts with a B or higher, an additional year-long course in another art category, completed two fine arts-related extracurricular activities and who shared talent and industry knowledge by providing at least 20 hours of community service and delivered a comprehensive presentation of their experiences.

The Commissioner of Education would be required to provide school districts with an insignia to be printed on qualifying graduates’ diplomas and give schools instruction on how to implement the program.

School districts would be required to maintain adequate records to identify qualifying students, provide data on how many students met the standards to receive the seal and print the assigned insignia too diplomas.

Students would not be required to pay a fee to receive the seal. The accomplishment would also be reflected on a qualifying graduate’s transcripts.

Rouson’s bill does not yet have a companion in the House and it has not been assigned to any committees.

Rouson’s measure comes as the Florida Legislature and individual school districts continue to place more emphasis on STEM education covering science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Educators and lawmakers have also been making concerted efforts to increase vocational training opportunities in schools to provide long-term earning opportunities for students who may not be considering attending college.

The bill represents a renewed push to encourage arts education.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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