Lifelong arts advocate and philanthropist Beverley Taylor Sorenson learned first hand how arts learning could impact students and schools. She gathered a team of experts and developed Utah’s arts-integrated teaching model. Over the years, her legacy has been felt by hundreds of thousands of children throughout Utah.
HOW IT WORKS
The Utah State Board of Education, through legislative appropriation, helps fund licensed teachers who are qualified experts in one of four art disciplines: visual art, music, dance, or theater. They work alongside elementary classroom teachers to develop lesson plans that integrate the arts with language arts, science, social studies, and math.
The Utah State Board of Education awards funds, monitors compliance, and implements BTS Arts by collaborating with superintendents, school administrators, and fine arts educators across the state.
Funding from the Utah legislature and Beverley Taylor Sorenson’s legacy nonprofit, Art Works for Kids, is granted to local education agencies (LEAs) that apply for the program each year.
LEAs who reapply for the program are prioritized for annual grants, and new applicants are further prioritized based on the potential number of students served. All others are placed on a waiting list until expansion funds become available.
Granted LEAs demonstrate commitment to BTS Arts by agreeing to a 20% funding match. LEAs determine which schools receive BTS Arts. Fine arts educators are hired by LEAs and are supervised by their individual school administrators.
LEAs in Utah have developed different innovative BTS Arts models to serve their students. Per Board Rule R277-490, the essential elements of the program include an arts educator working collaboratively with classroom teachers to regularly plan and integrate instruction. LEAs can also propose additional activities that the Board can approve, as evidenced in the following models.
BTS Arts was named after its champion Beverley Taylor Sorenson whose tireless advocacy for the arts left a legacy that is still felt by many across the State of Utah. As a child, Beverley trained in dance and music, and she continued to foster her passion for the arts as she raised eight children with her husband James LeVoy Sorenson. Her compassion for young children, support for the arts, and background in teaching inspired her pioneering efforts to reinvigorate elementary arts education in Utah’s higher education community.
Beverley’s passion was the driving force behind the Sorenson family’s eight endowments to institutions of higher education in Utah. The endowments support colleges and departments responsible for educating Utah’s future teachers, and ensure that both future and current teachers are well equipped to create meaningful art experiences for children in Utah. Because of Beverley’s legacy, thousands of students and educators each year experience arts-integrated learning opportunities that create deeper understanding of K-6 foundational concepts across science, language arts, math, social studies, and more.