USF Sarasota-Manatee College of Education Receives Major Grant from Manatee Community Foundation

$42,000 Grant will fund a collaborative pilot program with the Manatee County school district to incorporate arts-integrated teaching into school curricula.

USFSM Manatee Community Foundation Grant to COE

(l to r) Dr. Patricia Hunsader, assistant professor USF Sarasota-Manatee College of Education; Marilyn Howard, executive director Manatee Community Foundation; Dr. Robin Thompson, executive director of teaching and learning Manatee County Schools; Dean Terry Osborn, USF Sarasota-Manatee College of Education.

The Manatee Community Foundation’s Leslie and Margaret Weller Fund supporting arts education awarded a $42,000 grant to fund collaboration between the Manatee County school district and the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee’s (USFSM) Center of Partnerships for Arts-Integrated Teaching (PAInT). The funding will be used to design and implement an arts-integrated pilot program for Manatee County educators. “Enhancing teacher education while impacting large numbers of Manatee County school children with imaginative and creative arts integration projects under the guidance of professional artists is a win, win, win for all involved,” says Marilyn Howard, executive director. The Manatee Community Foundation is excited to help launch this pilot project.”

The College of Education at USF Sarasota-Manatee embraces the concept of using the arts as an effective strategy for enriching learning and teaching experiences. Dr. Patricia Hunsader, assistant professor in USFSM’s College of Education, and director of the Center for PAInT says, “We’re extremely grateful for these funds, which will enable us to put these concepts into practice.”

The pilot program, “Collaboration, Arts Integration, and the Common Core” (CAICC), will pair select Manatee County teachers from a Title 1 school with USFSM student interns and Center of PAInT teaching artists to

develop innovative teaching curricula and strategies based on the Common Core State Standards. A professional development team will supply the background knowledge required for successfully implementing the pilot program. After the program is launched, another team of professional educators will meet with program participants to solve problems and develop changes based on real-time performance data from the classroom. At the conclusion of the program, educators will conduct a pupil impact assessment based on pilot trials and student surveys.

“Teachers, teacher candidates, and teaching artists will collaborate to create lessons, replicable in other settings, incorporating dance, music, theater, visual arts, and technology-based art forms,” says Hunsader. “Ultimately, the team will document and evaluate the effectiveness of these arts-integrated teaching strategies. We believe the evidence will show that arts-integrated teaching positively impacts learning by teaching skills in problem-solving, perseverance, and collaboration.”

Dr. Terry Osborn, dean of USFSM’s College of Education, says that the CAICC program will empower teachers to bring more meaningful learning experiences to their classrooms through the arts. “The Manatee Community Foundation is demonstrating its commitment to fostering innovative educational advances in our schools,” says Osborn. “With its support, we’re able to set the stage to ensure that teachers have the skills to integrate the arts in classes across the school day. We’ll make an impact in all the subjects students take, including science, technology, mathematics, social sciences and English/language arts.”

Dr. Robin Thompson, executive director of teaching and learning for the Manatee County Schools, praises the innovations in teaching that will enrich student learning thanks to this grant. “We are looking forward to participating in this partnership with USFSM and appreciate Manatee Community Foundation’s support,” she says. “It will provide opportunities for our teachers to integrate the arts across the curriculum to increase student engagement, critical thinking and achievement.”


About USF Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM)

USF Sarasota-Manatee is a comprehensive, four-year university for those interested in pursuing a baccalaureate or master’s degree, professional certification, or continuing education credit. USFSM offers the prestige of a nationally ranked research university with the convenience of a hometown location, including classes in North Port and Manatee County.

The Partnerships for Arts-Integrated Teaching

The Center of Partnerships for Arts-Integrated Teaching (PAInT) brings faculty together across disciplines to work on integrating critical and creative literacy in teaching, and to design new academic programs and courses that will enhance the learning experiences of College of Education candidates. The size of its community of learners is small enough to permit intimate conversations, creative brainstorming, and collegial collaborations.

About the Manatee Community Foundation

The Manatee Community Foundation was established in 1998 and has grown to $26 million in assets. Last year MCF distributed $2 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and scholarships to worthy students. Manatee Community Foundation “connects the charitable interest of donors with the on-going needs in our community.” To learn more, please visit or call (941)-747-7765.