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Column One: Curriculum

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Hoping to give budding artists the same status as athletes, officials at Waterford (Conn.) High School have begun awarding comprehensive letters to students who demonstrate achievement in the arts.

The school in June awarded coveted blue woolen "W's'' for the first time to 11 students for their achievements in school art, music, drama, and dance activities.

School officials said the change was "long overdue.''


Arts education got another boost this summer in Boston when major arts organizations and foundations announced a six-year project to revitalize music teaching in 10 of the city's schools.

The new program was developed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New England Conservatory, and WGBH-TV, a local public-television station.

The Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust and the Boston Foundation supplied $273,000 in funding.

The organizations will kick off their effort this month by sending 1st- and 6th-grade teachers from the schools involved to Tanglewood, the symphony's summer home in Lennox in western Massachusetts, for intensive training.

In the fall, the participating teachers will develop music-education programs tailored to the needs of their own schools with help from the arts groups.

Recent surveys suggest that the initiative is needed. City schools currently have only one music teacher for every 1,200 students.

"Our goal is to put music back into the system and to eventually not have it be dependent on the B.S.O. or the New England Conservatory,'' said Carter Harrison, a project director.


Since late June, a group of 100 minority high-school students with strong mathematics and science skills has been conducting research under the direction of individual mentors at several National Aeronautics and Space Administration facilities.

During the eight-week Sharp Plus Research program, developed by the Quality Education for Minorities Network, the students live in groups of 20 on the campuses of five colleges with large minority populations while carrying out their research assignments at NASA sites in Alabama, Florida, Maryland, Texas, and Virginia.

The program, which is part of Q.E.M.'s larger effort to increase the number of minority students in math, science, and engineering careers, gives students a chance to "gain invaluable, hands-on experience by participating in cutting-edge research,'' said Shirley McBay, the network's president.
--D.V. & P.W.

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