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Using the arts to help students achieve

As an educator it has been rewarding to see the power of the arts finally receive the attention and support it deserves ("Region's innovative arts education and programs give outlet, experience," Aug. 19).

Notably absent in your report, however, was the Baltimore Lab School, which educates boys and girls with learning differences in grades 1-12.

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Nearly 50 years ago, visionary educator Sally L. Smith founded an innovative learning community, the Lab School of Washington. In 2000, Ms. Smith brought her widely successful program to Baltimore City. The school's methodology combines multi-sensory and experiential programs to accommodate different learning styles and strengths.

For over a decade, we've seen first-hand how powerful arts education can be. Baltimore Lab School educates a vastly under-served population of students struggling with ADHD, dyslexia and other learning differences.

In addition to offering a variety of courses such as Advanced Placement classes, an art seminar, and classes in design, photography and theater, the Baltimore Lab School practices arts-enhanced curriculum and arts-integrated curriculum daily.

Our arts-enhanced curriculum dives deep as drama, music, creative movement and visual arts teachers work with classroom teachers to develop songs, movement techniques and visual art experiences that help reinforce academic skills.

Our arts teachers collaborate with classroom teachers to use the arts as a vehicle for meeting learning objectives in academic subject areas. In a middle school language arts class, for example, an English and drama teacher collaborate to ensure students are meeting written language objectives as they learn play writing.

Many schools and organizations are just catching up to what our founder knew implicitly back in the 1960s. I encourage parents to learn more about the arts at the Baltimore Lab School by scheduling a tour and visiting our website.

Steve Buettner, Baltimore

The writer is head of school at the Baltimore Lab School.

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