NewsLocal News


Mexia bets on arts to improve academics

mexia arts.JPG
Posted at 11:32 PM, Mar 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 00:49:08-05

MEXIA, TX — Mexia High School did something Monday night, almost unheard of in education.

The school hosted a presentation of all it's arts programs in one place in one night.

John Gaviria spent years working on hyperbolic geometry for the Army, but his son, had trouble making numbers add up.

"He did struggle with math as a child," Gaviria recalled.

But he noticed his son's math skills improving, the more time he spent drawing and on stage.

"I would not have as much fun doing any of my academic things I do, if I didn't do theatre," said his son, Carlos.

And now?

"He basically lives at school," said his dad.

That's why Mexia ISD Recently expanded its arts offerings, to create more critical thinkers.

"All of us learn by expanding our boundaries, and music, fine arts expands our boundaries," explained Dr. Lyle DuBus, Mexia ISD Superintendent.

Call it, a class in "thinking outside the box".

Do the numbers back up Dr. DuBus' claim? Listen to this: The Arts Education Partnership combed through 62 separate studies, to find music students, in particular, showed measurable progress in math, reading, and cognitive development. They even got higher SAT scores.

A Harvard study supported arts programs but cautioned against expecting huge gains in academics because of it.

So will Mexia's test scores improve with help from the arts?

”This is our first year with choir and we're just now expanding our arts program. The straight art program. Is it because of this? it is. Inevitably those scores will be there,” said Dr. DuBus.

Gaviria has already noticed a difference.

"I think he's getting that inner drive to find himself which is what they come to school for, to find themselves, and then to be able to forge a path forward" he said.

So while lots of schools promote sports, Mexia believes the arts motivate in a different way.

"I like acting and I like performing and yeah, that's how I got into that. It was just a big mistake that turned into a great thing," said Carlos.

A great thing making more great thinkers.