The Oklahoma State Department of Education has taken notice of fine arts offerings at Ardmore City Schools. The department on Monday posted the video “Keeping imaginations alive” to its YouTube channel as part of a series called “Elevate” and highlights music and visual art offerings at Ardmore schools.

According to a Wednesday statement from OSDE, Ardmore schools’ emphasis on fine arts is being credited for better test scores, more creativity, teamwork and positive changes seen by teachers. The three-minute video includes interviews with middle and high school students, teachers, and administrators on a local and state level.

"Schools with the most fine arts opportunities are typically within the two metro areas, but Ardmore’s art program is on par with some of the state’s largest districts,” said OSDE director of fine arts Elizabeth Maughan. She adds that many of those larger districts include more students and more resources than Ardmore.

According to Chauvin Aaron, associate director of fine arts for ACS, 53 student musicians have been selected for either all-district or all-state groups this year, including a record 27 students earning a spot on the Southeastern Oklahoma Band Directors Association All-District Band. The school district also broke ground on a $36.8 million performing arts center in October in an effort to expand available spaces for student artists.

“The arts contribute mightily to raising the performance level of your school,” superintendent Kim Holland said in the video. “If you’re trying to find places to cut, it’s not in the arts.”