Summit XVII Keynote Speaker
Summit XVII Keynote Speaker - Mike Morath - Texas Commissioner of Education

Mike Morath was appointed Texas Commissioner of Education by Gov. Greg Abbott and began serving on Jan. 4, 2016. As Commissioner, he heads the Texas Education Agency, which oversees pre-kindergarten through high school education for more than five million students enrolled in both traditional public schools and charter schools.

Commissioner Morath previously served on the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) board of trustees. In his more than four years on the board, the district saw two bond ratings upgrades, a $200 million increase in fund balance and major improvements in auditing. But his focus was on academic improvements, and it showed in the results. By his final year, DISD had seen a 13 percentage point rise in kindergarten readiness, a nine percentage point gain in fourth-grade math proficiency on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), an 11 percentage point increase in graduation rates, and minority student performance on Advanced Placement tests that outpaced all large urban districts in the country.

While serving on the DISD board, Commissioner Morath served as chairman of Morath Investments, managing a small portfolio of investments. Prior to that, he served as president and chief operating officer of Minute Menu Systems, a company that provided information systems to help manage a $2.5 billion federal child nutrition program. His company made government more efficient – reducing costs by 13 percent to agencies administering that federal program – improved the quality of nutrition offered, and helped feed roughly one million children a day at the time he sold his interest in it.

A strong advocate of public education, Commissioner Morath graduated from Garland High School in the Garland Independent School District. Thanks to a great public school education, he earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree, summa cum laude, from George Washington University in two-and-a-half years.

While starting his first company, Commissioner Morath was asked to teach an advanced computer science class at his high school alma mater after the previous teacher resigned suddenly. He taught through the school year until a permanent teacher was hired and remains amazed at how difficult it is to teach.

With a belief system that continually calls him to serve others, Commissioner Morath has participated in numerous volunteer activities, including his church’s Missions Team, in schools and juvenile justice facilities and as a mentor Big Brother. He helped organize a trip to orphanages in southern India to set up clean running water systems, and he volunteered at an eye clinic in rural Mexico, where he met another volunteer, Dr. Laura Vondra, who is now his wife. They are the proud parents of a daughter and son.

 
Meet Our Summit XVII Featured Pre-summit Presenter
Gladys Keeton
Gladys M. Keeton, Professor of Dance in the School of the Arts at Texas Woman's University since 1969 (recently retired). Professor Keeton teaches modern, ballroom, tap, cultural dance, children's dance, adapted dance, dance appreciation, interdisciplinary arts, pedagogy and supervisor of student teachers. She was founder, artistic director and performer of the TWU International Folk Dance Company for 37 years. The company performed and presented cultural lecture demonstrations for schools, conventions, civic and community events throughout Texas as well as out of state. Gladys is artist educator for the Texas Commission for the Arts conducting dance residencies in Texarkana for over 15 years emphasizing interdisciplinary learning for students and teachers in schools. She has also choreographed and conducted show choir and vocal dance workshops/summer camps at L.D. Bell High School, Denton High School, Springtown High School, Strickland Middle School, Guyer High School, Southwest State University, Texas Woman's University and elementary musicals. She choreographs for annual concerts and musicals, one of which received honorable mention from the Kennedy Center ACTF. Her scholarship includes over 200 presentations at national, district and state conventions. Gladys has authored two books and contributed to two other books. Recently, she was a co-writer for the Dance and Media Communication curriculum. Contributions to dance education are made through leadership positions in state, regional, and national organizations as well as being selected as a charter cadre member of the Texas Center for Educator Development in Fine Arts, Texas Education Agency Fine Arts Advisory Panel, State Review Panel for Dance Textbook Adoption, the State Board for Educator Certification Dance Standards Review committee, TExES Dance Content Exam and presently Item Writer for the new TExES Dance Content Exam committees. Gladys has been a presenter for over 17 years at the CEDFA Fine Arts Summit and Pre-Summits. She also conducts In-Service and Staff Development workshops for fine arts and classroom teachers in the public schools of Texas on a variety of topics. Recognition includes TAHPERD Brace Award (most prestigious award), Dance Heritage, Outstanding University Dance Educator, Honor, and PEPI Awards, Southern District AAHPERD Outstanding University Dance Educator Award, the Texas Dance Educator Association Hall of Fame Award, Drill Team Directors of America Lifetime Award and the Association for Retarded Citizens Outstanding Service Award. Other Awards include the TWU Distinction in Service and Outstanding Academic Advisor Awards, Outstanding Young Women of America Award, and the Association for Retarded Citizens Outstanding Service Award.

Depth and Complexity in Fine Arts Lessons

The elements of "depth and complexity" add a layer to lessons that immediately increase rigor and engagement.


  • Depth requires the student to explore the discipline by looking below the facts and investigating generalizations, principles and universal concepts.

  • Complexity determines the degree of mental processing required by the student to meet the objective of a particular classroom activity.



Many approaches to lesson planning are content-driven, giving us boxes to fill in. While these approaches include what we want to teach, they don't often contain "how" we are going to teach it. It is the "how" that makes all the difference in whether students actually learn. Few factors are as vital to teaching success as having well-designed lessons. Although years of experience can shore up less-than-complete planning, nothing compares to well-planned lessons. Comprehensive plans increase the likelihood that lessons run smoothly, so that students receive quality instruction.



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Because of the tremendous response to CEDFA’s Summit XVII, we have opened up a block of rooms at the Courtyard Marriot Austin Airport. Make your hotel reservations now to get your conference rate!

Summit XVII Registration is Open!

Texas Fine Arts Summit XVII is coming, and preparations are well under way. Presenters are hard at work with plans for rigorous, relevant training in art, dance, music, and theatre education! Please join us for the Texas Fine Arts Summit at the beautiful Austin Airport Hilton on June 9-10!

Use the quick links below to learn more about Summit XVII!

New Fine Arts TEKS charts

Order the new TEKS charts for your school.

Simply download the order form here, complete, and send with your payment. Fast and easy.

Click the picture and Order your new TEKS posters for the fine arts

Click the picture and Order your new TEKS posters for the fine arts

 

Support Fine Arts Education in Texas

Learning, Arts, and the Brain

The report is sponsored by the Dana Foundation Arts and Cognition Consortium. It is a collaboration of studies conducted by neuroscientists representing seven universities from across the United States pertaining to the association of arts training and higher academic performance. The consortium’s findings provide an understanding of the possible causal relationships between arts training and the ability of the brain to learn in other cognitive domains. The results of the studies should be helpful to students, parents, educators, and the general public in policy-making decisions as related to the importance of high quality arts education in our schools.

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Practicing a Musical Instrument in Childhood helps Reasoning Skills

A Harvard-based study has found that children who study a musical instrument for at least three years outperform children with no instrumental training – not only in tests of auditory discrimination and finger dexterity (skills honed by the study of a musical instrument), but also on tests measuring verbal ability and visual pattern completion (skills not normally associated with music).

While these results are correlational only, the strong predictive effect of training duration suggests that instrumental music training may enhance auditory discrimination, fine motor skills, vocabulary, and nonverbal reasoning. Alternative explanations for these results are discussed.

PLOS ONE publication archives of the October, 2008, report.
Download the PDF report

Multi-year Music Training Can Enhance Reading Skills and Literacy

Children exposed to a multi-year program of music instruction involving training in increasingly complex rhythmic, tonal, and practical skills display superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared with their non-musically trained peers, according to a study published in the journal Psychology of Music. According to authors Joseph M. Piro and Camilo Ortiz from Long Island University, data from this study will help to clarify the role of music study on cognition and shed light on the question of the potential of music to enhance school performance in language and literacy.

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