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Happy Arts Education Month!

March 1, 2016

March it is!

When others are looking out the window waiting for Spring, Visual and Performing Arts Educators and others committed to excellent quality and access to arts education, are celebrating Arts in the Schools Month!

The month of March officially marks Youth Art Month, Music in Our Schools Month, Theatre in Our Schools Month, and Dance Education Month. A time for everyone to recognize students and their involvement in Arts education. We celebrate all that is “right” and “great” about visual and performing Arts education and a time to shout about it!

Celebrating Arts in Our Schools Month

Celebrating Arts in Our Schools Month

March provides an opportunity for Arts education to shine even greater than it does day to day. How will you take advantage of this opportunity? I suggest that you read the post I wrote one year ago called Arts Education Month for ideas or borrow language from this post to communicate with others. Use your voice to let others know why you believe that a quality Arts education is essential for all students, PK-grade 12.

Parts of this blog post have been borrowed from HomeRoom, an education blog of the US Department of Education who borrowed the post from the Office of Innovation & Improvement. Other parts are from the professional dance, music, theatre, and visual arts organizations websites.

The arts are an important part of a well-rounded education for all students. Arts-rich schools, those with high-quality arts programs and comprehensive course offerings, benefit students in and outside of the art or dance studio, music room, or stage. “All children deserve arts-rich schools,” Secretary Duncan told an audience of arts education advocates in 2012, as he discussed the disappointing results of an ED survey that showed many students lacking adequate access to arts education.

There’s no better time to echo the secretary’s pronouncement than in March, widely known as “Arts in the Schools Month.” Under the leadership of national associations representing teachers of dance, music, theatre, and the visual arts, a variety of activities unfold throughout the month — some that showcase the achievements of students and others that focus on the professional growth of arts educators committed to achieving the goal of arts-rich schools for all students.

Waterville Senior High School band students

Waterville Senior High School band students

MUSIC

Music in Our Schools Month was established nation-wide in 1985 by the National Association for Music Education.

Music teachers celebrate Music In Our Schools Month (MIOSM) in many ways by offering special performances, lessons, sing-alongs and activities to bring their music programs to the attention of administrators, parents, colleagues, and communities to display the positive benefits that school music brings to students of all ages.

Each year the National Association for Music Education sponsors a concert for MIOSM. You can view the concert videos by CLICKING HERE.

Bossov Ballet, Maine Central Institute

Bossov Ballet, Maine Central Institute

DANCE

For students of dance, March is when the National Dance Education Organization celebrates the artistic and academic achievements of exceptional students through the National Honor Society for Dance Arts (NAHSDA), which recognizes students who display outstanding artistic merit, leadership, and academic achievement in studying dance. Students who are members of NHSDA have an opportunity to be nominated for one of the highest honor programs for dance in the U.S., the NDEO Artistic Merit, Leadership, and Academic Achievement Award.

Poland Community School STEAM camp

Poland Community School STEAM camp

VISUAL ART

Youth Art Month (YAM) focuses on the value of visual art and art education for all children, with the theme of “Start With Art, Learn for Life.” State affiliates of the National Art Education Association (NAEA) help with support of YAM programs throughout the month, and NAEA members locally sponsor art exhibits and other activities to direct attention to benefits of visual arts learning and to increase community understanding and support of their schools’ arts education programs.

Maine Northern Maine Regional Final participants

Maine Northern Maine Regional Final participants

THEATRE

Theatre In Our Schools (TIOS) is a celebration of theatre in our schools and schools in our theatres. Sponsored by the American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE) and the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA), the goals of TIOS are to raise public awareness of the impact of theatre education and draw attention to the need for more access to quality programs in and out of school for all students. While TIOS presentations and advocacy may happen anytime in schools, theatres, and other public spaces, AATE and EdTA will recognize and promote March as the official Theatre In Our Schools month.

PROFESSIONAL LEARNING

Like all academic areas, students of the arts are successful because of teachers who are highly skilled, knowledgeable of developments in their fields, and motivated.

The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative provides resources aplenty at THIS LINK.

Maine DOE MEARP-1 participants

Maine DOE Maine Arts Education Resource Project – Integration participants

It’s your turn to get involved

Arts-rich schools benefit everyone. Research increasingly shows that arts education heightens engagement for all students and can increase motivation and persistence for those most at risk of failing or dropping out of school. Learning in the arts also uniquely equips students with the skills in creativity and divergent thinking as well as problem-solving and teamwork that they need to be college and career ready. The Arts Education Partnership, with support from ED and the National Endowment for the Arts, has publications and a research clearinghouse, ArtsEdSearch, to help you learn more about why the arts in our schools are worth honoring for a month.

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Attend Maine’s Arts Advocacy Day at the State House in Augusta, March 24. For more information CLICK HERE for the Maine Alliance for Arts Education website. I hope to see you there!

Take advantage of Arts Education Month to engage others in the conversation of why a quality arts education is essential for all students. Be sure that your principal and school have participated in the statewide Arts Education Census that is underway and being facilitated by the Maine Arts Commission. To learn more CLICK HERE.

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