Posts Tagged ‘USDOE’


News from USDOE

September 15, 2016

Focusing on Arts Ed

The following information is reprinted from a weekly newsletter from the USDOE called TEACHERS EDITION. It is a newsletter “Celebrating Teaching & Leading”. Several of the segments in the newsletter during the week of September 8, 2016 pertained directly to Arts Education.

In July, the Department issued guidance emphasizing the importance of the arts in a well-rounded education, and last week, Secretary King welcomed 12 arts teachers to discuss the issue. The teachers insisted that the arts continue to fight for a place in schools, even though research has shown the positive impact the arts can have on socialization and test scores. Currently only 17 states specify arts education as a requirement for schools to be accredited and only 26 states require course credits in the arts for high school graduation. Teachers shared the important life lessons the arts provide to students through encouraging perseverance, dedication, critical thinking, and management skills. These life skills can’t be measured by a test they said, but teachers can show growth for individual students, if school leaders and policy makers are willing to act. Find some resources below for next week’s National Arts Education Week — thank an arts teacher you know and learn more about what your state is doing for arts education.


Stacey Dallas Johnston,  a 2016 Classroom Teaching Ambassador Fellow at ED and an English and Literature teacher at the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts, has found that when students are given the chance to be creative, they often become engaged in school for the first time. The arts are “powerful tools that can unlock the opportunity for a student to learn about Math, English, or Science.” Read more of her blog in ED’s Homeroom.

Let’s Bring Some Love to Our World
In 2001, and the Black Eyed Peas recorded a song called Where’s the Love?, a social commentary on the state of our communities. He recently revisited the song and applied it to today’s environment. In an interview with the website ATTN, he said he hopes the song will spark conversation about what’s happening in society today — especially when it comes to education.

It Made a Bad Day Good
Teacher Stephanie MacArthur shares an idea to spread the love by way of compliments from students, to students. The idea is simple yet powerful: students take turns in the “hot seat” facing away from the board. Classmates write positive statements about the student on the board, and when they finish, the student gets to turn around and read them. What a beautiful way to start a year, or to respond to events as they arise in students’ lives.

Superheroes Inspire Students to Learn STEAM
What happens when you cross pop culture with STEAM? Marvel Comics has an answer in their new covers, designed to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. The covers feature superheroes engaging in STEAM-related activities and are meant to get kids excited about the possibilities in their own futures (Slotkin, NPR, Marvel).

What We Heard from Educators This Week
5. “I was never taught how to teach creativity and I didn’t know you could teach it until now.” Teacher, California.
4. “I teach music because I think everyone deserves the chance to develop their soul.” Teacher, West Virginia.
3. “My favorite thing is that theater teaches empathy and sense of identity and neither of those is measurable.” Teacher, Virginia.
2. “Our students are our trophies.” Teacher, Texas
1. “The arts work to create wonder in students.” Teacher, Maryland.


Ideas Into Action

October 4, 2015

Teach to Lead does it again

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 8.02.02 PMIn August I wrote about a trip to Washington, D.C. that a team of 5 from the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) took. In fact, it was the trip when the name of the initiative switched from the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative to MALI. We spent time at the Teach to Lead Summit and it was an amazing opportunity for Maine.

The next Teach to Lead Summit was held last week in Tacoma, Washington. It was the fifth summit held in the country where teachers exchanged ideas to improve their schools and discussed plans to put those ideas into action. Over the past year-and-a-half, more than 560 ideas for expanding teacher leadership have been submitted from all over the country, and it’s only just the beginning of the effort to empower teachers to lead the improvement of their schools, says Secretary Duncan. Stay tuned to to participate in the next summit.

Those who attended the Summit in Tacoma are boldly going back to schools, districts, and states to put their ideas into action.

Watch the Teach to Lead website for the next opportunity to apply for the Summit.


Arts Education K-12 Reform References

January 24, 2014

U.S. Department of Education

The “Your U.S. Department of Education Bookshelf” provides resources to the public on a variety of education topics. Their K-12 presentation, for example, offers findings from a longitudinal study which shows:

  • Students who had arts-rich experiences in high school showed higher overall GPAs than students who lacked these experiences.
  • Arts-engaged high school students enrolled in competitive colleges—and in four-year colleges in general—at higher rates than students with low arts engagement.
  • Low-income students with arts-rich experiences in high school were more than three times as likely to earn a bachelor’s degree as low-income students without arts-rich experiences in school.

Download the presentation and check out many of the others on topics ranging from early learning to standards and assessments.


Title I Funds for Arts Education

June 20, 2013

Letter from USDOE – Clarifying Districts/Schools Can Spend Title I Funds on Arts Education

During times when funding is tight, it is particularly heartening to read the letter below from the head of Title I at the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Chism sent this letter to all state Title I coordinators specifically to remind them that the arts, as core subject areas, are eligible for funding through Title I.

Title I funding is the largest category of federal funding that goes to schools. It is often incorrectly believed to be solely for supporting tested subject areas, but – as you will read in this letter – the arts are, in fact, eligible. There are certain other priorities and conditions associated with Title I that must be met, several of which are articulated in the letter.

Those of you who work in Title I schools will want to read this letter carefully and consider whether you have arts-related ideas that quality for such funding.

June 6, 2013

Dear Title I State Coordinators:

Student Achievement and School Accountability Programs (SASA), within the U.S. Department of Education, have recently received inquiries about the role of arts education within the Title I, Part A (Title I) program. In response to those inquiries, I would like to take this opportunity to address how the arts can be used to achieve educational achievement of children served under Title I. As a general observation, I note that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA), defines the arts as a core subject, and, as such, the arts play a significant role in the development of children and their learning process.

As local educational agencies (LEAs) in your State work with you and your team to plan their Title I programs for the 2013-14 school year, I believe that this is an appropriate time to note that activities that support the arts, in conjunction with other activities, can form an important part of an LEA’s Title I program. In maintaining consistency with Title I requirements, an LEA may use Title I funds to support standards. Please keep in mind that whether Title I funds may be used for a particular activity depends on how that activity fits within the context of Title I. In particular, the activity must help facilitate Title I’s overall purpose of improving the achievement of students who are failing, or most at risk of failing, to meet the academic content and achievement standards developed by the State.

In addition to advancing the overall purpose of Title I, using funds for arts education also must be consistent with other applicable requirements. Title I funds in a schoolwide program school must address the specific educational needs of students, particularly the lowest-achieving students in the school identified by the needs assessment and articulated in the comprehensive plan. Title I funds in a targeted-assistance school must address supplemental educational needs of students who are failing, or most at risk of failing, in order to meet the State’s academic achievement standards. The use of Title I funds must also be reasonable and necessary for the proper and efficient performance under the Title I program (Office of Management and Budget Circular A-87, Attachment A, C.1.a, codified at 2 C.F.R. Part 225).

To determine the eligibility of Title I funds being used in support of arts education, an LEA must analyze such use in the context of its Title I program and the needs of its students. Depending on those needs, an LEA may use Title I funds to support activities related to the arts, provided those activities are part of an instructional strategy that is designed to improve the academic achievement of at-risk students so they can meet the State’s academic standards. As the use of Title I funds is tied to each school’s needs it would be expected that those funds would generally support different activities from school to school.

Thank you for your efforts to provide a high-quality education to students, particularly the low-achieving students served by Title I. I hope that as you continue this excellent work in the 2013-2014 school year and beyond, LEAs and schools will successfully identify those activities, including activities that support arts education, that are tailored to improving the academic achievement of low-achieving students.


Monique M. Chism, Ph.D. Director, Student Achievement and School Accountability Programs  


What Happens After Teacher Leaders Meet?

August 13, 2012

Teacher Leaders Meet in Maine and in DC

Interestingly enough on the day after our Maine Arts Assessment Institute finished, a teacher leader conversation was taking place in Washington DC. It was hosted by the US Department of Education and it was called Transforming the Teaching Profession: A Teacher Leader Convening. Over 130 educators attended the event representing about 28 organizations. The educators were asked to identify priorities and develop strategies to move the RESPECT Project vision forward. The RESPECT Project is about envisioning a teacher profession for the 21st century and includes plans for teacher leadership, teacher preparation and other topics that directly relate to the teacher in the classroom. The educators in DC discussed what the USDOE needs to do to move the components of the RESPECT Project forward.

During the last part of the one-day event in DC the small group discussions were shared with the USDOE and White House officials and questions and answers were exchanged. Many times educators get together and walk away from similar events wondering whatever happened to those ideas that were so important at the time of discussion? A teacher asked “what’s next?”

When Secretary of Education Duncan launched the RESPECT Project he noted: “This new vision will not appear overnight… It will proceed in different ways in each state and district. There will be no single formula for success.”
When I read the information on the project and thought about the work we are doing in Maine arts education with the assessment initiative I couldn’t help but have similar thoughts. Each Maine arts educator has been invited to participate in the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI). We have 38 who have been named Teacher Leaders in the last two years. Many of you have participated in the workshops offered by the teacher leaders, some at the statewide conference and others at regional levels. Many have participated in the 7 webinars when they took place and others have accessed them and used at teachers meetings. In the near future there will be other opportunities. The bottom line is that the MAAI will proceed in different ways in districts across the state of Maine.

Visual Arts Teacher Leaders Gloria Hewett and Janie Snider at the MAAI summer institute, MECA, August 2012

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