by Dr. Ellen Dougherty
While I was the superintendent of the Lawndale School District, one of my favorite things to do was to visit P.S. ARTS classrooms.
I have always felt that involvement with the arts is a critical component in a student’s education. Research has established that integrating the arts into core instruction helps students obtain not only a deeper understanding of the content matter but assists in engaging students in their learning. The Common Core focuses on creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication, which is imperative for 21st-century learning. Arts integration into the content area touches all four of these important components.
Arts education provides an opportunity for English learners to become more connected to the subject matter and increase their use and understanding of the English language. Integrating arts curriculum into the science standards further strengthens student understanding and engagement. Many times, it also provides students with the technical skills they need to be college and career ready.
The students were happy and always actively engaged in their learning; talking, sharing, and collaborating.
While I was the superintendent of the Lawndale School District, one of my favorite things to do was to visit P.S. ARTS classrooms. The teaching artists, with their authentic expertise in the subject areas, provided a passion for their content area that generated excitement throughout the lessons. The students were happy and always actively engaged in their learning; talking, sharing, and collaborating. Classroom teachers also attended the classes, observing and helping students, providing skills the teachers could transfer to their own daily teaching.
I knew the students only had those opportunities due to our amazing partnership with P.S. ARTS.
Public education has cut most funding dedicated to arts education. Therefore, providing arts education to students in low economic areas is extremely important. The school day is the only time that many of these students will be exposed to the arts, giving them a reason to be engaged in their learning and, for some students, to attend school at all. For the nine years I was in the Lawndale Elementary School District, as I observed their weekly lessons in the arts, I knew the students only had those opportunities due to our amazing partnership with P.S. ARTS. Now in my retirement, seeing the importance of this partnership, I plan to volunteer my time to help continue the fantastic work of P.S. ARTS.
All photos are from the Family Art Night held at Mark Twain Elementary in the Lawndale School District.