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PR- 135-04
June 01, 2004


2nd Annual Choral Festival in Bryant Park Celebrates Arts Education Day with Performances by New York City Schoolchildren

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein today announced the upcoming teacher training in the new curriculum in the visual arts and music, and appointed two new directors in dance and theatre who will begin developing curricula in those two disciplines.  Joan Finklelstein was named Dance Programs Manager for the Department of Education, and Paul King was named Theatre Programs Manager.  The Mayor and Chancellor were joined by Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate Levin and Office of Strategic Partnerships CEO Caroline Kennedy at the Second Annual Choral Festival at Bryant Park. The festival featured choral groups from ten schools throughout the City performing in celebration of Arts Education Day.

“An education in the Arts is crucial to the development of our City’s children,” said Mayor Bloomberg.  “In addition to engaging all of a child’s interests and promoting self-expression, excellent arts education programs can play a major role in improving attendance, retention and parental involvement in children’s education. By laying the groundwork to ensure that all teachers and students have access to the resources they need in pursuit of excellence, this initiative stands as a national model for quality public school education in the arts.”

“I am particularly pleased to announce our new directors of dance and theatre education,” said Chancellor Klein. “Both of these exceptional professionals come to us with years of experience in their discipline and they will be instrumental in helping us shape a curriculum blueprint for theatre and dance that will be implemented in the fall of 2005.  They plan to tap into the creative resources of the theatre and dance communities of New York City as they develop these programs that will certainly benefit all of our schoolchildren.”

“In creating this new arts curriculum, we are indebted to the expertise and cooperation of the City’s formidable cultural community,” said Commissioner Levin. “The process was, indeed, a model collaboration, drawing on the experience, commitment, and imagination of the private sector. I am thrilled to see this collective vision of educational excellence made a reality.”

“I am delighted to join the Mayor and the Chancellor today in recognizing and celebrating the extraordinary musical talents of our New York City High School students and their teachers,”
said Caroline Kennedy.  “Today also celebrates our students’ achievements in visual arts with the opening of the PS Art exhibition at the Tweed Courthouse.  I am looking forward to continuing our work with cultural institutions around the City to ensure that all of our public school students experience the joy of the arts in their lives.”

The P.S. Art exhibition, a juried exhibition of visual artwork by fifty schoolchildren chosen from throughout the city, opens today. It will be on display in the rotunda of the Tweed Courthouse until August 31, 2004.

The City’s new arts education curriculum is a K-12 sequential ladder of instruction for the study of visual art, music, dance and theater.  Professional development for teachers of visual arts and music begins at the end of June in preparation for the September 2004 opening of school.

The curriculum is a comprehensive approach to arts education which can serve as a model for other cities in several ways.  First, it was developed in collaboration with the City’s leading arts education programs and cultural institutions and encourages broad use of the vibrant cultural life of the City.  Students will have opportunities to visit museums and galleries, attend performances and concerts and work with artists to achieve the high standards set by this curriculum. School principals are provided with funds through Project ARTS to enhance arts instruction in the classroom with school-based partnerships and other programs.

Second, the curriculum lays out a course of study for kindergarten through twelfth grade, building students’ knowledge and skills from one year to the next.  In the past, a variety of curricula existed, and there was no formal connection between elementary, middle and high schools.  Now, with citywide professional development for visual arts and music teachers K-12, principals and teachers will have a common set of expectations for what children should be learning in each grade. Student achievement will be benchmarked at grades 2, 5, 8, and 12 to suggest expected outcomes for student learning by the time they reach these grade levels.

Third, the curriculum will provide a common set of standards for arts teachers, principals, classroom teachers and the many arts education organizations working in partnership with schools as well as the universities training the next generation of arts teachers.

All teachers of art and music, in grades K-12, have been invited to a training program to learn how to best implement the new curriculum. Elementary schoolteachers training takes place on June 29 and 30 at Long Island City.  Middle and high school teachers’ training will occur on August 24 and 25 at a location to be determined. Further training will be offered throughout the school year both for Department of Education teachers as well as educators and teaching artists from cultural organizations working in the schools.


Edward Skyler/Robert Lawson   (212) 788-2958

Eileen Murphy   (DOE)
(212) 374-5141

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