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Mayor de Blasio, Comptroller Stringer and Chancellor Fariña Announce New Arts Programs for Thousands of Students

July 1, 2014

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Additional $23 million spent on arts education in the 2014-2015 school year

New funding to support 120 new certified arts teachers, improved arts facilities in schools, and new partnerships with cultural institutions

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña today announced how the City will spend an unprecedented $23 million in additional arts funding for New York City schools. The City will hire 120 new arts teachers at middle and high schools that are underserved, improve arts facilities across the City, and foster exciting partnerships with some of the City’s renowned cultural institutions. The new investment will reach thousands of students with new classes and activities in music, dance, visual arts and theater.

“We want every child to feel the spark that comes from learning something they are passionate about. And so often, it’s taking up an instrument, honing an artistic craft, or performing for the first time that helps a young person come into their own for the first time. The investments we are making here won’t just help our students explore music, dance and the arts. They will help these children grow in a way that helps them succeed in school and in life,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are proud to work with Comptroller Stringer and the arts community, which have advocated bringing these vital programs to even more students.”

“In New York City, the cultural capital of the world, a zip code should never determine whether a student can access arts education in their school. Mayor de Blasio’s commitment of $23 million for expanded arts education marks an important down payment in our ongoing effort to make sure that every City student, in every neighborhood, has access to a meaningful arts education, as I recommended in my recent report, ‘State of the Arts,’” said Comptroller Scott Stringer. “I also applaud Chancellor Fariña for her commitment to put certified arts teachers in middle and high schools that lack them, which will support their capacity to develop partnerships with our amazing arts and cultural organizations in New York City.”

“The arts teach our students the importance of revising, editing, rehearsing and joy in the pursuit of mastery—a lesson critical in the classroom and beyond,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Expanding access to an arts education will help inspire students, build confidence, and deepen their critical thinking skills. By integrating a rigorous arts curriculum and art making into schools, we can provide hands-on learning experiences that help students thrive.”

Among the most significant investments announced today are:

  • $5M to support schools with resources and personnel costs to hire 120 certified arts teachers:
    • $4.7M to offset personnel costs for 100 arts teachers trained in different disciplines, who will bring their expertise to 50 pairs of middle schools, as well as provide additional support to new arts programs: Sharing arts teachers certified in two unique content areas will give schools a wider variety of arts instruction for their students. It will also enable more schools to move toward full compliance for the New York State instructional requirements in the arts. Additional supports include mentoring for new teachers and funding for supplies and partnerships.
    • $360K to support a partnership to train the next generation of arts teachers: In partnership with Hunter College and Lincoln Center, the Lincoln Center Scholars Alternative Certification Program will enroll up to 20 new teachers in the first year in a fully-subsidized, two-year track program with instruction by Hunter College. During the program, Lincoln Center Scholars will be eligible to apply for full-time teaching positions in elementary, middle or high schools while taking courses at Hunter College. Participants will also take part in training at Lincoln Center Education.
  • $2M for personnel support to focus on helping low-arts schools boost their arts programs: In addition, the money will be used to hire five borough-based arts teams (one per borough) that will coordinate directly with school leaders and provide guidance on staffing, arts partnerships, and opportunities for additional arts resources. The funding will help correct imbalances in arts education, an important issue highlighted in Comptroller Stringer’s “State of the Arts” report on the arts in education.
  • $7.5M to invest in arts facilities and resources across the City: Funding will be used to upgrade and enhance art facilities at schools across the City, including new lighting for auditoriums, installing or upgrading dance floors, and choral risers. These funds will also go toward school resources, libraries, and instrument repair and distribution.
  • $1.4M to expand partnerships with organizations across the City: The City will build on successful partnerships, while cultivating new alliances. In the 2014-15 school year, the Department will launch a new Arts Continuum Project that will partner middle schools with their feeder elementary schools to aid the transition of arts learning from elementary to neighborhood middle schools. The Department will expand its “Teen Thursdays” program that partners middle schools with cultural institutions.
  • $3.1M for necessary tools for full-time arts teachers: This allocation will create an “Arts Teacher Choice Fund,” at $1,000 per teacher, specifically giving funds to schools for each full-time certified arts teacher to be used solely for studio materials, supplies and equipment.
  • $1.8M for professional development for arts and classroom teachers: For the first time, the City will offer professional development for Community Early Childhood Centers to assure they are offering student-centered and imaginative arts practices. The City will enhance the current Arts Education liaison workshop series, as well as begin new professional development in the Arts and Common Core for classroom teachers.
  • $785K to expand arts opportunities to high-needs students: The Department will forge partnerships between arts education organizations experienced in working with English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities with schools across the City. Twenty five schools will pilot this new partnership in the 2014-15 school year.
  • $220K to expand direct student programs, including the Middle School Arts Boot Camp: The Middle School Arts Boot Camp provides a two-week intensive training program to middle school students from Title 1 schools to prepare for high school programs auditions. The Teen Thursdays program provides Middle School students with arts and project-based learning over the course of eight after-school Thursday sessions in a range of arts and cultural organizations.

“Arts education allows students with creative ambitions to follow their passion, but is also a valuable part of academic development for all students,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I’m proud that this year’s budget includes funding for an unprecedented boost in arts education for New York City’s public schools in all five boroughs. I thank Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña for their commitment to funding arts programs for our City’s students.”

“The $23 million we are investing into our City’s schools will improve access to the arts for thousands of children,” said City Council Majority Leader and Chair of Cultural Affairs Committee Jimmy Van Bramer. “Every child deserves the opportunity to pick up a paint brush, dance at a recital, play an instrument, and create a work of art that they can call their own. I am proud the New York City Council strongly supported this addition to the budget of the Department of Education. The art our children create today will enhance their overall educational experience by expanding their ability to think creatively. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and Comptroller Stringer for making arts education a priority in our schools.”

“Arts education is a major component of a holistic education,” said City Council Education Committee Chairperson Daniel Dromm. “I am thrilled that the Mayor and Chancellor have made this a priority. By committing $23 million to put arts teachers in high-needs schools and by partnering with arts institutions, NYC public schools students will benefit tremendously. I was a NYC public school teacher for 25 years, and when my former students return to me, they always reminisce about the arts lessons I taught them. Art is a big part of what makes life worth living!”

“Arts education is at the heart of Lincoln Center’s core mission, and while we have developed programs for schools for nearly 40 years, this new initiative represents a bold step toward strengthening arts education in New York City, the world’s cultural capital,” said Jed Bernstein, President, Lincoln Center. “The Lincoln Center Scholars Alternative Certification Program—made possible by generous funding from Laurie Tisch, created with the inspiration and guidance of New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, leadership from Lincoln Center Education’s Executive Director Russell Granet, and support from Hunter College, the Department of Education, and other great partners—not only creates and sustains new high-quality arts teaching positions, it enriches and inspires a new generation through arts awareness and appreciation.”

“The arts education practitioners and cultural institutions that make up the Roundtable applaud the Mayor, the City Council, and the Chancellor’s decisive leadership in directing such a significant amount of funding in the FY15 City budget toward a variety of innovative arts education initiatives,” said Kati Koerner and Theodore Wiprud, Co-Chairs of the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable. “Our members are excited about the range of meaningful opportunities the Mayor’s plan will afford for us to partner with schools. Together, we can ensure that the peerless cultural resources of this City are used to deepen arts learning for all students from pre-K through high school.”

The Mayor, Comptroller, and Chancellor made the announcement at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, one of the cultural institutions that participated in the Teen Thursdays pilot program this past spring. Prior to the announcement, the band from Kappa III Middle School in the Bronx performed.

“At a time when arts education is lacking in Bronx schools, our mission is to bring tens of thousands of students to the Bronx Museum, creating in-depth partnerships with schools in our community and after-school and summer Teen Programs that wed digital skills with arts education,” said Holly Block, executive director of the Bronx Museum. “I am delighted with the Mayor’s support and initiatives for education, and with his choosing the Bronx Museum for this key announcement.”

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