Chancellor Fariña Announces Annual Arts in School Report: Highest Number of Arts Teachers in Eleven Years, $30 Million Increase in Arts Investment Citywide

  • Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 Updated: Thu Apr 19, 2018

Arts partner programs for English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities reached twice as many schools in 2015-16 school year. $30 million increase in arts education investment, in addition to annual $23 million investment

NEW YORK – Chancellor Fariña today released the 2015-16 Annual Arts in Schools Report, highlighting a record 11 year-high in the number of certified arts teachers, as well a substantial increase in arts programming for English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities. The Annual Arts Report also details an increase in arts spending across the City from $367 million in the 2014-15 school year to $399 million in the 2015-16 school year, demonstrating a strong and growing commitment on the part of individual schools to invest in robust arts instruction for students and expanding arts learning to new disciplines.

Chancellor Fariña today visited PS 316 in Brooklyn to celebrate the Annual Arts in Schools Report as well as the school’s strong arts program. Ensuring a high quality arts education for students across the City continues to be a priority of the administration.

“This Administration has always said that arts and culture are for everyone. There is no better example of this than the amazing work being done to bring high quality arts education to classrooms throughout the city by the Department of Education,” said Tom Finkelpearl, Commissioner of Cultural Affairs.” Our kids deserve these opportunities, and our arts educators deserve our support. I am confident that this investment will make the city better for generations to come.”

New York City now has a record number of full-time certified arts teachers, a total of 2,757 in all pre-K-12 schools. Since the 2014-15 school year the DOE hired 364 full-time certified art teachers. To achieve this, the DOE launched a number of hiring initiatives to increase access to certified arts teachers to schools across the City, including Arts Matters, a staffing initiative that partners nearby schools – mostly located in high-needs communities – to share one or two full-time arts teachers. Schools selected for the Arts Matter program receive three years of financial and instructional support from the DOE including ongoing professional development and one-on-one discipline-specific mentoring by experienced teachers as well as arts materials. Arts Matter recently expanded from 86 teachers in 113 schools in the 2015-16 school year to 98 teachers in 123 schools in the 2016-17 school year, and now reaches over 25,000 students across the city. 15 of the new Arts Matter schools were able to hire an arts teacher for the first time.

The 2015-16 school year also marked the launch of the F-Status Pilot Program a new hiring initiative that allows schools to receive additional support to hire a part-time (F-status) licensed arts teacher. The F-Status program expanded this fall, and now serves a total of 16 schools across the city – nine middle schools and seven high schools, including three transfer high schools. Between the new F-Status program and the Arts Matter expansion, 31 schools across the city are now receiving high quality art instruction for the first time as of the 2016-17 school year.

Additionally, through arts partnership grants – the Arts for English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities, Arts Continuum, and the Arts+Family Engagement programs – grant-funded partnerships between schools and various New York City arts organizations nearly doubled, from 144 schools in the 2014-15 school year, to 285 in the 2015-16 school year. As of the 2016-17 school year, there are 293 partnerships. These initiatives provide schools with resources to ensure meaningful arts opportunities for students through strategic partnerships with the NYC arts and cultural community. Partnership goals include increasing achievement in and through the arts for diverse student learners, bridging arts learning between the elementary and middle school grades, and increasing family involvement around students’ arts education.

The Annual Arts in Schools Report also features a number of new and expanded arts initiatives that are reaching students across all five boroughs – including new family engagement activities, expanded community arts partnerships, additional supports and professional development for educators, intensive prep for students applying to screened arts schools, and additional funding for arts facilities in schools.

Other highlights of the report include significant growth in the number of elementary, middle and high schools that offer arts instruction in multiple disciplines:

Elementary School

  • At least one arts discipline – 100 percent, up from 99 percent 
  • At least two arts disciplines – 97 percent, up from 94 percent
  • At least three arts disciplines – 84 percent, up from 80 percent 
  • 44 percent of elementary schools offer classes in all four disciplines to all grades 1-5, up from 38% the year before.

Middle School 

  • At least one arts discipline – 97 percent, up from 96 percent 
  • At least two arts disciplines – 77 percent, up from 71 percent 
  • At least three arts disciplines – 35 percent, up from 30 percent 

High School 

  • At least one arts discipline – 99 percent, up from 98 percent
  • At least two arts disciplines – 71 percent, consistent from the previous year 
  • At least three arts disciplines – 34 percent, down from 36 percent
  • For the second year in a row, 100% of all New York City High Schools met the New York State Education department art guidelines, which requires two credits in the arts prior to graduation.

The report also points to the continuation and expansion of several arts initiatives that emphasize work being done in the five boroughs, including Borough Arts Fairs and Borough Arts Directors. The Borough Arts Fairs are a series of year-end borough-wide events that includes student arts exhibitions and public performance, and bring students, families, and educators together in celebration of arts education. In 2014-15, five Borough Arts Directors were also appointed to lead school support and professional development for all schools in their borough. Subsequently, two additional Borough Art Directors were hired for the 2015-16 school year who are tasked with providing targeted supports to low-arts schools, bringing the total number of Borough Arts Directors to seven. These leaders work with superintendents and Borough Field Support Centers to build the supports and environments that promote high-quality arts instruction. 

“Dance, music, theater and the visual arts are an integral part of every young person's education,” said NYC City Council Education Committee Chair Daniel Dromm.  “As a former NYC public school teacher, I have witnessed how the arts motivate students to attend class and excel academically.  By increasing the number of arts teachers in public schools, our city has made a significant investment in our children's futures. I will continue to do all that I can to support this important effort.

“From film and theater to music and dance, the arts have always been a powerful tool for self-expression and social change. Through an equitable arts curriculum, our City's scholars will have an equal opportunity to explore the full potential of their creativity,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo.

“Every single school should offer our kids real opportunities to learn and excel in all STEAM disciplines – science, tech, engineering, mathematics, and especially the arts,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I’m pleased to learn we have a record number of certified full-time arts teachers, and hope that this is another step forward toward that goal.”

“As an advocate for the arts, I believe arts education is an important way for students to learn and grow creatively,” said State Senator Jose Serrano. “The job of an art teacher is crucial because they allow students to think differently and express themselves in safe ways.  While there is still more work to be done regarding arts education in New York, this is a great starting point. Many thanks to the Department of Education, English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities, Arts Continuum and the Arts + Family Engagement Programs for recognizing the value of education in the arts, and for continuing to recruit the best educators to be a part of our system.”

“I applaud the Chancellor's initiative to increase the hiring of additional art teachers throughout our city. This will greatly enhance our student's achievements, as well as diversify their educational experience beyond the common core. With what we are learning about mental health, initiatives such as this can help meet the needs of diverse learners and students with disabilities, through the expansion of the Arts and Family Engagement Programs, helping to create an enriching and equitable education for all,” said Assemblyman Walter Mosley.

“I am heartened that this administration is showing its commitment to arts education by increasing funding, as this is an important step in improving our schools,” said Assemblyman Matt Titone. “Study after study has shown that teaching arts leads to improved learning in all areas of study, including math science, and English. If we are serious about helping our children reach their full academic potential, we need to be fully dedicated to adding a fourth R to the core curriculum of our schools, and that is ARTS.”

“Arts Matters is the perfect name for this initiative. We know that arts education improves student performance in other subject areas and standardized tests, increases student attendance and correlates with more student participation in community service activities,” said Assemblyman Dan Quart. “Just as importantly, arts education offers students avenues for self-expression, new ways to examine the world around them and an opportunity to explore the nature of their own humanity. With this effort, the Department of Education is demonstrating that the arts truly do matter in New York City public schools.”

“Arts education is an essential part of our school’s community and success,” said Olga Maluf, Principal of PS 316 in Brooklyn.  “Our music, theater and visual arts classes have opened our students’ eyes to the vast world of the arts, while building their critical thinking skills and giving them a rigorous hands-on learning experience. Most importantly, the arts have helped our school strengthen its family engagement, parents now have the opportunity to visit our school and see their child’s art work first-hand, whether it’s a piece of art hanging on the wall, a school play or a piano recital.”

“As an Arts Matter teacher, I have the opportunity to work with multiple school communities, teaching them music through a variety of methods and performing diverse repertoire,” said Michelle Parsinski, an Arts Matters teacher at PS/MS 200 and PS 164 in Queens. “But most importantly, my class emphasizes the critical thinking and dedication that will help students succeed in every subject and prepare them for college and successful careers.”

“Being a part of the Arts Matter initiative has allowed our students to experience a high-quality arts education that challenges them not just as artists, but as scholars,” said Monique Mason, Principal of I.S. 131 in the Bronx. “Having a robust arts curriculum has helped provide our school with a more well-rounded approach to education, providing students with a designated space to experiment, express themselves, and think creatively.”

Last year the DOE also piloted Pre-K arts workshops which in the current school year led to the a launch of a three-year professional development opportunity that teaches Pre-K instructors how to incorporate visual arts, dance, theater, and music into their ongoing instruction to ensure our city’s youngest learners have access to a quality arts education at an early age. Over the course of the program’s three years, Pre-K Create will train 2,000 pre-K teachers, teaching assistants, administrators, and instructional coaches at 490 pre-k sites across the city, which would impact 11,680 four-year olds in all 5 boroughs. Pre-K create is supported by a public-private partnership through the Fund for Public Schools.

Additional information on focus initiatives and arts instruction can be found in the full 2015-16 Annual Arts in Schools Report available online.

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