Source: WBUR By: Peter Balonon-Rosen
BOSTON — Boston Public Schools has been awarded $100,000 in grant funding to expand arts education in high schools.
The grant is one of 22 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants awarded to Boston-area organizations on Wednesday. In total, Boston-area organizations are receiving $870,000 from this round of NEA grants to support local arts initiatives.
“Arts are critical to the social, emotional and academic growth of a student,” Mayor Martin Walsh said in a statement. “We are grateful to the NEA for its support of our expansion efforts.”
The money awarded to Boston Public Schools will support a two-year project to expand the work of theBoston Public Schools Arts Expansion Initiative into more high schools.
Launched in 2009, the Arts Expansion Initiative is an ongoing effort to expand arts education in schools across Boston. The initiative awards grants to outside organizations who partner with Boston Public Schools (BPS) and provide instruction in areas including visual arts, theater, poetry, dance, instrumental, choral and media arts disciplines.
Since the initiative’s introduction, the number of Boston students in preschool through eighth grade that receive weekly, year-long arts education increased from 63 to 93 percent, according to BPS.
The expansion of any arts programming — not necessarily weekly — for high school students lags behind the opportunities for younger students. Since 2009, the number of Boston high school students with access to any arts education increased from 24 to 63 percent.
Boston school officials plan to use the new money to focus on opportunities in high school. They will select five to seven high schools to develop and implement arts electives and provide professional development in the arts.
“We are very excited about the Collective Impact grant from the NEA,” said Myran Parker-Brass, executive director for the arts at Boston Public Schools, in a statement. “The BPS Arts Expansion project is an excellent model of a public/private partnership that is building and deepening arts education for all BPS students.”
In addition to providing money for in-class arts programming, the Arts Expansion Initiative also provides money for professional development initiatives, tracking and analyzing outcomes and working with outside partners to secure additional financial support. Partners include Edvestors, The Barr Foundation, the Boston Foundation, the Klarman Family Foundation and the Linde Family Foundation.