In This Issue:

Happy New Year to the Arts in Education community! We are excited for what 2017 has in store. One way to start your year is to check out our latest publication: an electronic brochure showcasing the Arts in Education program. We think this brochure will be a great resource for the whole community; it offers a description of our program and includes vignettes highlighting some current and former grantees.

In this newsletter issue, we continue with the series on specific arts disciplines, this time with a focus on dance in the classroom. In the pieces that follow, we explore the power of movement to engage students and teachers alike, and explore best practices for integrating dance education in schools. Our feature article is by Shannon Dooling, special projects coordinator of the National Dance Education Organization. This article provides an array of evidence of how dance can impact student outcomes, teacher satisfaction, and even school culture. Our two spotlights bring the evidence from the feature article to life: In the AEMDD spotlight, we feature ArtsConnection’s DELLTA project, which engages English language learners through dance, and incorporates technology to help students document their creative process. Our PDAE spotlight is Project Elevate, a grantee that focuses its professional development on how to incorporate dance and drama into elementary reading, math, and science lessons. Be sure to check out the sidebar interview with Susan McGreevy-Nichols, executive director of the National Dance Education Organization. McGreevy-Nichols details how the new dance standards were developed and what they look like in action. Lastly, you can find some noteworthy articles about arts education in all disciplines in our Arts in the News section, as well as information on conferences and professional development opportunities in the Upcoming Events section.

The Artistic Process of Dance 

By Shannon Dooling
Dance offers opportunities for embodied learning.
Dance, as an artistic and physical practice, seems to stand in contrast to some recent educational trends, such as a focus on standardized testing, digital technology, and core content. A closer look, however, reveals dance can and should play an important role in the well-rounded K-12 curriculum, both as a core subject and as an integrative tool to support learning in other subject areas. In this article, we highlight recent research showing how dance can benefit students in a number of ways, from improving student achievement through embodied learning, helping vulnerable student populations who are left behind by traditional teaching methods, and improving school culture through community building.

In 2013, the National Dance Education Organization set out to identify and analyze the latest research on dance education. As a result of these efforts, NEDO released Evidence: A Report on the Impact of Dance in the K-12 Setting, a report that summarizes the growing body of research showing that dance can have a positive impact on student achievement, teacher satisfaction, and school culture.

To understand why researchers are discovering the benefits of dance in K-12 education, it helps to understand some recent advances in neuroscience. A number of studies reviewed in the Evidence report have shown that dance prepares the brain for learning in unique ways. For example, physical act of dance increases blood flow and oxygen, which boosts cognitive performance. Moreover, neuroscientists have found that

“Movement activities are also effective because they involve more sensory input, hold the students' attention for longer periods of time, help them make connections between new and past learnings and improve long-term recall.” (Sousa, 2006).         

In short, the physical practice of dance has been shown to prime students for learning. Of course, dance is more than just a physical practice: it is an artistic process, and research shows that teaching dance in schools can promote subtler and more complex forms of thinking, and help students learn how to express sentiments and convey meaning creatively (Sousa, 2006). 
More than just steps

To help teach dance as an artistic process, the 2014 National Core Arts Standards in Dance establishes a framework for delivering dance education using the four parts of the creative process: creating, performing, responding, and connecting. Creating is the process by which students work to conceptualize and devise original movement, organize it according to personal vision or artistic principles, and refine and revise their work. Performing refers to the process by which dancers realize, interpret, and present work; this includes everything from learning a codified dance technique to interpreting a choreographer’s movement for the stage. In the responding process, students analyze, interpret, and apply criteria to evaluate dance work. The connecting process encourages students to relate dance work to their own personal knowledge and experience, and place it in societal, historic, and cultural contexts. When approached through these artistic processes, dance education becomes more than just the teaching of codified dance steps. It becomes a multi-layered experience that offers opportunity for embodied learning.

A tool for deep and lasting learning

Research in the field of embodied cognition supports the idea that physical, sensorimotor, perceptual, and emotional experiences shape the way that we acquire knowledge, remember, reason, make judgements, problem solve, and understand the world. Dance as an art form engages the physical body, the senses, and the proprioceptive system (body awareness or one’s sense of body in space) in the process of executing, devising, and reacting to movement. This allows for a multi-dimensional learning process that taps into a range of learning styles, including visual, kinesthetic, auditory, interpersonal, and intrapersonal, among others. Dance is a crucial tool in the educational process, providing a deep and lasting learning experience for students.
Dance is a crucial tool in the educational process, providing a deep and lasting learning experience for students.
Evidence cites several instrumental studies in which dance integration is shown to have an effect on student performance in other subject areas. These studies suggest that when integrated into the academic curriculum, dance activities can improve student achievement in math, science, reading, and language arts. As summarized in Evidence:         

All arts integration activities provide for multiple perspectives and have been described as helping to create a safe atmosphere for taking risks. …. But dance offers a special opportunity to go beyond visualization and representation into full embodiment of and discursive experiences with new information (p. 11).

A bridge to academic success
"When reading and writing, it’s just a bunch of words to you, but to act it out and feel it, to learn the idioms, language becomes more internalized.”
An embodied learning experience can be invaluable for students who are not well served by more traditional approaches to education, such as students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, those with little family stability, students in underserved schools, and others. In fact, there is research to suggest that some children-at-risk, particularly non-white students in urban areas, are kinesthetic learners (Evidence, p.10). For these students, dance has been shown to be a bridge to engagement and academic success. Even more, “Child development research has shown that all children are kinesthetic learners as infants and toddlers; movement is how they navigate and find their way into and through the world of objects According to Evidence “Dance builds on this deep-seated mode of learning, and can be an engaging and developmentally appropriate way to teach new academic content and skills” (p.10).

The AEMDD spotlight grantee in this newsletter exemplifies many of the ways dance education benefits students, especially those considered at-risk. As described in the spotlight, the DELLTA project engages English Language Learners in dance and theatre education to help them develop language skills in an authentic, expressive context.

In fact, an evaluation of the DELLTA project was reviewed in Evidence, which concluded that participating students “developed skills, strategies, and knowledge in theater and dance across cognitive, personal, and social domains that helped them become more literate human beings” (p. 29). Classroom teachers reported that a strong majority of the participants gained skills in theatre and dance, developed physical awareness and control, and added expressive qualities into their school work. Students also developed skills such as “motivation, perseverance/task-persistence, focus, ownership of learning, spatial awareness, self-confidence, and cooperative learning/collaboration” (Evidence, p 32). Dance and theatre provided an authentic context for English language acquisition and allowed students to embody the expressive capabilities of the language.

The DELLTA study included quantitative and qualitative evidence on the significant and substantial positive impact of this program. The qualitative evidence, particularly quotes from classroom teachers, may be the most compelling. Two of these quotes speak to the importance of movement and dance in the students’ language learning. “Dance transcends language barriers, and new immigrants were able to let physical expression speak for them” (Evidence, p. 29). The second goes further to affirm the importance of embodied learning in language acquisition: “When reading and writing, it’s just a bunch of words to you, but to act it out and feel it, to learn the idioms, language becomes more internalized” (p. 30).
The other grantee spotlighted in this newsletter, Project Elevate in Florida, is also a good example of the benefits of a dance program. As described in the spotlight article, Project Elevate uses movement and drama to teach students about Florida folktales and habitats. This project, like DELLTA, uses dance to create an embodied learning experience through which students gain content knowledge along with skills for expression and collaboration.

A community builder

Both of the projects featured in the grantee spotlights provide examples of how dance can improve students’ attitudes toward learning, encourage higher-order thinking, and foster expression, self-awareness, and independence. What’s more, they also show how dance can be an important tool for building community among students. The community-building capacity of dance education is built into each of the artistic processes. Students learn to work collaboratively when they create dance together, and when they learn and interpret other students’ choreography for performance. When performing a group piece, students work as an ensemble, moving together in time and space to create something that is larger than their individual performance. Through the responding process, students learn to think critically and dialogue thoughtfully as they provide feedback and insight on dance work. The connecting process provides a social, cultural, and historical context for dance, challenging students to see it not only as a tool for individual expression but also as in integral part of society.

By experiencing dance through the artistic processes, students develop critical 21st century skills such as collaboration, communication, and creativity, along with soft skills such as professionalism, responsibility, and interpersonal skills. In addition, research cited in Evidence from the fields of neuroscience and dance-movement therapy suggest that “well-mediated dance sessions in K-12 schools” can “benefit children in terms of emotional health, school readiness, conflict resolution, multicultural education, inclusion classrooms, and the affective domain” (pp. 41-42).  These factors all contribute to creating a positive impact on school culture, in which students are engaged in the learning process and prepared for workplace success.

Dance has been shown to have a positive impact on student achievement, teacher satisfaction, and school culture in the K-12 setting, according to studies reviewed in Evidence. Dance integration projects, such as those described in the spotlight articles, bring learning to life for students in an engaging, culturally relevant way that gets students invested in their education. Students learn to express themselves in productive and meaningful ways through the art of dance. Teaching dance through the artistic processes allows for multi-layered learning experiences, instilling 21st century skills and preparing students for college and the workforce. Research from the field of neuroscience suggests that embodied learning, including dance integration, allows for deep, lasting understanding of academic content that goes beyond rote memorization. Dance can be a critical tool for reaching and engaging underserved students, such as English language learners and children-at-risk. These students are often left behind by traditional teaching methods, and there is evidence that dance works to include, engage, and support their learning. By incorporating dance integrated learning into the curriculum, schools can work to close the achievement gap, build community among students, and improve school culture.

Shannon Dooling, MFA, is the Special Projects Coordinator for NDEO. Shannon is a dance artist, educator, advocate, and writer, and is active as a guest teacher, choreographer, adjudicator, and coach for studios, community programs, and dance companies. She has taught in K-12 schools, universities, and private studios.


Sousa, D. A. (2006, December). How the arts develop the young brain. Retrieved June 10, 2013. The School Administrator:

Bonbright, J., K. Bradley, and S. Dooling (2013). Evidence: A Report on the Impact of Dance in the K-12 Setting. National Dance Education Organization. Retrieved November 1, 2016:


Conceptual Framework. National Commission for Core Arts Standards. Retrieved 11/14/2016:

Project Elevate by Any Given Child Sarasota. Arts Education Sarasota Blog. Retrieved 11/21/2016 from

ArtsConnection’s Developing English Language Literacy through the Arts (DELLTA) Website.

In Focus: New National Standards for Dance Education

The National Standards for Arts Education have shaped the way schools teach the arts for over 20 years. To ensure that arts education continues to reflect cutting-edge research and best practices, the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) recently updated the standards for five arts disciplines. We talked about the new dance standards with Susan McGreevy-Nichols, executive director of the National Dance Education Organization.

Q: How are the new dance standards different than the National Standards in Arts Education released in 1994, and what was behind these changes?

A: The 1994 Dance Standards were designed to define what students should “know and be able to do,” by providing a thorough grounding in a basic body of knowledge and skills organized around 7 content standards, it established achievement expectations for students at the 4th, 8th, and 12th grade.

The major difference between the 2014 National Core Arts Standards in Dance and the 1994 Dance Standards is the basic structure. Instead of 7 content standards, the new standards are structured around the processes: Creating, Performing, Responding, and Connecting.  There is also a grade-by-grade progression of the dance specific performance standards.

Before beginning to write the standards, NCCAS investigated the format of standards across the nation and internationally through a study conducted by the College Board and found that many were organized around the artistic processes. Another deciding factor to structuring the 2014 standards around the processes was the 1997 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) Arts Education Assessment Framework that was based on the processes and therefore enabling a more authentic assessment of the 1994 standards.

Q: The new standards emphasize artistic processes—creating, performing, responding, and connecting—as drivers of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Can you describe these artistic processes, how they were selected, and talk about the thinking behind this approach?

A: The processes are defined as follows:
  • Creating ~ Conceiving and developing new artistic ideas and work.
  • Performing ~ Realizing artistic ideas and work through interpretation and presentation.
  • Responding ~ Understanding and evaluating how the arts convey meaning
  • Connecting ~ Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context.
These four processes identify the specific “thinking” that occurs when students engage in the artistic processes and seamlessly work together.  For example, in dance a student can view and analyze a historical piece of choreography (responding) that becomes an inspiration (connecting) for an original piece of student choreography; they rehearse and perform the piece for their peers (performing/responding) get/give feedback and make revisions (creating/responding) and finally reflect on their overall learning as a creator and performer (creating, performing, responding, connecting). Working with the processes versus a menu of technical skills, enables students and teachers to work in any genre and actually allow for greater flexibility in curricular choices.

Q: How do the new NCAS Dance Standards compare with 2005 Standards for Learning and Teaching Dance in the Arts? 

A: The NDEO 2005 Standards for Learning and Teaching Dance in the Arts are also structured around the processes and influenced much of the development of the 2014 standards. The 2005 standards are organized by the benchmark years of 4th grade (9-10 years), 8th grade (13-14 years), and 12th grade (17-18 years).They are more detailed and specific than the 2014 standards, and both can be helpful when used in tandem for developing curriculum.

Q: What are some examples of specific skills students in preschool, elementary, middle and high school will develop through the framework of the new dance standards?

A: The 2014 grade-by-grade performance standards in dance are organized under specific processes. Each process identifies components that shape a progression that guides students through the process.  “Strand components are subdivided further into lower-case letter performance standards that serve to guide areas of curriculum without dictating them. In the dance standards, each of the horizontal grade-by-grade progressions in the lower-case letter standards centers on a main idea. These Big Ideas (an Understanding by Design term coined by Wiggins and McTighe) are named as nouns”(Faber 2016). For example, creating has three process components: Explore, Plan, and Revise. Each of these components then has distinct strands (big ideas) of performance standards attached to it that progress PreK – 12. For example, the big idea in the process component Explore is a) Sources for Movement Ideas and b) Movement Generation and Development.

Q: To what extent do the new standards address integrating and/or connecting dance with other content areas, and how? To what extent do they focus on teaching dance on its own terms?

A: Best practice in integration bundles standards from various disciplines in authentic ways and provides students the opportunity to understand, produce student work, and meet standards in all the discipline involved. In addition to the Creating, Performing, and Responding processes, Connecting provides specific opportunities to integrate dance across the curriculum as expressed through the Anchor Standards 10 (synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art ) and 11 (relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding). For example, the performance standards under this process encourage students to research content in other disciplines to create dance works that provide evidence of their understanding of the non-arts content while also demonstrating understanding of specific dance content.

Q: How do the Model Cornerstone Assessments (MCAs) reflect the new standards, and what advice would you give to teachers seeking to use them to guide their instruction?

A: The Model Cornerstone Assessments (MCAs) are examples of how you can identify and bundle together multiple standards by designing student work that will be produced as evidence of meeting those standards. These performance assessments are embedded in instruction and therefore enhance instruction, not take away from it. Teachers should use them to create and implement their own versions of MCA’s based on their unique curricular needs. The MCA’s model best practice in standards –based instruction and assessment.

Q: What input did you solicit from teachers before publishing the new standards? How many states have adopted or adapted the dance standards?

A: In 2013, NCCAS began releasing draft copies of the standards for public review. During a series of three public reviews, the coalition received over 1.5 million comments from over 6000 reviewers, all of which were meticulously studied by research teams, with results driving revisions and edits. Focus groups were convened by the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE), the National Guild for Community Arts Education, Young Audiences Arts for Learning, The League of American Orchestras, and the Kennedy Center, among others, to provide additional commentary. NCCAS heard a clear message in the reviews of the early drafts: a call to simplify the standards, to reduce the number of standards materials, and a clear call for more unity among the disciplines. In response to the comments, writing teams returned to the drawing board and simplified the grade-by-grade standards, created large, overarching anchor standards that crossed disciplines and moved Understanding by Design elements into optional instructional support packages.”

At this time,15 states have adopted/adapted the National Core Arts Standards inclusive of the dance standards. Many other states have indicated that they have included adoption/adaptation in their standards development timelines.


Finding Joy in Dance

Students expressing themselves through movement.
Between the awkward growth spurts and complex social dynamics, middle school can be a challenging time for any student. Now imagine navigating the rocky terrain of adolescence, plus learning the core curriculum, in a non-native language. Across the country, middle-school English language learners (ELLs) are facing this challenge every day. But for students in 15 schools in New York City, they have an ally in ArtsConnection’s Developing English Language Literacy through the Arts (DELLTA) program. DELLTA, which received an AEMDD grant in 2014, offers ELLs the opportunity to express themselves through dance.

“ELL students often have a hard time communicating verbally, but dance offers an opportunity for students to express their thoughts with their bodies,” explained Carol Morgan, ArtsConnection’s deputy director for education and DELLTA project director. Indeed, a growing body of research shows that dance can serve as a bridge to language development by drawing a connection between physical movement and cognition. The DELLTA program builds on this connection through an inquiry-based model, which encourages students to construct and critique artistic work. “Our approach is to inspire students to think like artists,” said Morgan. “We are less interested in students getting the ’right’ answer than in helping them work through the creative process.”
Dance offers an opportunity for students to express their thoughts with their bodies." 
—Carol Morgan, ArtsConnection deputy director for education and DELLTA project director
DELLTA takes place once a week in ELL classrooms, with teaching artists, English Language Arts (ELA) and English as a New Language (ENL) teachers co-facilitating lessons. Teaching artists guide students through the artistic process, and lead them through standards-aligned topics such as space, expression, and emotions in dance; creating variation in choreography; and dance vocabulary. Learn more about one of ArtsConnection’s teaching artists, Kim Grier-Martinez, here

DELLTA students have opportunities to work together to choreograph dances and exchange peer feedback on their artistic choices. To facilitate students’ learning process, the project incorporates a variety of technological tools. Using iPads, students take photos and record their peers as they brainstorm, create, and rehearse. With the support of ELA and ENL teachers, students learn how to import photos and video footage, edit content, and self-reflect on video. According to Morgan, students’ interactions with this technology evolves as they better understand the artistic process. “At first, students want to delete practices or performances they don’t like, but over time they learn how important it is to see their progress,” said Morgan. “They learn that the creative process happens over time, and involves creative choices, feedback, revision, practice, and performance.”

The culminating product of DELLTA is a collaborative digital portfolio, which aims to tell a story about students’ learning processes, not merely to show polished artistic pieces. “The portfolios help the students think about how they are learning. What skills did they learn as they developed their dance? What conversations helped them improve? Our intention is for them to see their progress over time,” explained Morgan. By the end of the 2016-2017 school year, DELLTA will be ready to share the portfolio process and some student work through the ArtsConnection website.
Participating in dance through the DELLTA program opened up a whole new world to her. " 
—Carol Morgan, ArtsConnection deputy director for education and DELLTA project director
Although the student portfolios are not yet available, Morgan was able to share the story of one student who blossomed during her experience with the DELLTA program. The student was recent arrival from the Dominican Republic who spoke little English and had experienced interrupted formal education. “From the first day, she was a curious, interested student, but she had a difficult time expressing herself verbally,” recalled Morgan. “Participating in dance through the DELLTA program opened up a whole new world to her. Within six months, she was speaking English and volunteering to answer questions in other classes. Perhaps most importantly, she found her place in the social world of her classroom and school.” Watch here to see how other students have also built confidence, developed academic skills, and found joy in dance through the DELLTA program. 

Elevating Learning Through Dance

Dance improves students’ confidence and engagement.
Students in Florida are no strangers to turtles; it’s one of the perks of living in one of America’s sub-tropical climates. So when Jessica Oatman, the arts integration specialist for Sarasota County schools, was planning to incorporate dance into a 2nd grade science lesson, it was only natural that she feature many students’ favorite reptile: the turtle. In collaboration with the classroom teachers attending her professional development sessions on arts integration, Oatman and her colleagues developed a lesson plan using movement and dance to show how turtles interact and adapt to their habitat throughout their lifecycle. These professional development sessions are supported by Project Elevate, a 2014 PDAE grantee.

Project Elevate came about after years of partnering with the Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child program, which assists communities in developing and implementing a plan for expanded arts education in schools. Using the Kennedy Center’s Arts Integration Framework, Project Elevate harnesses the power of dance to support student learning in reading, math, and science. In its first year, Elevate targeted 2nd and 3rd grade teachers and students. Now in year two, the program has expanded to include 4th grade as well.
Rudolf Laban's 8 Effort Actions: wring, press, flick, dab, glide, float, punch, slashTo orient participating teachers on how to integrate dance into regular instruction, Oatman used modern dance pioneer Rudolf Laban’s model of human movement and “efforts” to show teachers how dance can be a language in itself. (Laban’s eight effort actions are simple and familiar verbs that are used to extend actors’ and dancers’ movement vocabulary and ability to play characters physically.) Project Elevate utilizes the model of gradual release; classroom teachers observe Oatman in the classroom, and then work alongside her to develop their own connections with academic content and movement. Check out a short video showcasing the program here.

Beyond the support teachers receive from the arts integration specialist, Project Elevate teachers engage in an arts-focused online professional learning community, posting and discussing lesson plans, and reflecting on previous lessons. Program staff report that after just one year of scaffolding and support, teachers have been inspired to try out art forms they hadn’t dabbled in before, reinvigorating their practice and instructional methods.
Teachers have been inspired to try out art forms they hadn’t dabbled in before, reinvigorating their practice and instructional methods.
Partnerships are also key to the overall success of Project Elevate. Teaching artists from the Kennedy Center host workshops for Elevate teachers a few times a year, modeling and discussing specific arts integration strategies. See Kennedy Center teaching artist Randy Barron in action here. At the local level, Project Elevate will soon host the Sarasota Contemporary Dance Company. Members of the company will perform and work alongside classroom teachers to teach them about various dance forms so that teachers can effectively develop movement-integrated units. Program Director Brian Hersh explains the importance of this background: “Before you can effectively integrate movement into the classroom, teachers need to see and understand the unique aspects of dance. We are continuing to bring in experts to spark ideas and provide context of different art forms for our teachers.”
Before you can effectively integrate movement into the classroom, teachers need to see and understand the unique aspects of dance. We are continuing to bring in experts to spark ideas and provide context of different art forms for our teachers."
—Brian Hersh, Project Elevate program director
Teachers are responding to these efforts. Last year, 94 percent of teachers participated in sustained and intensive professional development around arts integration, far exceeding the project’s target of 80 percent of teachers receiving this level of professional development. One reason for teachers’ sustained engagement may be students’ responses to the program. Although rigorous student data are not yet available, Elevate teachers have reported positive changes in students’ confidence and engagement, noting the arts can illuminate students’ unique strengths.

Students have been able to showcase their dance and theatre skills and content knowledge throughout the year in small–scale share outs, as well as in larger culminating performances for the entire school. Program manager Maria Schaedler-Luera emphasized the importance of process over product in these events: “The focus has always been on the process of art forms, not the final product. Oatman and classroom teachers are creating lesson plans with skills and content knowledge in mind. Rehearsals and performances are important, but the real key is the knowledge students are building and the process involved in obtaining that knowledge.”

Moving forward, Project Elevate will expand into 5th grade during the third year of its PDAE grant, training a new group of teachers in arts-integration strategies. Beyond the grade expansion, program staff and educators have already begun talking about the future of Project Elevate. In the words of Project Director Hersh, “We’re having conversations now about expanding the scale of what we’ve been able to do with Elevate. Our goal is continuous and sustained development for teachers, and observable outcomes in both arts and content area for students.”
Kennedy Center Resources
Looking for dance integration how-to’s and ideas for lessons, activities, and projects? Check out the Kennedy Center’s arts education website, ArtsEdge, and these suggested lessons  and classroom resources.
  • The Dance of the Butterfly (Grades K-2)
    This lesson uses dance and visual arts to teach students about butterfly biology. After reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar as a class, students examine photos of butterfly life cycles. Next, students work together on a graphic organizer demonstrating butterfly life cycle stages. Finally, students create and perform a dance about the life cycle of the butterfly.
  • Weather and Wind (Grade 5)
    This lesson introduces the expanding and condensing properties of air masses and the unequal heating of earth as the force behind the wind. Students write a report on a topic related to wind and weather patterns, and create a dance to demonstrate their understanding of weather patterns.
  • Systems of the Body: Movement and Choreography (Grades 6-8)
    In this lesson, students will create movement patterns that express information about the basic systems, organs, and processes of the human body. They work in pairs and in groups to make movement choices that communicate scientific concepts in creative movement, and make inquiries, through research and movement experimentation, into the ways in which the body's systems work and how those systems interact.
  • A recent article in EdWeek explores some successful models for investing in students’ creative capital. Utilizing the power of public-private partnerships, the cities of Seattle, Chicago, Dallas and Boston have all invested energy into expanding arts education for all young people. Read more about the approaches these cities took, and how other urban school districts can take similar action.
  • Can a schoolwide routine that includes morning dance parties and sing-alongs help students succeed? Staff and administrators at Weiner Elementary School in Arkansas certainly think so. After focusing on ways to create a sense of happiness among staff and students, Weiner has reported decreases in tardiness, increases in attendance, and a more solidified school community. Read more about recent findings on the importance of school climate, particularly as a way to bridge the achievement gap.
  • Thanks to a generous gift, a new generation of dance education leaders will have a unique opportunity to blossom. Judy Gottfried Arnhold and her husband John have donated $4.36 million to the Teachers College at Columbia University to establish a new doctoral program to train individuals who instruct dance teachers. The Arnholds’ ultimate goal? To place a certified dance teacher in every public school in New York City. Find out more on how this gift will impact the future of dance education.
  • Cobb County School District in Georgia has been awarded a 2017 Innovation Fund Implementation Grant in the amount of $652,492. The grant will support a program for K-3rd grade students that integrates arts into language and literacy instruction. Through a partnership with ArtsNow, the district will also provide professional development for teachers and forge partnerships with local artists.
  • State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE) and Public Consulting Group (PCG) have partnered to offer professional development to support teachers and students in arts education. Responding to the need for professional development on implementing the National Core Arts Standards, the partnership will provide visual, media and performing arts content in an online professional learning platform. Read more about the partnership here.
  • Second-grade students at William F. Halloran School No. 11 in Elizabeth, N.J., are participating in a 14-week Creative Movement Residency through Dance to Learn (DTL). In partnership with the local dance company 10 Hairy Legs, students are receiving weekly classes that encourage exploration of elements of dance while developing individual creativity and artistry.  DTL is an interdisciplinary dance curriculum aligned with the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) National Arts Standards in Dance. Read more about Dance to Learn here.
  • The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) recently announced the first projects funded through a new program, NEA Research Labs. The cross-sector projects are focused on drawing connections between the arts and positive outcomes in fields such as healthcare, education, business, and management.