Reaching Youth on the Edge: Portland’s PlayWrite releases new research on the powerful benefits of arts access

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• Emotion symptoms: including anxiety, somatic complaints, depression

• Anger Dysregulation: culturally inappropriate (i.e. disruptive or destructive) emotional expression of anger and irritability (e.g., tantrums)

In addition, follow up with students themselves reavealed that their ability to manage and control impulses improved. These improvements in psychosocial measures lead to better integration into the larger community and enhance leadership qualities.

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As Portland’s schools and communities continue seeking ways to support our youth, particularly those at high risk of drop-out and disengagement, it is more important than ever to increase access to the arts through ground-breaking organizations like PlayWrite.

Arts Education & Access Fund

Your Advocacy Makes a Difference

Last November, Portland voters overwhelmingly supported the establishment of the Arts Education & Access Fund to restore arts teachers to every Portland elementary school and increase access to the arts citywide. Please join us in advocating that Portland City Council act quickly and thoughtfully to shore up and secure Portland’s new Arts Tax. We want to ensure that it is successfully and efficiently collected and distributed to the classrooms and communities that it was designed to reach. E-mail Portland City Council today and share your perspective on the importance of honoring the will of the voters and investing our tax dollars in arts education and access:

Mayor Charlie Hales         Commissioner Nick Fish         Commissioner Amanda Fritz         Commissioner Steve Novick         Commissioner Dan Saltzman

Reaching and Teaching the Whole Child:  Music Education at Portland’s David Douglas School District

Among the hundreds of parents, teachers, artists and arts organization leaders who have advocated tirelessly for the establishment of the Arts Education & Access Fund is David Douglas School District Elementary Music Teacher, Val Ellett. Val’s personal story is a powerful example of how much we can accomplish by making music and the arts part of the core curriculum in our schools – as the David Douglas School District has done. And her words remind us why it is so critical that we  continue advocating to ensure that the Arts Education & Access Fund reaches every classroom and community that it was intended to serve.

Val Ellett

My name is Val Ellett, and I am a general music K-5 teacher in the David Douglas school district. I have been teaching music for 17 years. I am also on the board of the Oregon Music Education Association and a performing member of The Portland Wind Symphony.

David Douglas school district is located in southeast Portland and serves over 10,000 students in grades K through 12. Of these students, nearly 24 percent are English language learners. At last count, our district had about 76 different languages spoken. We also have a very high population of students who receive free or reduced lunch, title one services, and other medical and social services.

David Douglas has always maintained a strong commitment to music education. We’ve created and maintained a district‐wide common music curriculum and assessments, which hold true to the National Association for Music Education’s guidelines that music education is a core subject area not “an extra”.

In my own school, there is a very diverse population of student needs. We have students who are learning the English language and students who function in music classes despite facing challenging issues like as autism, spinal injuries, birth defects, diabetes, attention deficit disorder, depression, blindness, and even homelessness. Yet, every single day I get the joy of seeing these students come into my classroom and all of the world fades away while they get to experience, and learn, and do music. Music is the great equalizer.

Every child in every elementary school in Portland can be engaged in this same way. They can be singing, playing instruments, moving to music, reading and writing music, composing and arranging music (yes, even in kindergarten!), analyzing and critiquing music, and experiencing music from many different cultures and time periods.

As I plan my lessons every day, I insure daily opportunities for students to reinforce language and literacy skills and reinforce basic math skills. My music lessons often help connect the two sides of the brain and provides sensory experiences to help improve both fine and gross motor control. I offer opportunities to increase listening skills, develop historical and cultural background knowledge, and foster cooperation and teamwork.

Two months ago, I had a mom email me, telling me that her son (who was new to our school) was struggling with wanting to go to school. She told me something amazing… on the days that he had music class, he lit up, and jumped out of bed, and was delighted to got to school  that day. For certain, music class helps provide disconnected kids get a connection to school and learning because elementary music teachers are the whole school’s teacher.

Over the years, I figure I’ve taught music to over 10,000  students. If it weren’t for the continued funding to keep music education a part of their core curriculum, that would be ten thousand kids who may never have found their voice through music education.

There are about that same amount of students in Portland who would so greatly benefit from having music taught to them as part of their core curriculum.

We need to teach to the whole child.

We need to think about our future, and we need to catch up with what the rest of the world already knows.

I believe that music and the arts are the most powerful force a community can invest in.

Arts Education & Access FundYour Advocacy Makes a Difference

Last November, Portland voters overwhelmingly supported the establishment of the Arts Education & Access Fund to restore arts teachers to every Portland elementary school and increase access to the arts citywide. Please join us in advocating that Portland City Council act quickly and thoughtfully to shore up and secure Portland’s new Arts Tax. We want to ensure that it is successfully and efficiently collected and distributed to the classrooms and communities that it was designed to reach. E-mail Portland City Council today and share your perspective on the importance of honoring the will of the voters and investing our tax dollars in arts education and access:

Mayor Charlie Hales         Commissioner Nick Fish         Commissioner Amanda Fritz         Commissioner Steve Novick         Commissioner Dan Saltzman

Teach me by Lauren Steele

On June 27, 2012, Portland City Council unanimously voted to refer the Arts Education & Access Fund to the ballot for voter approval. Before the vote to refer, hundreds of citizens gathered outside City Hall and in Council Chambers to urge City Council to restore access to the arts in Portland’s classrooms and communities. Many of the testimonials were awe-inspiring but this spoken word performance by Jefferson High School student Lauren Steele was simply unforgettable. Lauren’s words remind us why Portland voted to enact this groundbreaking new fund. And why it is so critical that we continue advocating to ensure that the Arts Education & Access Fund reaches every classroom and community that it was intended to serve.

Lauren Steele

I bang on these tables and I spit to the beat / Knowing this is the only place art and education meet / This space between my palms and this graffitied up desk / Is where dozens of lost talents have been laid to rest

Books raggedy and torn barely serving any use / The seams of our school system are slowly coming loose / Disturbingly vacant band rooms ringing with music unplayed / Wood rotted dance studios dances unmade

Shake your head at our generation for we will do nothing great / Street corners and welfare offices hold our fate / Minority schools living up to the way you display them / Sports scholarships the only way / But ain’t no money to play them

Headphones hidden under hoodies disguising our creative fix / Lord knows real life and school life ain’t never supposed to mix / Private schools snickering at our illiteracy and test scores / Fueling a fire of insecurity / Trust me I want to know more

Teach me / Understand my troubles try to reach me / Teach me / Take these inaccuracies out my speech please / The right to education is to each, see / Teach me

You can’t leave our education in the hands of a few few folks with degrees / We are all perfectly capable of achieving what this system needs / I’m tired of artless, colorless schools same syllabus every year / Don’t support your future leaders and your future is unclear

Your answers to worldly crises could lie in this city / There are young potential heroes in need of more than just your pity / So Im’a stand up here in hopes of contributing to this fight / Cause maybe with a little help, our generation will get it right

–Lauren Steele

Watch and listen to Lauren read her poem here.

 

Arts Education & Access Fund

Your Advocacy Makes a Difference

Last November, Portland voters overwhelmingly supported the establishment of the Arts Education & Access Fund to restore arts teachers to every Portland elementary school and increase access to the arts citywide. Please join us in advocating that Portland City Council act quickly and thoughtfully to shore up and secure Portland’s new Arts Tax. We want to ensure that it is successfully and efficiently collected and distributed to the classrooms and communities that it was designed to reach. E-mail Portland City Council today and share your perspective on the importance of honoring the will of the voters and investing our tax dollars in arts education and access:

Mayor Charlie Hales         Commissioner Nick Fish         Commissioner Amanda Fritz         Commissioner Steve Novick         Commissioner Dan Saltzman

Preparing Students for the Next America:  The Benefits of An Arts Education

In April, the Creative Advocacy Network participated in the Arts Education Partnership’s (AEP) national forum in Washington, D.C. where we learned from and shared ideas with the nation’s foremost leaders in arts education.  A highlight was Boston Public Schools Superintendent Carol Johnson, who said: “Arts alone can’t transform public schools, but there are no great schools without great arts programs.”

The AEP is dedicated to securing a high-quality arts education for every young person in America and, at the forum, they released a research brief that highlights and summarizes how the arts support achievement in our schools, develop skills for a 21st century workforce, and enrich the lives of our children and our communities.  Below is an abridged version – please see the full report to read more.

Preparing Students for the Next America

The arts prepare students for success in school.

Arts instruction and arts integrated instruction – lessons teaching skills and content of an art and non-art subject in tandem – engage students and increase learning and achievement.  Arts education:

  • Boosts literacy and English Language Arts (ELA) skills. Arts education helps students become better readers and writers.
  • Advances math achievement. Students who study the arts, especially music, outperform their non-arts peers on mathematics assessments.
  • Engages students in school and motivates them to learn.  Arts education helps make learning matter to students by giving them a medium to connect new knowledge to personal experiences and express what they have learned to others.
  • Develops critical thinking. In a world where students must frequently wade through a sea of information to determine which facts are trustworthy and relevant to a particular topic, critical thinking skills are key to college readiness and lifelong learning.
  • Improves school culture. Arts education helps foster a positive culture and climate in schools.

The arts prepare students for success in work.

  • Arts education develops thinking skills and capacities key to success in the 21st Century workforce.  Arts education:
  • Equips students to be creative. Arts education develops creativity, one fo the top five skills employers prize for the 21st Century.
  • Strengthens problem solving ability. The arts develop reasoning skills that prepare students to solve problems.
  • Builds collaboration and communication skills. In the arts, students learn to articulate their intentions, receive and offer constructive criticism, and listen actively to others’ ideas.
  • Increases capacity for leadership. Students who participate in the arts develop leadership skills, including decision-making, strategy building, planning, and reflection.

The arts prepare students for success in life.

  • Arts education prepares students to engage meaningfully in their communities.  Arts education:
  • Strengthen perseverance. Arts education develops students’ capacity to persist in the face of a challenge.
  • Facilitates cross-cultural understanding. Arts experiences foster pro-social behaviors and social tolerance that help prepare students for life in an increasingly global and culturally diverse world.
  • Builds community and supports civic engagement. Arts programs foster a sense of community among participants that support their personal, artistic, civic, and social development.
  • Fosters a creative community. Students who study the arts in their school years are more likely to engage with the arts in later life as consumers, performers, or creators than their peers who receive no arts education.

Stay informed. Connect with Others. Get Involved. Tie it all together.

Arts Education & Access Fund

Your Advocacy Makes a Difference

Last November, Portland voters overwhelmingly supported the establishment of the Arts Education & Access Fund to restore arts teachers to every Portland elementary school and increase access to the arts citywide. Please join us in advocating that Portland City Council act quickly and thoughtfully to shore up and secure Portland’s new Arts Tax. We want to ensure that it is successfully and efficiently collected and distributed to the classrooms and communities that it was designed to reach. E-mail Portland City Council today and share your perspective on the importance of honoring the will of the voters and investing our tax dollars in arts education and access:

Mayor Charlie Hales         Commissioner Nick Fish         Commissioner Amanda Fritz         Commissioner Steve Novick         Commissioner Dan Saltzman