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Don't cut funding of Ballard High School drama program

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Dear Mr. Wynkoop and board members:  

I recently learned that you are considering cutting funding from the Drama program out of the 2014/2015 budget--what would equate to a semester of drama.  As a BHS parent with a student involved in drama and the performing arts, I urge you to reconsider your decision to cut funding. Through drama, my son/daughter, has had the opportunity to not just perform as an actor in a play or musical, but has learned important life skills that he/she would not have learned if it weren't for the passion, dedication and quality teaching that Mr. Shawn Riley has provided our children.  My son/daughter has learned valuable leadership skills, how to collaborate with a diverse team, public speaking, and he/she has built high self-esteem and confidence--all through a fun, empowering, and safe learning environment. 

Aside from these personal reasons, there are countless studies and compelling data that illustrate the reason to continue funding our drama program:

- Students who participate in drama and performing arts score higher on reading comprehension standardized tests.

- According to the College Board, students involved in drama performance coursework or experience outscored non-arts students on the SAT by an average of 65 points in the verbal component and 34 points in the math component.

- Researchers find that sustained learning in music and theatre correlates strongly with higher achievement in both math and reading.

- Drama helps to improve school attendance and reduce high school dropout rates (N. Barry, J. Taylor, and Kwalls, "The Role of the Fine and Performing Arts in High School Dropout Prevention,”

- Arts and music education programs are mandatory in countries that rank consistently among the highest for math and science test scores, like Japan, Hungary, and the Netherlands.

Furthermore, cutting the drama program would have the following effects:

- Fewer students attending a drama course, means fewer students auditioning for BHS plays and musicals.This is critical if we are to grow our performing arts program and continue to be an award-winning program. We've seen the impact these productions have had on the Ballard community--instilling a sense of pride for alumni and non-alumni alike.

- UC universities require a full year of performing arts in the same subject.  By cutting a drama class, students have fewer options that would allow them to meet the UC system requirements.

- Cutting a drama class sets a bad precedent for future cuts for the arts at BHS. This would result in losing our most qualified and talented teachers and erode the success of the Performing Arts program that has been built over the years.

- If fewer students are involved in drama, there are fewer parents that have the opportunity to get involved in the Performing Arts Booster, helping to raise funds to keep the program sustainable.

Again, I urge you not to cut the drama program--ensuring that the award-winning Ballard High School Performing Arts program continues to provide valuable skills to our students while instilling pride in our community.  

Sincerely,

Concerned Parents, Students and Teachers of Ballard High School  



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