For 30 years I have been coming into OUSD schools and seeing the inspiring work of the performing arts teachers who create an atmosphere that keeps students engaged in school as a whole. At the Oakland Symphony we support them completely.
Michael Morgan, Oakland, CA, United States
2 years ago
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We, the parents in OUSD, ask that the district consider actively supporting the visual and performing arts during their planning for school re-openings. The benefits that the arts bring to Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) are well documented (see list of links below). Consequently, we the parents, ask that any planning for a return to schools in August must involve and support the performing and visual arts to achieve the goal of providing robust SEL. We request that planning meetings invite visual and performing arts teachers, leaders and parents that support the arts in the district to be principal stakeholders and part of the planning. We, as parents committed to Oakland Public Schools, know that students of all ages benefit long term from incorporating the visual and performing arts as part of their education. Multiple studies have shown that the visual and performing arts bring improved Academic performances Academic testing Reading comprehension Attendance Culture and climate Self-esteem Other states are working toward state-wide frameworks that include the arts expansively in their future plans. “The Arts Education & Social and Emotional Learning Framework shows beyond any doubt that arts education provides students with opportunities to exercise their SEL skills,” stated Dr. Maurice Elias, professor of psychology at Rutgers University and director of the Rutgers Social-Emotional and Character Development Lab who served as a co-chair of the SEL and Arts Education Taskforce that developed the framework. (CISION) Our visual and performing arts teachers pivoted in a few short weeks in March to new modes of learning and have put incredible effort in providing and maintaining ties to their students during the last 3 months of the school year. We ask that you recognize and support the extraordinary effort, and that you avail the district of their innate leadership and commitment in this moment to address the SEL needs that are looming ahead, and for which the arts are uniquely predisposed. Much of visual and, in particular performing, arts’ funding in the past are the product of large performances for schools and communities where talents are showcased. Those venues will not be available to any of the programs in the coming months. We must find creative ways to support the programs and value their contribution to the students’ lives as they return to school while also showing the financial support that such recognition entails. Performing Arts Links: Benefits of Theater Education Advancing Dance Education in the Arts Supporting Music Education during COVID-19 and California Music Education Association