In March, the NJ State Policy Pilot Program (SP3) team visited Washington, D.C. for the bi-annual cohort meeting of the participating 10 states. This program, funded by Americans for the Arts (AFTA), is a three-year pilot program to strengthen arts education by advancing state policy. In addition to New Jersey, the states participating are: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Wyoming.
The focus of the NJ project is the ArtsEdNow campaign and the survey created to capture the knowledge of and involvement in the arts and arts education for the candidates running for school board.
Our NJ team has been noted for its strength and breadth and includes: Nick Paleologos and Robin Middleman of the NJ State Council on the Arts, Dale Schmid of the NJ Department of Education, Wendy Liscow of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Mary Reece of the Foundation for Educational Administration, Ann Marie Miller of ArtPride NJ, Danielle Farrie of the Education Law Center and the NJAEP.
The recent meeting in Washington marked the halfway point of the project. The gathering allowed the NJ team to spend time with Ennis Carter of Social Impact Studios to plan for the launch of the ArtsEdNow campaign. We also met with the AFTA evaluators – who continue to be impressed by the accomplishments of the NJ project. However, as we have found in the past, the greatest benefit of these gatherings is the opportunity to share and learn from the other cohort states. The NJ team spent several hours meeting with members from the California team to learn about the STEAM initiative in their state. From their experience we learned of other state models and best practices to bring to our work in NJ. This gave us priceless information from the folks who have been doing the work – an invaluable afternoon. We look forward to continuing to share our work with the other states and will continue to reach out to others to strengthen arts education here is NJ.
An outgrowth of the SP3 works happens on April 11 at NJ Principals and Supervisors Association. The professional development session – Achieving Title 1 Goals: The Role of Arts Education includes – Laura Smyth, Lead Consultant, Title 1 Initiative, California Alliance for Arts Education. The connections we made through SP3 brings California’s work to NJ to inform administrators on how arts education can be an asset to schools receiving Title 1 funds. Studies find that integrating the arts with instruction in other academic subjects increases student learning and achievement and helps teachers more effectively meet the needs of all students.
We are excited to have made this connection between California and NJ and will continue to connect with the other SP3 states as the project moves to the next phase.