The combined observance in March of “Music in our Schools Month” and “Youth Art Month” emphasizes the importance of the arts in the Public Schools of Robeson County. A knowledge of the arts produces a more well-rounded graduate.
The mission of the arts education program is to develop artistic literacy in the areas of general music, vocal music, instrumental music , theater, dance, and the visual arts. Further, the mission is to develop artistic excellence in the resulting performances and products. We know the mission is being accomplished because our students are producing many successful programs in the arts department.
It’s important to note that the arts education curriculum is based on the national standards of discipline-based arts education, which requires equal attention for history, aesthetics, criticism, and performance/product for each arts discipline. It is guided by the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. Arts education programming supports and integrates all areas of the curriculum through reading, writing, and mathematical teaching methods and strategies, emphasizing the importance of the latter to the success of the former. This results in a comprehensive and balanced curriculum for all students regardless of a student’s background, talent or special needs.
Arts education students in K-12 have been shown to excel on the local, state and national competition stage while at the same time succeeding academically. There is evidence that participation in the arts program has had positive effects on standardized test scores, as well as school performance and self-esteem. Also, because of the necessity of being present during rehearsals and performances of various programs, attendance of participants is also positively affected.
Some of the programs, which students can participate in, depending on their interests and, possibly, their talent, include the dance , theater and choral showcases, as well as all county chorus, and all county band. These programs allow students from across the county to perform together in ways that would not have been possible without the existence of the arts program. Students can also participate in the Children’s Theater and Studio One. While the former, obviously, is restricted by age, the latter allows all students, regardless of age, to be a part of the program.
Beyond the opportunity that arts students have to participate in programs for which they have special interest or talent, another advantage the arts provide is that students are helped to learn and become proficient in modern-day skills.
So, as we observe “Music in our Schools Month” and “Youth Art Month”, we should be aware of the value of our Arts Program to the overall education of our students.