Well, of course. Unfortunately, that answer is not widely known or embraced among the policy elites. That’s part of our job as advocates.
Middle School 223, once shuttered as one of the most violent middle schools in New York City, was reopened in 2003 as M.S. 223/The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology. Today, Principal Ramon Gonzalez says attendance is about 4 percent higher than at any middle school in the area. Meanwhile, test scores have risen from an 8 or 9 percent competency in reading and math to a whopping 65 percent of students on grade level for math and 40 percent for English language arts. And Gonzalez credits a large part of this success to the school’s robust arts program.
Here is another:
“Dance is a way to get kids involved in the school,” he explains. “It
immediately affects attendance, and that immediately affects test
scores.” When the educators at M.S. 223 realized that arts classes were
such a draw, they began scheduling them on days when attendance was
typically low. This led to a wholesale change in philosophy. “Before,
we saw [arts and academics] as mutually exclusive, and now we see
things differently,” says Gonzalez.
In a time where the curriculum is being narrowed, here is one principal doing the exact opposite: he takes away from test prep to schedule the arts.
N.B. Full disclosure, both of the schools in this article are partners with CAE…