To access Quick Links, visit our text-only version.

. Public Schools of North Carolina . . State Board of Education . . Department Of Public Instruction .

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

ARTS EDUCATION :: FAQ
  1. Who can I contact for questions related to arts education?

  2. How can I stay informed of current issues, events, opportunities, and resources in arts education?

  3. Is there a Standard Course of Study for Arts Education?

  4. How do the arts prepare Future-Ready Students for the 21st Century?

  5. 5. Is Arts Education defined in North Carolina's Basic Education Program (BEP), Public School Law 115C-81?

  6. Is honors credit available for arts education courses?

  7. Is there a graduation requirement for arts education?

  8. What are the requirements for a concentration in arts education in the Future-Ready Core?

  9. Is there an arts education requirement for the NC Scholars Program?

  10. Are the arts CORE ACADEMIC SUBJECTS under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act?

  11. Do all arts education teachers have to be highly qualified?

  12. What should students know and be able to do as the result of a comprehensive arts education?

  13. How do arts education programs support a balanced curriculum?

  14. Is there legislation related to Arts Education?

  15. What is a Comprehensive Arts Education?

  16. Is there a statewide vision for Arts Education?

  17. Do arts education programs need to be in place in our school?

  18. What research supports the benefits of arts education as part of a basic and balanced curriculum for all students?

  19. What resources are available to support arts education programs in the schools?

  20. What are some resources for professional development for arts educators?

 

1. Who can I contact for questions related to arts education?

Christie Lynch Ebert, Arts Education Consultant (Dance and Music) and NCDPI Liaison to the A+ Schools Program of the NC Arts Council
christie.lynchebert@dpi.nc.gov
919.807.3856
919.807.3823 (fax)

Slater Mapp, Arts Education Consultant (Theatre Arts and Visual Arts)
slater.mapp@dpi.nc.gov
919.807.3758
919.807.3823 (fax)

Brenda Wheat Whiteman, A+ Arts Education Specialist
brenda.whiteman@dpi.nc.gov
919.807.3820
(For information specifically related to the A+ Schools Program)

Mailing Address:
NC Department of Public Instruction
K-12 Programs: Arts Education
6349 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-6349

Street Address:
NC Department of Public Instruction
301 N. Wilmington Street
Raleigh, NC 27601

 

2. How can I stay informed of current issues, events, opportunities, and resources in arts education?

Join the arts education listserv to receive weekly updates from NCDPI. You may do so by emailing: join-artsed@lists.dpi.state.nc.us or by contacting christie.lynchebert@dpi.nc.gov .

You may also visit the North Carolina Arts Education Essential Standards wiki: http://ances.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/ for links to standards, resources, and instructional tools to support implementation of the NC Arts Education Essential Standards (2010).

 

3. Is there a Standard Course of Study for Arts Education?

Yes. The North Carolina General Assembly and State Board of Education require the Standard Course of Study ; moreover, they require that all areas of the Standard Course of Study should be taught.

Beginning in the 2012-13 School Year, the North Carolina Arts Education Essential Standards (approved by the NC State Board of Education in 2010) are required to be implemented as the Arts Education Standard Course of Study for NC school children. The essential standards are those skills, understandings and learning experiences that a student must master at each level in order to move to the next level. Essential standards are the "must have" goals of the curriculum that help teachers focus on the higher-order knowledge and skills that all students should master.

The North Carolina Arts Education Essential Standards communicate what students should know and be able to do as a result of instruction at each grade level (K-8) or proficiency level: beginning, intermediate, proficient, and advanced (9-12). The may be accessed online at: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/acre/standards/new-standards/#arts

Please visit the North Carolina Essential Standards wiki: http://ances.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/ for links to standards, resources, and instructional tools to support implementation of the NC Arts Education Essential Standards (2010).]

{ TOP }

4. How do the arts prepare Future-Ready Students for the 21st Century?

Arts Education programs address the State Board of Education Mission and Goals of preparing Future-Ready Students for the 21st Century. The guiding mission of the North Carolina State Board of Education is that "every public school student will graduate from high school, globally competitive for work and postsecondary education and prepared for life in the 21st Century."

Under the first goal of producing globally competitive students, the first bullet states that, "Every student excels in rigorous and relevant core curriculum that reflects what students need to know and demonstrate in a global 21st Century environment, including a mastery of languages, an appreciation of the arts, and competencies in the use of technology." The arts are recognized as core, academic subjects, and for their abilities in developing globally competitive students.

The North Carolina Essential Standards , including the standards for Arts Education, were filtered through the Framework for 21st Century Skills. Specifically, the following 21st century skills are taught as an inherent part of each of the arts education disciplines:

  • Thinking and working creatively (creating, elaborating on, refining, and evaluating original ideas; implementing originality and inventiveness; and demonstrating openness and responsiveness to new and diverse perspectives);
  • Implementing innovations and acting on creative ideas;
  • Reasoning, making judgments and decisions, and solving problems in both conventional and innovative ways;
  • Communicating in a variety of forms and contexts and for a range of purposes;
  • Collaborating effectively, respectfully, and flexibly with diverse teams to accomplish a goal; assuming shared responsibility and valuing contributions of each team member;
  • Accessing, evaluating, using, and managing information from a variety of sources with an understanding of ethical/legal issues;
  • Understanding media messages, influences, creation, interpretations, and purposes;
  • Applying technology tools effectively to research, organize, evaluate, access, manage, integrate, evaluate, create, and communicate information;
  • Applying life and career skills, including flexibility and adaptability; initiative and self-direction; social and cross-cultural skills; productivity and accountability; and leadership and responsibility.

Please visit: http://ances.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/21st+Century+Skills to access additional information and resources related to arts education and the Framework for 21st Century Skills.

 

5. Is Arts Education defined in North Carolina's Basic Education Program (BEP), Public School Law 115C-81?

Yes. The Basic Education Program (BEP), required by the General Assembly and adopted by the State Board of Education in 1985, describes a "program of instruction which is fundamentally complete and which would give the student a thorough grounding in these areas: arts education [dance, music, theatre arts, and visual arts], English language arts (communication skills), guidance, healthful living [health education and physical education], information skills and computer skills, mathematics, science, world languages, social studies and vocational [career-technical] education." (BEP, p1, 1994)

{ TOP }

6. Is honors credit available for arts education courses?

Yes, students in NC have been able to receive weighted credit for courses in arts education since 1994. State Board of Education Policy GCS-L-004 (revisions approved in March 2012), states under Item 3 of the policy that arts education courses will receive weighted (honors) credit of one point at the proficient and advanced levels. This revision aligns the policy with the NC Arts Education Essential Standards (2010) and NC Course Coding Structure.

Please visit: http://ances.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/Course+Coding+Structure to access the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document designed to provide guidance to school systems for alignment of the new standards with the course coding structure, proficiency levels, and honors policy.

{ TOP }

7. Is there a graduation requirement for arts education?

North Carolina high school students are expected to meet specific course and credit requirements in order to receive a high school diploma. These requirements differ depending on when students entered ninth grade for the first time. The Future-Ready Core Course of Study for Graduation Framework requires the following in regards to arts education:

6 Elective Units - Two electives must be any combination of Career Technical Education, Arts Education, or Second Language

Students are strongly encouraged to complete a 4-unit concentration, which may be completed in arts education.

Note: Some school systems (LEAs) have a local arts education requirement for high school graduation.

Visit: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/gradrequirements/ to view the NC Graduation requirements and resources for all subject areas.

 

8. What are the requirements for a concentration in arts education in the Future-Ready Core?

It is recommended that concentrations in the arts reflect a sequence of courses in an arts discipline to include at least one advanced level course. Courses beyond the intermediate level are considered advanced.

The completion of the concentration should lead to a culminating project or capstone experience which allows the student to demonstrate advanced skills in the arts discipline and which may also be used as part of a professional portfolio for entrance into institutions of higher education or a career in the arts. Examples of culminating projects include: producing a student-written play; choreographing a dance for a public performance; publishing and conducting a student-written musical composition; or, producing a student exhibition of original art.

Students may pursue other types of concentrations as determined at the local level. For example, a student interested in the music industry may complete a concentration that includes both music and business courses. It is a local (site-based) decision to determine what constitutes a concentration.

{ TOP }

9. Is there an arts education requirement for the NC Scholars Program?

Beginning with students who enter the ninth grade for the first time in or after 2009-2010, there is no specific arts education requirement. Students may choose to take elective credits constituting a concentration in arts education (or any other subject area) and may also take arts education electives in their junior and/or senior years which carry 5 or 6 points (such as honors, AP, or IB courses). Visit: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/curriculum/scholars to view the current Academic Scholar requirements, as adopted by the State Board of Education.

 

10. Are the arts CORE ACADEMIC SUBJECTS under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act?

Yes. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), formerly known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), which was signed into federal law in January 2002, defines core, academic subject areas as English, Reading/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Foreign Languages, Civics and Government, Economics, Arts, History, and Geography. Because the arts are core under NCLB, they are therefore eligible for Federal funding.

{ TOP }

11. Do all arts education teachers have to be highly qualified?

All teachers must meet North Carolina licensure requirements for the subjects that they teach. For licensure purposes, only Music and Visual Arts teachers must meet the Highly Qualified (HQ) rules in North Carolina. Dance and Theatre Arts teachers do not have to meet HQ rules according to NC's definition; however, dance and theatre arts teachers must meet NC licensure requirements .

 

12. What should students know and be able to do as the result of a comprehensive arts education?

Students should know and be able to do the following by the time they have completed secondary school:

  • communicate at a basic level in the four arts disciplines : dance, music, theatre arts, and visual arts. This includes knowledge and skills in the use of the basic vocabularies, materials, tools, techniques, and intellectual methods of each arts discipline;

  • communicate proficiently in at least one art form , including the ability to define and solve artistic problems with insight, reason, and technical proficiency;

  • develop and present basic analyses of works of art from structural, historical, and cultural perspectives. This includes the ability to understand and evaluate work in the various arts disciplines;

  • recognize and appreciate exemplary works of art from a variety of cultures and historical periods, and have a basic understanding of historical development in the arts disciplines, across the arts as a whole, and within cultures; and,

  • relate various arts concepts, skills, and processes within and across disciplines , which includes understanding the arts in relation to other subject areas and making connections in a variety of settings, in and outside of school. .

{ TOP }

13. How do arts education programs support a balanced curriculum?

A balanced curriculum reflects the philosophy and beliefs of educating the whole child, and enabling the child to take an active role in constructing meaning from his or her experiences. The Basic Education Plan (BEP) for the State of North Carolina was based on this philosophy. Though never fully funded nor implemented, the philosophy of the BEP holds true today. The BEP supports the premise that there is a common core of knowledge and skills which every child shall command when he or she graduates from high school. As stated in the BEP, "a basic program is not one-dimensional; indeed, it must address all aspects of a child's development, from kindergarten through high school, or else it cannot properly be termed basic... it does not encourage learning in one area over learning in another (BEP, 1994, p1). All areas, including arts education, are considered essential to learning in school and beyond.

For more information on the Balanced Curriculum initiative and resources, please visit the following links:

  • The Balanced Curriculum: A Guiding Document for Scheduling and Implementation of the NC Standard Course of Study at the Elementary Level
    This guiding document for elementary school focuses on the importance and value of delivering a well-rounded education which includes all areas of the Standard Course of Study.
    (pdf, 1.4mb | ppt, 860kb)

  • The Balanced Curriculum: A Guiding Document for Scheduling and Implementation of the NC Standard Course of Study in the Middle Grades
    This guiding document for the middle grades focuses on the importance and value of delivering a well-rounded education which includes all areas of the Standard Course of Study. The PowerPoint includes notes that can be used to provide an overview of the initiative and resulting document.
    (pdf, 70.4mb | ppt, 608kb)

 

14. Is there legislation related to Arts Education?

Yes, Public School Law 115-C-81, known as the Basic Education Program (BEP), was required by the General Assembly and adopted by the State Board of Education in 1985. The BEP includes the arts as part of a "program of instruction which is fundamentally complete."

Most recently, Senate Bill 724 , signed into law by the Governor on June 26, 2012, requires that pre-service elementary teachers and lateral entry teachers are prepared to "integrate arts education across the curriculum," as part of this wide-scale Act to Improve Public Education. This act was signed into law by the Governor on June 26, 2012, following the work of the House Bill 758 Arts Education Commission (2011-12) to prioritize and advance the work of a Comprehensive Arts Education.

This legislation aligns with the existing Teacher Education Specialty Standards for Elementary Grades Teacher Candidates (approved by the State Board of Education in January 2009), which requires elementary grades teacher candidates to have a general knowledge of the fundamentals of music, dance, theatre and/or visual arts and be able to integrate content areas with the arts to enhance classroom instruction and student learning.

Arts Integration is one of the three components of a Comprehensive Arts Education identified by the legislated Senate Bill 66 Task Force (2010-11) and the House Bill 758 Arts Education Commission (2011-12). The other two components include arts education (teaching the arts as core, academic subjects) and arts exposure (providing students with authentic arts experiences within and outside of school). The three components are inter-dependent.

Please visit: http://ances.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/Comprehensive+Arts+Ed+Plan to access information and links related to arts education legislation in North Carolina.

{ TOP }

15. What is a Comprehensive Arts Education?

Senate Bill 66 directed the State Board of Education to appoint a task force of members from the Department of Public Instruction and the Department of Cultural Resources to create a Comprehensive Arts Education Development Plan for the public schools of North Carolina. The Task Force was charged with:

  1. specifically considering policies to implement arts education in the public schools as defined in the existing Basic Education Program under G.S. 115C-81, to include:
    1. a requirement of arts education in grades K-5,
    2. availability of all four arts disciplines in grades 6-8, with students required to take at least one arts discipline each school year, and
    3. availability of electives in the arts at the high school level.
  2. considering a high school graduation requirement in the arts, and
  3. further considering development of the A+ Schools Program.

The Senate Bill 66 Comprehensive Arts Education Task Force recognized a Comprehensive Arts Education Plan to include the following three components:

  • Arts Education (arts as core, academic subjects)
  • Arts Integration (arts as a catalyst for learning across the curriculum)
  • Arts Exposure (exposure to arts experiences)

Visit: http://ances.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/S66+Comprehensive+Arts+Ed+Plan to read the entire Report and Implementation Plan of the S66 Comprehensive Arts Education Task Force.

{ TOP }

16. Is there a statewide vision for Arts Education?

Yes, the Senate Bill 66 Comprehensive Arts Education Task Force created the following Vision for Arts Education in North Carolina:

"In today's globally competitive world, innovative thinking and creativity are essential for all school children. High quality, standards-based instruction in the arts develops these skills and effectively engages, retains, and prepares future-ready students for graduation and success in an entrepreneurial economy. Dance, music, theatre arts, and visual arts, taught by licensed arts educators and integrated throughout the curriculum, are critical to North Carolina's 21st century education."

Visit: http://ances.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/S66+Comprehensive+Arts+Ed+Plan to read the entire Report and Implementation Plan of the S66 Comprehensive Arts Education Task Force, which were submitted to the NC General Assembly in December 2010 and March 2011, respectively.

{ TOP }

17. Do arts education programs need to be in place in our school?

Yes, the arts are core, academic subjects in the Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and the NC Basic Education Program (BEP), and, as such, are included as core subjects every student should learn as part of a balanced curriculum for all children in North Carolina. While not all students will become professional dancers, musicians, actors, or visual artists, all students will benefit from skills and processes that are developed through the arts and that can be applied in a variety of disciplines and settings. (Arts Education Preamble to the NC Arts Education Essential Standards, 2010). Arts Education is a collective term, referring to a comprehensive and sequential education in four separate and distinct disciplines: dance, music, theatre arts, and visual arts. The arts should be taught as part of a Basic Education Program by licensed, "highly qualified" arts education teachers as required by ESEA, in order to help students to develop proficiency and become literate in each of the arts disciplines.

The NC Arts Education Essential Standards (for dance, music, theatre arts and visual arts) have specific goals and objectives directly related to helping students make connections with the arts and other subject areas across the curriculum. These connections take place within the context of the study of each particular art form. In fact, it would be impossible to study any of the arts without making connections to other areas, as these areas are an integral part of creating, performing, responding to and understanding each of the arts disciplines. "Only when knowledge in the arts is linked with learning in the rest of the school curriculum does arts study become relevant and useful outside of the subject area itself, having ramifications for all learning and acting as a support and catalyst for learning across the curriculum." (Arts Education K-12: A State Perspective on Classroom Instruction, 1997, p. 3) Indeed, it is the responsibility and duty of every educator to help students see relationships to content areas throughout the curricula.

Finally, students should have multiple opportunities for exposure to the arts disciplines both within and outside of the school setting in real-world contexts. In-school programming by professional artists reinforces the arts standards, while showcasing career paths. Artists also provide a model of the discipline, skill, and perseverance required to achieve excellence. Off-site visits to art museums, theatre, or other arts venues demonstrate that the world outside school provides many opportunities to engage with the arts as part of a community of well-rounded citizens who value creativity. (Report to the General Assembly, Comprehensive Arts Education Plan, 2010).

 

18. What research supports the benefits of arts education as part of a basic and balanced curriculum for all students?

Note: The following points are taken from Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development. Critical Links was published by the Arts Education Partnership (AEP), a coalition of more than 100 national education, arts, business, and philanthropic organizations. AEP is administered by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies through a cooperative agreement with the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Department of Education.

Critical Links and other research studies point to strong relationships between learning in the arts and fundamental cognitive skills and capacities used in mastering other school subjects, including reading, writing and mathematics.

Of great importance to schools struggling to close achievement gaps are the indications that for certain populations students from economically disadvantaged circumstances and students needing remedial instruction - learning in the arts may be uniquely able to boost learning and achievement.

Reading and Language Development:

  • Certain forms of arts instruction enhance and complement basic reading instruction aimed at helping children "break the phonetic code" that unlocks written language by associating letters, words, and phrases with sounds, sentences and meanings. (Critical Links, 2002) .
  • Young children who engage in dramatic enactments of stories and text improve their reading comprehension, story understanding and ability to read new materials they have not seen before. The effects are even more significant for children from economically disadvantaged circumstances and those with reading difficulties in the early and middle grades. The studies suggest that for certain populations - students from economically disadvantaged circumstances, students needing remedial instruction, and young children - learning in the arts may be especially helpful in boosting learning and achievement. (Critical Links, 2002)
  • Arts learning experiences develop expressive and reflective skills that enhance writing proficiency. (Critical Links, 2002) .

Mathematics:

  • Music instruction develops spatial reasoning and spatial-temporal reasoning skills, which are fundamental to understanding and using mathematical ideas and concepts. (Critical Links, 2002) .

Fundamental Cognitive Skills and Capacities:

  • Learning in individual art forms as well as in multi-arts experiences engages and strengthens such fundamental cognitive capacities as spatial reasoning (the capacity for organizing and sequencing ideas); conditional reasoning (theorizing about outcomes and consequences); problem solving; and the components of creative thinking (originality, elaboration, flexibility). (Critical Links, 2002) .

Motivation to Learn:

  • Motivation and the attitudes and dispositions to pursue and sustain learning are essential to achievement. Learning in the arts nurtures these capacities, including active engagement, disciplined and sustained attention, persistence, and risk-taking, and increases attendance and educational aspirations (Critical Links, 2002).

Effective Social Behavior:

  • Studies of student learning experiences in drama, music, dance and multi-arts activities show student growth in self-confidence, self-control, self-identity, conflict resolution, collaboration, empathy and social tolerance. (Critical Links, 2002).

School Environment:

  • It is critical that a school provide a positive context for learning. Studies in this compendium show that the arts help to create the kind of learning environment that is conducive to teacher and student success by fostering teacher innovation, a positive professional culture, community engagement, increased student attendance and retention, effective instructional practice, and school identity. (Critical Links, 2002).

Critical Links stresses that not all of the studies demonstrate that instruction in the arts directly causes learning in another subject, but rather the cognitive skills and achievement motivations used and developed in the arts appear to be fundamental in other learning situations as well.


OTHER RESEARCH/POLICY:

  • Empirical evidence over the last 10+ years clearly indicates that arts involvement shows a consistent and significant correlation with higher SAT test results. Students in the arts scored an average of 82 points higher every year than their non-arts counterparts. Involvement in the arts goes hand-in-hand with better SAT scores, and the more years of involvement, the greater the gains. (The College Board, Profile of College-Bound Seniors National Report, 2002).
  • Students with more arts instruction have index scores averaging 20 points higher on measures of creative thinking, fluency, originality, and elaboration (Champions of Change, 1999).
  • Students who participate in the arts are: four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement; four times more likely to participate in a math and science fair; three times more often to be elected to class office within their schools; and three times more likely to win an award for school attendance (Champions of Change, 1999).
  • After learning eighth, quarter, half and whole notes, second and third graders scored 100% higher than their peers who were taught fractions using traditional methods (Neurological Research, 1999).
  • Whole-school reform initiatives that integrate the arts, such as the nationally recognized North Carolina A+ Schools Network, demonstrate: increased parental involvement; increased awareness of the curriculum; improved attitudes, attendance and behavior of students; increased student enthusiasm for school and learning; greater willingness of teachers to implement strategies to improve student achievement; greater collaboration among teachers; increased partnerships among schools and resources in the community; increased motivation of teachers and students; and richer and more educationally substantive assessment of students. (A+ Schools Program Executive Summary, 2000).
  • Brain scans taken during musical performances show that virtually the entire cerebral cortex (central processing area of the brain) is active while musicians are performing. Almost every system of the brain is at work simultaneously during a musical performance. (Weinberger, 1998).
  • The arts can provide effective learning opportunities to the general student population, yielding increased academic performance, reduced absenteeism, and better skill-building. For at risk youth, the arts contribute to lower recidivism rates; increased self-esteem; the acquisition of job skills; and the development of much needed creative thinking, problem solving and communication skills - skills that are critical to the workforce (NGA Center for Best Practices, Issue Brief, May 2002).
  • Nationally, the non-profit arts industry is a $36 billion business that support 1.3 million full-time jobs. The arts are emerging as a potent force in the economic life of cities and rural areas nationwide and assuming an important role as a direct and indirect contributor to state economies (NGA Center for Best Practices Issue Brief, June 2001).

Numerous studies point toward a consistent and positive correlation between a substantive education in the arts and student achievement in other subjects and on standardized tests. A comprehensive, articulated arts education program engages students and helps them develop the self-esteem, self-discipline, cooperation, and self-motivation necessary for success in school and in life.

{ TOP }

19. What resources are available to support arts education programs in the schools?

The following online resources may be helpful in providing tools and links to support arts education programs:

{ TOP }

20. What are some resources for professional development for arts educators?

If they have not already done so, arts educators may wish to join one or more of the arts education professional associations at the state and/or national levels:

{ TOP }