We have a Virginia Coalition for Fine Arts Education (VCFAE) call to ACTION ALERT that we need to address. In the face of uncertain plans for the Fall of 2020, we must keep speaking up about the importance of music and arts education. If we don't advocate and bring potential solutions to the table, this will have devastating consequences for music education. Please encourage parents, educators, and communities to advocate for our children having a well-rounded education in the Fall and beyond that includes music and the arts.
We know that fine and performing arts teachers can and will rise to the challenges presented by any social distancing requirements communicated by the Governor and the Department of Health that could be in place for schools at reopening. There is no reason to cancel arts classes at any level.
WHAT TO DO:
The "Commonwealth Learning Partnership" has the ear of our state leadership. This is a critical first step for our voices to be heard at the state level!
Use the link below to contribute to conversations around Virginia's plans for Fall 2020.
Please encourage music educators, parents, students, and community members to complete this survey as soon as possible.
Share with boosters groups and post on social media as appropriate to spread the word. Feel free to use the following information, or information from their local plans that have the potential for adverse effects on music education. Be sure to keep your message positive and upbeat!
- Encourage state leaders/supervisors to check their state codes for guidance. For example, the Code of Virginia requires that the fine arts be part of the instructional program in elementary, middle, and high school. Encourage state leaders NOT to waive this requirement. This should help us keep the arts alive in schools even as it WILL look different going forward.
- All of our arts courses K-12, including large ensemble classes like chorus, orchestra, and band, CAN be taught in distance-learning and blended-learning scenarios and do not need to be cancelled. Even though they may not be holding performances, our state standards can be achieved through multiple modes of instruction, including virtual instruction and distance learning.
- Art, music, dance and theatre classes rely heavily on developing skills, technique, and expression in sequential instruction. Students on college and career tracks in the arts need to continue developing skills and aptitudes provided by their arts teacher.
- The fine arts are a natural fit with social and emotional learning (SEL). While arts teachers are not counselors, they are uniquely suited to help students implement SEL competencies like the
CASEL standards. The arts allow for the respect of individual student voice and choice, within the social nature of fine arts courses. In addition, they form multi-year relationships with students, establishing trust over those years.
- The continuation of arts education is important to students in a time where they have little control of so many things in their life. The arts are essential to their personal balance and mental health.
- VDOE has a Fine Arts Coordinator with a background in online arts instruction who is prepared to provide support and professional learning for virtual fine arts instruction if support is needed by school divisions
- When considering the future of music instruction in the age of COVID-19, please focus on what we CAN do and not lament on what is gone from the norm. We CAN share our love for arts. We CAN reach out to students through the technology at our fingertips. We CAN teach the fine and performing arts to all students K-12. In the performing arts, we CAN remind students that what each individual brings to an ensemble makes the entire ensemble better. After all, an ensemble is a compilation of actions that we make individually as we strive to become one. One sound, one production, or a piece art. Let us embrace personalized learning to grow our students individually. We CAN do this.
If the format is too constrictive for your thoughts, consider writing directly to the decision makers. To contact a member of the Virginia Board of Education,
please email BOE@doe.virginia.gov
- Dr. Daniel A. Gecker, President
- Mrs. Diane T. Atkinson, Vice President
- Mrs. Pamela Davis-Vaught
- Dr. Francisco Duran
- Mrs. Anne B. Holton
- Dr. Tammy Mann
- Dr. Keisha Pexton
- Dr. Jamelle S. Wilson
- Dr. James F. Lane, Superintendent of Public Instruction