Did you learn to sing, play an instrument, draw, or dance in school?
If you’re like many Americans, you received arts programming in middle and high school as part of your required curriculum. Unfortunately, according to the National Endowment for the Arts, arts programming is on the decline. Some educators attribute the drop in arts education to a focus on standardized tests, which only measure achievement in core subjects. As the cliché goes, “What gets measured gets done.”
However, that may now change. In a groundbreaking, large-scale study, The Brookings Institution found that arts education matters. After analyzing 42 schools, researchers found that “a substantial increase in arts educational experiences has remarkable impacts on students’ academic, social, and emotional outcomes.”
At SEED Miami, we support our students by helping them to discover new talents and to deepen their interests through our Sparks program, a component of our Student Life curriculum. From robotics to drama, from origami and comic art to fitness, SEED Miami is providing students with programming and experiences to broaden their knowledge of the world and of themselves.
For the past five years, our students have attended Alvin Ailey performances and workshops and have enrolled in AileyCamp—a full-scholarship, six-week summer program featuring a variety of dance styles and classes, along with workshops on critical thinking, conflict resolution, and creative communication. Earlier this year, the SEED Miami Sparks program partnered with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater to offer our students a safe and artistic environment in which to take dance classes.
Most recently, Robert Battle, artistic director at Alvin Ailey, visited the students at SEED Miami and spoke about his journey through college and his path to becoming a dancer. During the question-and-answer session with Mr. Battle, students asked, “At what age did you first know that you wanted to become a dancer?” and “What advice would you give me if I was interested in someday being a principal dancer?”
At SEED, we see the real, positive impact of arts education on our students every day. It’s exciting to now have the data to back up what we know.
Thank you for your support of Sparks and for helping our students take the leap to becoming our next generation of creative thinkers, collaborators, and problem solvers!
To learn more about the Sparks program at SEED Miami, click here.