7/19/17 Statement from Joe Yorio, School Specialty CEO:
“This article is not indicative of how we think and absolutely did not properly convey the message the writer was trying to get across. I think the writer’s intent was to say that because art is so important to students, if schools don’t have budgets for art programs, after school art classes might be beneficial. However, that message did not come across properly.
Art most definitely should be a part of 21st Century Education as it is a core component of our 21st Century Safe School value proposition. Art promotes creativity, inquisitiveness and personal growth while strengthening mental, physical and emotional health and wellness. It is a critical component of any well rounded student’s curriculum and a valuable element of cultural and emotional awareness and growth.”
Research proves that art education increases social skills, betters the school community, and elevates test scores, all while reducing dropout rates, so it’s no wonder that many schools are scrambling to save their threatened arts programs.
While budgets may not allow for full-time art teachers or art as a core subject, some schools are getting creative. We read about a school that is considering offering art classes after regular school hours, the same way schools execute sports programs and other non-curricular programs.
Also paralleling those types of programs, an after school art class could utilize current district staff to teach the classes if a full-time art teacher is not an affordable option. Volunteer artists from the community are another option for instructors, with subject matter left to the discretion and expertise of the artist/teacher (within the limits of school standards, of course). Instructors could be paid at a similar rate to coaches, which is a far smaller sum than a full-time teaching salary. Depending on budgets, class participants could be asked to contribute a supplies fee, if art supplies are not covered.
Many current after school programs operate with as few as 8-10 student participants, but an after-school art program would likely require a cap to be compliant with current student/teacher ratios. Depending on interest, the class could be offered several times a week to different groups of students or at different schools. Course work would be graded, like any other course, with students receiving class credit for passing grades.