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Meeting of the Board of Regents | June 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - 11:40pm

  sed seal                                                                                                 




EMSC  Committee


John B. King, Jr.


Middle Level Arts Requirements


June 8, 2010


Goal 1






Item for Discussion

The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) is preparing to submit a request for a variance to section 100.4(c)(1)(ix) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education to permit students in Grades 7 and 8 to fulfill the visual arts and music study requirements in any two of the four Arts disciplines (dance, music, theater, and visual arts).  Their request is intended to strengthen arts programming in the city’s middle schools and to provide for more sequential arts programs across grades K-12. This item is intended to provide the Board with an update for discussion.

Background Information

Currently the Commissioner’s regulations call for all four Arts (visual arts, music, dance and theatre) to be taught in grades K-6 and at least one-half unit of study in visual arts and one-half unit of study in music be taught over grades 7 and 8 by certified teachers. 

              NYCDOE has requested that consideration be given to allowing instruction in dance and theatre to meet the grade seven and eight arts instructional requirements.  In April the Regents considered options related to providing these additional arts instructional offerings in grades seven and eight. The committee’s consensus was to maintain requirements for instructional offerings in at least two arts disciplines with instruction provided by an educator certified in the specific subject area.

              On May 3, 2010 representatives from statewide arts education organizations were invited to a meeting at NYSED to discuss this issue. All participants agreed that expanding opportunities for students to receive theater and dance instruction at the middle level by certified teachers would strengthen arts education. However, there was consensus that regulatory changes requested by NYCDOE may have a negative impact on music and visual arts programming in the rest of the State.

Current Activities

              New York State Education Department (NYSED) staff will review the NYCDOE’s variance request for providing excellence in education in grades seven and eight. If granted by the Commissioner, the variance would allow a three year pilot program of study in the NYC schools that choose to participate. Schools would be required to offer at least one-half unit of study in any two of the four arts of dance, music, theater and visual arts by teachers certified in the respective discipline. NYCDOE will submit annual evaluations to NYSED documenting the extent of additional educational opportunities, location and number of buildings involved in the pilot, and the numbers of students and teachers impacted.

              The proposed variance would have an implementation date beginning with September 1, 2010 and expiring on June 30, 2013.