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Meeting of the Board of Regents | April 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 8:30am

sed seal                                                                                                 




EMSC Committee


John B. King, Jr.


Middle Level Arts Instructional Requirements


April 5 , 2010


Goal 1






Issue for Discussion

Does the Board of Regents wish to examine changes to the middle level arts instructional requirements in consideration of expanding arts education opportunities for all NYS students?


Purpose for discussion


The item is being presented to the Board of Regents based on a request from the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) for consideration of changes to the current requirements that all public school students be provided one-half unit of study in visual arts and one-half unit of study in music during grades seven and eight [section 100.4(c)(1)(ix) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education].

Background Information/Current Structure

          The current middle level arts requirements state that all students shall be provided instruction designed to facilitate their attainment of the State intermediate learning standards in the arts.


  • In grades five and six, all students are expected to receive instruction in visual arts, music, dance and theatre, although the regulations do not specify a minimum amount of instructional time that must be met.  
  • Over grades seven and eight all students are expected to receive one-half unit of study in visual arts and one-half unit of study in music.  

To meet these instructional requirements, school districts use a variety of scheduling configurations, one of which is a daily instruction period of approximately forty minutes, five days a week for one quarter of the school year in both grades seven and eight for both visual arts and music.

Instruction is to be provided by certified teachers, which in grades five and six include teachers certified in the special subject areas (visual arts, music, dance or theatre) and teachers certified in the common branches. In grades seven and eight required instruction is provided by teachers certified in the visual arts and music.

NYCDOE has requested that consideration be given to adding the arts education disciplines of dance and theatre to the grade seven and eight arts instructional requirements. This could provide students the opportunity to pursue in-depth, sequential learning in more arts disciplines than currently available.


  If the Regents are interested in providing instruction in additional art forms as an option in grades seven and eight, which of the following options should be pursued?


  1. Permit school districts to choose any two arts disciplines (dance, music, theatre, visual arts) that they will offer in each school and continue to require one-half unit of study in two arts disciplines. In this case the district will decide the disciplines offered.
  2. Permit school districts to provide one or more programs in the arts disciplines (dance, music, theatre, visual arts) and allow students to complete the arts instructional requirements in only one discipline.


In all of these options, instruction should be provided by an educator certified in the special subject area (i.e., Dance, Music, Theatre or Visual Arts) and result in no less arts instruction for students than is currently required.


        The Regents should determine the direction they wish to pursue and direct staff actions accordingly.