Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Beat Newsletter: January 2016

The Voice of Arts Education in NJ: Keeping you up to date in our field

Blog: Make Way for NJ – Arts Ed Year in Review 2015

Over the past year we have learned that arts education in NJ schools continues to thrive. We are the first in the nation to include the arts in annual School Performance Reports and 97% of NJ students have access to arts education. The momentum has not stopped. In 2015, NJAEP provided voters with information to identify school board members that vie for the arts in education, by conducting the first NJ School Board Candidate Survey. The Partnership hosted ArtsEdSummit 2015 and launched the Arts Ed Now campaign. And, once again, we continued to celebrate and recognize arts education leaders and students across the state by hosting the annual Governor’s Awards in Arts Education.

2015 NJAEP Highlights include:

Governor’s Awards in Arts Education

Arts Education Direct Services

ArtsEd Summit 2015

NJ School Board Survey

ArtsEdNow Campaign

As our name implies, partnering with organizations is very important to us, because all that we do would be impossible without the support and advocacy efforts of others. Here is just a small sample of our partners’ many accomplishments in 2015.

Monmouth Arts collaborated with the non-profit Art Alliance and the non-profit Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen to produce a highly collaborative and successful Empty Bowls Project in our community.  Through a project that began as an arts education workshop during our Monmouth Teen Arts Festival, the power of the arts to catalyze social action enticed many other groups in our community to join together creating ceramic bowls, glazing them and holding fundraisers to help feed families in our region.  The project was so successful and so full of heart with a shared common goal that we are proud to be producing the program again in 2016!”

VSA New Jersey “Art Par Excellence 2015 Statewide Touring Exhibit” of the artwork of students with disabilities was showcased at three prestigious sites in NJ: Artworks in Trenton, Mason Gross School of the Arts in New Brunswick, Middlesex County College in Edison. We also conducted Professional Development Workshops and component residencies employing Universal Design for Learning

and Multiple Intelligences methodologies for schools and other organizations serving individuals with disabilities.”

We set out to ask our friends in the arts community the big questions. Check out what they had to say.

What was the biggest accomplishment for arts education in 2015?

Our most important accomplishment was being able to play a small part in the advocacy efforts that led to the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act. – NJMEA

The advances in autism-friendly programming and arts education opportunities for people on the spectrum. – Paper Mill Playhouse

“The biggest accomplishment for arts education in 2015 was the headway made in re-establishing the arts as a key feature of a well-rounded education. The Montclair Art Museum, through its Vance Wall Art Education Center, is proud to build deep relationships with schools, integrating tour and enrichment offerings into the curriculum, providing professional development for art educators and teachers in other disciplines, and even bringing programming directly into schools through the MAM Art Truck. In 2016, we look forward to continuing to foster community partnerships that meet real needs through the arts and enhance accessibility for all visitors.” – Leah Fox, Director, Vance Wall Art Education Center, Montclair Art Museum

STEM to STEAM gains traction in US Congress – Artpride NJ


What are your expectations for arts education in 2016

“I hope to see the arts continue their journey revolutionizing the way K-12 students are taught.  By this, I mean greater arts integration/STEAM programming in schools, greater collaboration among all teachers and administrators, and greater awareness for how the arts are a part of every facet of our lives–not a distinct entity. I would also like to see our field advocate more for teaching artist programs during the school day.  It’s a challenge with funding and aligning curricula goals with the program, but I believe it’s a vital asset to student learning and deeper engagement.  I didn’t have this opportunity in all four years of art classes at my high school, but I read so much in contemporary literature on the value and impact teaching artists have within the classroom.” – Monmouth Arts

“Looking forward to providing an array of opportunities in the areas of arts education, exhibitions, professional development, and other special initiatives for children and adults with disabilities. We are hopeful that in 2016 the State re-focuses its efforts on education funding so schools are not forced to make difficult financial decisions about Arts courses in our schools.” – NJ VSA

Finally, we would like to share with you what is to come from NJAEP in 2016!

We will continue to provide you with quality programming, direct services and information to keep you up to date in the field. Check our website and social media updates for news about each of the Teen Arts Festival this spring. And don’t miss the 2016 Governor’s Awards in Arts Education on May 26th at the War Memorial in Trenton when the best and brightest stars in NJ arts and arts education take the stage. If providing well-rounded education—including growth in arts education—is important to you, then you need to join in the #ArtsEdNow Campaign! Show your support and make way for more Arts Ed in NJ.

Look what the arts community achieved nationally in 2015:

(Source: AFTA)

Arts Education Policy ENACTED

Dedicated Funding For Arts Education SECURED

New Funding For The NEA

Key Charitable Giving Tax Provisions Made PERMANENT

New Opportunities For STEAM Education APPROVED]

Arts Eligibility In Title I Funding RETAINED

Airline Carry-On Rules For Musical Instruments FINALIZED

For breaking news, events, services and programming head over to www.artsednj.org



Visual and Performing Arts Grade Weighting Bill Wins Committee Approval

New Jersey Legislature Passes Arts Grade Weighting Bill

On January 11, 2016, the New Jersey Legislature passed our Arts Education Grade Weighting Bill A311 in a unanimous vote in both the Assembly and the Senate. The bill now goes to Governor Christie for signature. We do not know at this point if he will sign the bill. We are cautiously optimistic.

The bill’s passage is the culmination of nearly nine years of work. The issue of unequal grade weighting was first illuminated in the 2007 Census report Within Our Power. The report showed more than 20% of high schools reported unequal grade weighting of arts courses. The arbitrary and unequal grade weighting between similar courses creates an artificial barrier to students who have a desire to participate in the arts. When a school district applies unequal weighting for equal courses students are forced to choose between their passion and their grade point average and class rank. This is not only unfair… but it flies in the face of our own educational expectations. We are now at the final step of removing this barrier once and for all.

The text of the bill is as follows:


AN ACT concerning the calculation of pupil grade point averages and supplementing chapter 35 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.

BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

1. a. A school district shall weight courses in the visual and performing arts equally with other courses of the same level of academic rigor and worth the same number of credits in calculating a pupil’s grade point average.

1. As used in this section, “academic rigor” means a course’s classification as a general education course, an honors course, or an advanced placement course.

This act shall take effect immediately and shall first apply to the first full school year following the date of enactment.

We are grateful to all our legislative partners. Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick deserves a special thank you. His family was personally impacted by unequal grade weighting when his daughter was in high school. Leader Bramnick has been a strong ally for this issue and worked to assemble bi-partisan support for the bill.

Significant credit belongs to the bill’s legislative sponsors. They include:


Assembly Sponsors

Jon M. Bramnick – Primary Sponsor

Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. – Primary Sponsor

Bonnie Watson Coleman – Primary Sponsor

Mila M. Jasey – Co-Sponsor

Craig J. Coughlin – Co-Sponsor


Senate Sponsors

Teresa Ruiz – Primary Sponsor

Thomas H. Kean, Jr. – Primary Sponsor


We will provide additional updates once we know the Governor’s intention for the bill.

Testimony Before the Assembly Education Committee Assembly Bill #A311- Grade Weighting of Arts Education Courses

The Census is Coming! The Census is Coming! January 19th!

For the third time in the past decade New Jersey will conduct a school-by-school census of arts education programs.

New Jersey Arts Education Census Project (NJAECP) is a partnership of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the New Jersey Department of Education, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership, ArtPride New Jersey and Quadrant Research. The New Jersey Arts Education Census Project is a follow up to the 2005/2006 and the 2011/2012 surveys. It will create a 360-degree view of arts education in New Jersey schools, and measure any changes over the past five and ten year periods.

The census is anchored by the New Jersey Visual and Performing Arts Survey – a statewide school-by-school mandatory survey for the visual and performing arts. The survey is nearly identical to the surveys conducted during the 2005/2006 and the 2010/2011 school years.

If you are an arts educator in the state, here’s how you can help:

Each NJ public school (not district) will be required to provide information regarding the types of arts courses provided, student enrollment in each course, the number and qualifications of teachers, curriculum, etc. We are asking each of you to volunteer to help your principal gather the information so we can have the most complete and accurate data possible. Your assistance will be a great help to your principal and to this project as well.

The survey will be open from January 19, 2016 through February 15, 2016 and must be completed online. The link to the survey will be provided to your school data management person through the NJDOE portal “Homeroom.”

A review of the survey tool will guide you to the type of information requested in the survey. A letter to all of the school administrators from NJDOE Chief Academic Officer Kimberley Harrington has already been delivered on January 5, 2016 providing each school with a “heads up” regarding the upcoming survey and to begin the information gathering process.

A copy of the January 5, 2016 memo to all school administrators, a sample of the survey tool and instructions are available for download at:


By working together we will ensure we have quality information to inform all of our work so we may create an educational system in New Jersey that truly provides an arts education … for all!

If you have any questions please call Bob Morrison (908-542-9396 or email at: bob@artsedresearch.org) or Dale Schmid (609-984-6308 or email at: dale.schmid@doe.state.nj.us)

BREAKING NEWS: New Jersey Legislature Passes Arts Grade Weighting Bill

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