Blog: Spotlight on Dance Education in Elizabeth NJ Alyssa Fisher Dance Teacher EPS William F. Halloran #22
Posted On December 7, 2017
“I am so proud to be part of a district that is making such strides in providing a comprehensive dance education by professional, highly qualified dance teachers. We have such an amazing team and we continue to grow! I am so lucky to work for a district that supports the arts, especially dance.” (Amanda J. Camp-Colon EPS High School Dance Teacher) Every New Jersey student deserves the right to a high-quality dance education that is innovative and supportive. In order to succeed in today’s competitive work force an education in dance is crucial in order to think collectively, creatively and confidently; all desirable characteristics for future employers. Elizabeth Public Schools is making tremendous progress in providing quality dance education to all pre-k through 12th grade students, but sadly it is one of the few schools in the state that offers such programming. Elizabeth Public Schools hired its first dance educator in 1995 and has since grown its department to consist of 9 resourceful, passionate and highly qualified dance educators. That kind of substantial growth can only flourish under supportive leadership. “As a school principal, I greatly support the arts for my own children, as well as my students! In urban areas, this is even more important to provide these crucial opportunities for our students to tap into their inner potential!” (Principal Chihui Alfaro – EPS Principal). The dance educators of Elizabeth are very fortunate to be in a position where they have such fantastic administrative support in which they can advocate for their programs. “I first met Dennis Argul (EPS Supervisor of Music) at the New Jersey Music Administrator’s Association meeting in December 2016. At that meeting I gave a presentation about New Jersey’s mandate for providing K-12 dance to every child in every school. During the discussion portion, one of the attendees asked “Who is responsible for making sure the mandate is met?” After a short silence, Dennis Argul stood up and stated: “It is our job as Arts Coordinators. We are the leaders who should be helping to make this happen.” Since that time, I have found Mr. Argul to be taking numerous measures to make good on his responsibility. He is one of the most important advocates for dance education in this state — and a champion for ensuring equity in education for all children.” (Barbara Bashaw, President Dance New Jersey.) In addition to these efforts, Elizabeth Public Schools supports professional dance companies by brining in residence artists such as 10 Hairy Legs to implement educational programming. It is through this sort of dedication and forward thinking that has made Elizabeth Public Schools such a nurturing, creative and most of all successful learning environment for its students.