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By Judy Jankowski, EdD, Head of School

Art and music have always been treated as secondary to the core curriculum when it comes to education. Of course, reading and math are always out front when assessing instructional priorities. They are central to pretty much everything else that is taught in school.

In the early 2000’s, with the passage of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation, the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that made standardized testing the driver for all curriculum decisions, arts education began to fall by the wayside. Ostensibly, the rationale was the US was falling behind other countries in the Programme for International Assessment (PISA) exams. Coincidentally, the US economy was going through a recession and funding for schools was also being cut. So, the arts were seen as expendable and explaining them away by cutting them to provide more time for reading and math instruction was a simple and elegant argument for their demise. Only problem was, test scores didn’t improve. They declined.

Research tells us that music and art stimulate parts of the brain not engaged during purely academic pursuits. The creativity and freedom of expression provided by participation in the arts makes the brain more fully engaged and efficient. The proof is in the test scores. Research demonstrates that students who participate in arts education have higher test scores than those who do not.

At Chesapeake Bay Academy, providing our students with arts opportunities of all types – performance art, visual arts, culinary arts, digital arts – provides a landscape where students can expand their thinking. They experience education in ways that stimulate their healthy growth and development academically, socially, and emotionally.

While the acquisition of solid reading and math skills will always be important to the development of our youth, ultimately the role of schools is to instill a love of learning in our students. The purpose of providing a school environment that facilitates innovation and ingenuity, inventiveness and productivity, is achieved by the integration of arts education across the curriculum.

Related Article: The Benefits of Arts Education for K-12 Students, US News

Join us at the first annual Melinda Vooss Creative Arts Festival.
Thursday, May 18
2:30  – 4:00 pm
CBA Commons

Enjoy musical performances, poetry readings and maker creations, in addition to the visual arts. All of the pieces are crafted and performed by the school’s talented student artists and faculty members. Melinda Vooss, Upper School art teacher at CBA, lost her battle with cancer in October 2022. To honor her legacy, the Vooss family has established the Melinda M. Vooss Artfully Yours Memorial Fund (MVAYM) to support and promote the power of art in education.

The core mission of the Melinda M. Vooss Artfully Yours Memorial Fund is to elevate the importance and impact of art education. Melinda saw art as a unique and fulfilling entity unto itself, but also a gateway for discovery and growth beyond the act of creating. It was a way to help students open their minds to a different way of learning that also connected back to core curriculum. Those deeper connections and delivering the tools and resources to enable that spark to occur is what drove her passion and our resolve to support the creative arts at Chesapeake Bay Academy.”
– Scott Vooss, Melinda’s Husband & Co-founder, Melinda M. Vooss Artfully Yours Memorial Fund