The Campaign to Maintain & Grow PreK-12 Arts Education Programs (including Dance) in the 2021-2022 School Year

NDEO is Presenting a Free Dance-Focused Town Hall Webinar
to Examine this Campaign
Register for the Town Hall Webinar
Arts ARE Education: Dance-Focused Town Hall Webinar
Hosted by the National Dance Education Organization

Tuesday, February 9 from 5:00 - 6:00pm EST

Moderators: Lynn Tuttle (NDEO Advisory Board Director of Curriculum & Standards) and Stephanie Milling (NDEO Advisory Board Director of Advocacy)
Panelists: Zakiya Atkinson, Shirlene Blake-Neale, and Rachel Swenson
Join us for an Arts ARE Education Town Hall webinar to learn about a new advocacy campaign built to help maintain dance education in the nation's public K-12 schools. As we look ahead to next school year, multiple challenges will face dance programs in K-12 settings. Learn how to make use of the tools in this new campaign to support your school’s dance education programs and hear from NDEO members on how they have continued to offer high-quality standards-based dance programs this school year. We’ll celebrate what’s gone well, learn what to expect for the next school year, and begin the steps needed to ensure dance education for all students.
Free for NDEO Members and Non-Members
Moderators & Panelists
LYNN TUTTLE - NDEO Advisory Board Director of Curriculum & Standards
STEPHANIE MILLING - NDEO Advisory Board Director of Advocacy
ZAKIYA ATKINSON is the Fine & Performing Arts Supervisor for Cranford Public Schools in New Jersey. Previously, Atkinson was the dance program director for the Memorial High School Performing Arts Academy.
SHIRLENE BLAKE is a 6-12 Dance Educator at Wadleigh Secondary School for The Performing & Visual Arts, a New York City DOE school and a citywide dance facilitator. 
RACHEL SWENSON is a K-8 teacher serving as a dance teaching artist for Idaho Commission on the Arts and the Utah Arts Council as well as a dance specialist at Idaho Fine Arts Academy, a grades 6-12 public arts school of choice in West Ada School District. 
The Challenges Ahead
2020 has been a year like no other in education. As a PreK-12 dance educator, like all other teachers, the pandemic demanded that you pivot your instruction and do your best to ensure meaningful learning outcomes for your students -- whether in a virtual, hybrid, or altered classroom environment where safety was the highest priority. Thank you for that — you are heroes!

Now, as the 2020-21 school year moves toward an end, we must prepare to meet challenges that lie ahead for 2021-22 if arts education is to remain central to every student’s well-rounded education.

School districts will be facing budget shortfalls due to state and local deficits caused by the pandemic recession. These cutbacks -- along with the costs associated with the continued need for Personal Protective Equipment in performing arts classrooms, a focus on remedial curriculum, and scheduling modifications to address learning loss -- will likely impact student access to dance and other arts education.  

Funding for arts education must be maintained to support the well-being of all students and their school communities. 
Background Information
In April 2020, 111 national arts and arts education organizations endorsed “Arts Education is Essential,” a one-page statement authored by the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS). The document asserts that the arts, a well-rounded subject area under federal law, support the social and emotional well-being of students, foster a safe and welcoming school environment, and encourage the inclusion of every student’s voice.  

Inspired by “Arts Education is Essential,” NCCAS is launching Arts ARE Education, a new national campaign that will emphasize funding, maintaining, and growing PreK-12 dance and arts education programs in the 2021-22 school year and beyond. To activate the campaign, we are reaching out to encourage dance arts teachers and school boards to indicate support for arts education in their districts through two digital documents:

  • The Arts ARE Education Resolution, which asks school boards to resolve that the district will continue to fully fund and provide appropriate resources in support of arts education programs in a manner proportionate to all other subjects that are part of a well-rounded education.

  • The Arts ARE Education Pledge that the campaign asks you, as an in-the-trenches arts educator, to sign demonstrating your own commitment to the district’s arts education programs.
Why do this now?
The school budget process has likely already begun in your district or will soon. By February, a preliminary budget may be available for public review and comment; generally, in March, there is a final presentation of the budget in which feedback will be accepted prior to approval. To prepare for the decision-making meetings that will be taking place, we need school districts to pass the Arts ARE Education Resolution now, resolving that they will maintain arts education funding and programming in the 2021-22 school year. Knowing that they have done so will allow advocates to speak up with confidence as discussions are tabled regarding students, staffing, curriculum, and resources.    
A Final Word.....
We know this to be true: Arts are education, as fundamental to student success as any other subject area — right now, more than ever as they re-enter the in-school environment in the coming year. But not everyone knows this. As educators, parents, community members, and advocates, we must make our voices heard to ensure that arts education remains central to a well-rounded education and fully funded to support the wellbeing of all students and the entire school community.

Thank you for your service as an educator and supporter of the Arts Are Education campaign.

National Dance Education Organization | 301-585-2880 |

Photos courtesy of NDEO Member, North Little Rock High School. Photos by Christen Pitts.