The New York City-based Wallace Foundation has announced a nineteen-month, $1 million grant to Seattle Public Schools to support the development of a multiyear plan designed to introduce more arts instruction into Seattle classrooms.
Awarded through the foundation's Arts Learning Initiative, the grant aims to boost quality learning opportunities for all students, especially those with the least access to the arts. Building on a five-year collaboration — known as the Arts Education Partnership — between SPS and the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, the planning process aims to establish a standardized arts curriculum with common assessments; provide tools for teachers, artists, and principals to assess student learning; support the integration of city arts organizations with school-based plans and goals; and identify policies and funding sources to support implementation of the completed plan.
As part of the planning process SPS will engage families, funders, and city arts organizations through surveys, focus groups, interest-specific groups, and working groups to ensure that their input is reflected in the final plan.
"We appreciate this generous grant from the Wallace Foundation, which will help us create an arts plan that leverages our existing resources and coordinates community efforts to ensure all of our students have access to a high-quality arts education," said SPS interim superintendent Susan Enfield. "We know that our families value the role that the visual and performing arts play in the lives of their children, and research has shown that an arts education benefits students long after they leave high school."