Due to efforts by school site officials, increased funding at the District level and a renewed acknowledgment of the importance of the arts in education, students and attendees alike were able to enjoy the event with a band formed from our local students.
Besides the fanfare and fun that a band brings to any event there have been a wide variety of studies through the years that show just how important the arts are to students and how they help to enhance the educational experience of these children at school.
For instance, one recent study indicates that students who participate in the arts at school are 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement then their counterparts who do not participate in the arts. A second study even suggested that students who participate in the arts score higher in mathematics, English and social studies. This same study claims that increased academic achievement for music students is even more startling. These students see scores as high as 15 points higher than other students in Math and 20 points higher in English than others.
Besides student’s academic achievement, it has been shown that individuals who participate in the arts have stronger social connections at school and lower absenteeism. As common sense would seem to indicate, students who attend school on a regular basis tend to have higher grade point averages and are more apt to attend college. Students who have stronger social connections and are busier at school are more apt to attend school then others without the social connections they may have due to their daily interactions.
This improvement not only helps to build a more successful academic career for the students, but it also helps them to feel more connected to the school and thus be less likely to be absent.
The increase in academic achievement and decrease in absenteeism that the arts foster helps to build a more academically focused culture at the school site. If the culture of the school dictates that students who attend school and strive for academic success are more in alignment with the culture, then this culture will help drive all students to that ideal, not just the students participating in the arts. That is the power of a strong school culture focused on educational achievement.
As the district works on increasing educational achievement at our local schools, encouraging students to participate in art education is one of the ways we can drive this achievement.
Beyond the educational advantages that participants may receive due to participation in the arts I believe the biggest positive for these students is the education of what is called the total student. Students who are doing well academically, socially and feel connected to both the community at school and the community at large will be more apt to move on and succeed in college and beyond.
In the end, as an educational institution, PVUSD is working towards building the “total student” who is well rounded in a variety of disciplines and will have the greatest chance of success in their lives. By re-introducing the arts through the bank at Aptos High the district is doing just that.
To contact Jeff, his email is Jeffrey_Ursino@pvusd.net