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Dance, Drama, Literature, Music, Visual and Traditional Arts
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Arts in Education, Guiding Principles

Arts in Education Philosophy
The intent of the Arts in Education Program is to enrich and support arts education throughout North Dakota. With the passage of No Child Left Behind, the arts are acknowledged as a core academic subject. In addition to being a part of the core curriculum, the arts can also be used as a tool to teach other core subjects, such as: reading, math, science, and social studies. A team of North Dakota educators and artists worked together to develop the North Dakota Arts Content and Achievement Standards. Schools are encouraged to develop curriculum in accordance with our state standards.

The Arts in Education Program values the arts as essential to lifelong learning and strives to achieve the following:

  • Promote the arts as basic to the education of all North Dakota youth.
  • Seek partnerships with educational and arts institutions to support comprehensive arts education.
  • Develop collaborative relationships with artists, schools, teachers, parents, administrators and community organizations.
  • Provide resources that support the importance of lifelong learning in the arts.

Rationale for Arts Education
If you are looking for reasons why arts education programs can achieve student learning in special and unique ways, take a look at the following list, compiled by New Horizons for Learning, an international education network based in Seattle, Washington.

The arts:

  • are languages that all people speak - that cut across racial, cultural, social, educational, and economic barriers and enhance cultural appreciation and awareness.
  • are symbol systems as important as letters and numbers.
  • integrate mind, body, and spirit.
  • provided opportunities for self-expression, bringing the inner world into the outer world of concrete reality.
  • offer the avenue to "flow states" and peak experiences.
  • create a seamless connection between motivation, instruction, assessment, and practical application - leading to "deep understanding."
  • develop both independence and collaboration.
  • provide immediate feedback and opportunities for reflection.
  • make it possible for us use personal strengths in meaningful ways and to understand sometimes difficult abstractions through these strengths.
  • merge learning of processes and content.
  • improve student achievement - enhancing test scores, attitudes., social skills, critical and creative thinking.
  • exercise and develop higher order thinking skills including analysis, synthesis, and "problem-finding."
  • are essential components of any alternative assessment program.
  • provide the means for every student to learn.

Why the Arts are Important
The North Dakota Council on the Arts presents the Arts-in-Education Grant Guidelines for classroom teachers, schools, school districts, and non-profit organizations to learn about funding opportunities to bring arts experiences into schools and communities throughout North Dakota. Reading, writing, and math skills can be enhanced through the arts. Many studies document the role of the arts in improving basic skills. As stated in the document "Eloquent Evidence: Arts at the Core of Learning," which is published by the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities:

"The arts can play a crucial role in improving students' ability to learn because they can draw on a range of intelligences and learning styles. Schools that incorporate music, art, drama, dance and creative writing into the basic curriculum have found that teaching the arts has a significant effect on overall success in school. Because the arts are closely associated with important ideas and events in history, students who have a good background in the arts are likely to have a richer source of information and insight to draw upon, compared to those who do not study the arts."

The arts can transform the classroom environment, making learning a lively, invigorating experience. With their emphasis on creative discovery and their ability to stimulate a variety of learning styles, the arts engender enthusiasm and motivation for learning. The arts also teach discipline, the value of sustained effort to achieve excellence, and the concrete rewards of hard work.

Professional Development:

  • Picturing Writing: Fostering Literacy Through Art Workshop, June 9-12, 2015, at the ND Heritage Center, Bismarck, ND. Picturing Writing is an innovative, proven approach to literacy learning designed to engage students with diverse learning styles. This art-and-literature-based approach to writing offers students the opportunity to become proficient in two languages: the language of pictures and the language of words. As students move back and forth between the two, they gain access to ideas, language, and forms of expression otherwise unavailable. To learn more and to register visit,
  • Image-Making Within the Writing Process: Integrated Curriculum Poetry Unit takes place June 15 - 17, 2015 at the ND Heritage Center in Bismarck, ND. Image-Making Within the Writing Process, an extension of Picturing Writing, is an innovative, proven approach to literacy learning that utilizes collage made from hand-painted papers to help students develop their thinking as well as access descriptive language. This hands-on process is designed to engage students with diverse learning styles while addressing many English Language Arts Standards.To learn more and to register visit
  • STEAM Team Summer Workshop (more information coming soon...)

2010 Peer Coach Report: Building a Collective of Critical Friends: Interagency Work Among the Arts in Education Programs at the Perpich Center for Arts Education, the North Dakota Council on the Arts, and the Minnesota State Arts Board.

Arts Education Campaign
The North Dakota Council on the Arts sponsored an Arts Education awareness campaign stressing the benefits and importance of an arts education for North Dakota’s youth. NDCA worked with KAT Productions to produce 30-second television and radio public service announcements that will give real life examples of how the arts have affected the lives of several individuals. This awareness campaign is directed to parents of elementary, middle and high school students, and is the culmination of the work of the Arts Education Task Force. NDCA convened this task force comprised of educators, school administrators, policy makers, parents, artists, arts organizations, and community leaders in the state to identify, support, and expand the quality of learning in and through the arts. The ads focus on four aspects of the arts: create, feel, discover and learn. (click on the links to view the 30-second ads).

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