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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: Youngest learners singing in Central Pathway thanks to new arts education initiative The Creative Advantage

9/6/2013  10:00:00 AM

Youngest learners singing in Central Pathway thanks to new arts education initiative The Creative Advantage
Partnership between the city of Seattle and Seattle School District strengthens opportunities for youth

Seattle WA, -- This school year the Central Pathway's youngest learners, K-2nd graders, will all be singing in music classes for the first time in nearly 40 years. The Creative Advantage arts education initiative, a unique public-private partnership between the city of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Seattle Public Schools and The Seattle Foundation, is reinvesting in Seattle's students and our community's economic and creative future by addressing inequities in access to the arts, and restoring arts education to all Seattle classrooms. The long term goal is that by 2020 all Seattle students will have access to a continuum of arts classes; the program is launching in the Central Pathway which includes schools that flow into and out of Washington Middle School in central Seattle.

Ensuring educational excellence and equity for all students is a key focus of the District's new strategic plan. "The arts are part of a rigorous education and a way for students to achieve success in school, career and life. I am committed to ensuring each student in Seattle Public Schools has opportunities to learn through the arts and I am proud to partner with the city to achieve our goal," said Superintendent José Banda.

"Knowing that these kids will have a better overall education because of time spent singing and drawing is a pretty great feeling," said Office of Arts & Culture director Randy Engstrom. "The Creative Advantage is changing the way our youth will interact with our community when they group up."

Access is a major focus of the initiative. Through The Creative Advantage, in the 2013-2014 school year six K-2 general music programs will be developed in the Central Pathway, which complement music programs already in place. The Creative Advantage partnership is supporting the purchase of instruments, text books and resources needed for these new general music programs. Additionally in 2013-2014, each Central Pathway school will develop an arts plan responsive to the regional goals. Upon completion of this plan, schools will have access to additional arts education investments including funds for artist residencies and integrated-arts professional development.

The initiative is focused on expanding music classes based on troubling findings from a 2012 Seattle Public Schools survey: students of color, English-language-learners and those who receive free and reduced lunch are far less likely to have music or arts instruction in their school day. The study showed that 71% of Seattle elementary students, nearly 3 out of 4 kids, have only 2.5% of their instructional time dedicated to the arts over the course of the school year. Thirty of the district's 69 schools serving elementary-aged kids report having no visual arts teacher and 21 have no music teachers.

The Creative Advantage charge is for all students in all schools to have an education that prepares them to be successful in school and in life. The arts provide opportunities for youth to learn 21st century skills such as perseverance, creative and critical thinking and collaboration, necessary for success in the future. This is a citywide effort between the Seattle School District, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, The Seattle Foundation, local community arts organizations, and arts educators. The arts plan was created with input from over 2,000 community members.

The Creative Advantage can be found online at, at and on twitter @SeattleArtsEd.

Office of Arts & Culture | Making art work.
We envision a city driven by creativity that provides the opportunity for everyone to engage in diverse arts and cultural experiences. We are supported by the 16-member Seattle Arts Commission, citizen volunteers appointed by the mayor and City Council.

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