Posted Date: 01/25/2019
Funding Fine Arts programs into the education system has been a topic of discussion many times over. Statistics and facts don’t lie (in that) in order to educate a complete, well-rounded child, the Arts are a NECESSITY.
Academically, involvement in the arts – music, creative writing, drawing, dance – have shown to improve a student’s attendance (which in turn) increases high school graduation rates, they foster creativity and innovation, and they build confidence. Health too is a key benefit, and the arts are an investment into our culture and community.
Research suggests that “exposure to the arts for just two hours every week can drastically improve your mental health and overall well-being.” - University Western Australia
At La Joya ISD, Fine Arts programs have set standards and become examples of innovation, skill, and pride for decades. The district demonstrates the vital role art education plays by consistently producing successful, post-secondary ready students. Whether it be through dance performances, award-winning art and music organizations, theatre productions, competitions, or through the staff of master teachers who coach and direct young artists, Fine Arts at La Joya ISD has become a symbol of excellence.
“The Arts truly help students gain skills needed for the future,” stated Mr. Ruben Adame, LJISD Head Fine Arts Administrator. “Skills like learning how to problem solve, improve and develop abilities to communicate effectively, learn new skills, develop each individual student’s creativity and innovation, and continuously strive for excellence. We are very proud of our Fine Arts teachers and students for all they do and how they represent La Joya ISD year after year.”
Earning the 2018 Best Communities for Music Education by the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) foundation, La Joya ISD remains at the forefront of Fine Arts education. The district was 1 of 583 school districts in the nation to receive this recognition for the outstanding commitment to music education and for being a leader in learning opportunities by providing music access for all students.
With high enrollment numbers at the elementary, middle and high schools, La Joya ISD’s commitment to Fine Arts matters now more than ever. In times where social skills amongst the youth are declining, the district recognizes the value in Fine Arts that is necessary to develop the next generation of well-rounded children. Exposure to art disciplines brings out the human in all of us, and as an educational institution, it is a responsibility to provide as many opportunities as possible.
This current school year, the district embarked on the expansion of arts education at the elementary level by designating Emiliano Zapata Elementary as a Fine Arts Specialty School.This in an effort to offer parents more options at a younger age for their child to develop artistically. Curriculum at Zapata Elementary integrates academics and fine Arts to allow children to learn and grow while enhancing each student’s artistic potential. Next school year, La Joya ISD has designated Leo J. Leo Elementary as the second LJISD campus who will also specialize in the study of fine arts.
Moreover, John F. Kennedy and Kiki Camarena Elementary schools – both STEAM designated campuses – have further expanded the Arts in their elementary schools by combining Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTS, and Math into their curriculum. The combination of STEM and Arts at these schools will develop well-rounded students for a future in any field.
This Fall, the Fine Arts department showcased elementary students by featuring them in a free Elementary Music Festival for the community where over 200 students took to the stage to perform musicals. The event was a complete success and the auditorium filled to the brim as this was the first time in district history that schools and students came together to present such a production.
Additionally, for secondary students, the Academy of Arts & Humanities (housed at La Joya High School) has been inducting students since 2015. With a current enrollment of 150 students, every year the academy welcomes over 50 new members to this school within a school. Students belonging to this academy benefit from small learning environments, hands-on experiences, meet professionals in the field, and may earn an Associates Degree in Fine Arts, music, drama or English upon graduation.
For the incoming 2018-2019 school year, the district has designated Cesar Chavez Middle School to be the firstFine Arts-specialized middle school at La Joya ISD. Now, students and parents, at every grade level, can have specialized instruction tailored to the student’s passion. Not many districts can boast about aligned Fine Arts specialty schools from elementary to high school.
In July of 2010, Congress took notice of the importance of arts in education, stating in a resolution:
“Whereas arts education, comprising a rich array of disciplines including dance, music, theatre, media arts, literature, design, and visual arts, is a core academic subject and an essential element of a complete and balanced education for all students.”
Moreover, studies have shown that schools with active arts programs do better at standardized test scores than their counterparts, and that students who participate in fine Arts activities have a higher chance of employment since a vast majority of businesses are looking for creativity skills and resourceful applicants when hiring.
“Arts education isn’t something we add on after we’ve achieved other priorities, like raising test scores and getting kids into college. It’s actually critical for achieving those priorities in the first place.” – Former First Lady Michelle Obama