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Mayor Walsh joins EdVestors in announcing Phase IV of Arts Expansion Initiative

June 6, 2017

Boston Public Schools

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Schools

Over $600,000 was announced for dozens of schools and arts organizations.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh in partnership with EdVestors today announced a new phase of the successful Boston Public Schools (BPS) Arts Expansion Initiative to continue increasing students' access to quality arts education.

The BPS Arts Expansion initiative began in 2009 as an effort to expand arts education, with a focus on increasing access, equity and quality. As a result of this work, there are now 80 percent more BPS arts teachers working with 70 community arts partners to deliver arts instruction to 17,000 more students annually compared to eight years ago. From 2009-2017, the percentage of BPS pre-K through eighth grade students receiving a minimum of weekly, year-long arts instruction or its equivalent increased from 67 percent to 95 percent.

Today's announcement was made in conjunction with the BPS CItywide Arts Festival being held from June 6 - June 8 at the Wang YMCA of Chinatown. In addition, the City of Boston is also preparing to celebrate the first anniversary of the launch of its cultural plan, Boston Creates, which aims to incorporate arts and culture into the fabric of everyday civic life.

"As we approach the first anniversary of Boston Creates, we're proud to announce the next phase of our partnership with Boston Public Schools Arts Expansion, which is increasing access to arts education," said Mayor Walsh. "Through Boston Creates, we are working to ensure that access to arts and culture, including arts education, is accessible to all."

Public funding for arts education has increased by more than $11 million annually over the course of BPS Arts Expansion, up to $26 million in 2016, from $15 million in 2009.

In the fourth phase of BPS Arts Expansion, the City and BPS, in collaboration with lead partner EdVestors, will raise $2.5M in private funds to sustain high levels of arts education in the district over the next three years. To date, over $1.75M has been raised toward the new goal. The Barr Foundation, the Boston Foundation, The Klarman Family Foundation and the Linde Family Foundation have stepped up to help ensure all preK-8 students receive weekly year-long arts instruction and that 100 percent of BPS high school graduates meet the Massachusetts Core graduation requirement of one year of arts instruction.

"We have heard clearly from students, families, teachers and principals that arts matter in their schools," said Laura Perille, President & CEO of EdVestors. "We are proud to work with the City, the Boston Public Schools and our committed philanthropic partners to promote increased access to arts across the system. This initiative has made an enormous difference by giving thousands more children the opportunity to express their creativity and increase engagement with each other, their schools and the community and we are delighted it will continue."

The impact of BPS Arts Expansion can be seen on display today at the annual BPS Citywide Arts Festival, as student performers from dozens of schools converge at the Wang YMCA of Chinatown in a celebration of the power of creativity, joined by parents and community members. The Festival, which runs June 6 through June 8, features students ranging from kindergarten through high school presenting, musical, dance, spoken word & theater performances.

To support this work, EdVestors also announced today over $600,000 in grants to support 37 partners working in 67 schools for the 2017-18 school year.

"BPS Arts Expansion is a terrific example of equity and innovation in our district's schools," said Dr. Tommy Chang, Boston Public Schools Superintendent. "By providing quality arts opportunities to greater numbers of our young people, we are closing opportunity gaps.  The arts have been a critical element of successful school improvement by making our classrooms more vibrant and engaging for students and our schools more welcoming to students and families. BPS is proud to continue this partnership that is a model in our nation."

More information on the BPS Arts Expansion Initiative and the Citywide Arts Festival is available at http://www.bpsarts.org 

ABOUT EDVESTORS

EdVestors is a dynamic school change organization focused on increasing the number of schools in Boston that deliver dramatically improved educational outcomes for all children. EdVestors works with all urban schools leveraging strategic private investment, providing on-the-ground support to accelerate results, and developing and sharing knowledge to drive improvement across schools. EdVestors operates the School Solutions Seed Fund, the School on the Move Prize, the Improving Schools Initiative and leads the public-private partnerships for BPS Arts Expansion and the new Zeroing in on Math initiative. Follow on social media using @bpsicreate and @edvestors. For more information, please visit: http://www.edvestors.org 

ABOUT BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

The Boston Public Schools (BPS), the birthplace of public education in the United States, serves nearly 57,000 pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students in 125 schools. BPS is committed to transforming the lives of all children through exemplary teaching in a world-class system of innovative, welcoming schools. We partner with the community, families, and students to develop in every learner the knowledge, skill, and character to excel in college, career, and life.

ABOUT THE BOSTON CREATES CULTURAL PLAN

The cultural plan is a ten year plan for supporting arts and culture in the City of Boston. It was created out of a year-long community engagement effort designed to help local government identify cultural needs, opportunities, and resources and to prioritize, coordinate, and align public and private resources to strengthen Boston's cultural vitality over the long term. The full cultural plan can be found online at  http://plan.bostoncreates.org.