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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Draft Updated Arts Curriculum Framework

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Jeffrey C. Riley, Commissioner
Date:
February 1, 2019

This memorandum provides an overview of the proposed revisions to the 1999 Massachusetts Arts Framework in preparation for additional discussion of this topic at the meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) on February 12, 2019. At the December 18, 2018 Board meeting, two members of the arts standards review panel and staff from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) provided an overview of the design of the draft revised framework. At the February 12, 2019 meeting, the Department will present the full draft revised framework and I will recommend that the Board vote to send it out for public comment.

The draft framework includes learning standards that outline the baseline expectations for what students should know and be able to do, as well as other material such as the vision and guiding principles designed to support effective instruction. The current timeline calls for the Board to discuss and vote on adoption of the final revised standards contained in the framework at the June 25, 2019 meeting.

Enclosed with this memo is the proposed Public Comment Draft of the Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework Download Word Document as well as a motion for the vote to release the draft for public comment.

Framework Review Process and Priorities

The Department launched the review in October 2017 with the goal of completing the process in June 2019, following which the Department would disseminate the updated framework to schools and support its implementation. The review is now in Phase 3 of the three-phase process we outlined for the Board at the September 2018 meeting.

Department staff began by soliciting feedback from a wide array of stakeholders, including the Board's Arts Education Advisory Council, about the 1999 arts standards and the current state of arts education in the Commonwealth. Next, staff recruited and trained a team of facilitators to lead the review process. Finally, staff selected panelists consisting of K-12 teachers, department heads, administrators, and higher education faculty to make recommendations for the revision of the framework. The panel members provided content knowledge and expertise in teaching various ages and populations of students, including those with disabilities and English learners, across the different arts disciplines. The Public Comment Draft of the Arts Framework Download Word Document lists the panel members and is a testament to their dedication and hard work.

In recent months, the Department has engaged a group of higher education faculty and others with content expertise to confirm the content of the revised framework and ensure that it is consistent with the latest scholarship. The draft revised framework benefited from their comments.

The draft framework includes the following important features:

  • addition of the discipline of Media Arts to the existing disciplines of Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts;
  • increased emphasis on the importance of creating original work in the performing arts and on presenting in visual and media arts;
  • increased emphasis on responding to the work of other students and work from masters, with a focus on understanding the context in which art works were created;
  • alignment to a consistent structure organized around a common set of artistic practices across the five disciplines to encourage integrated instruction and collaboration; and
  • ambitious standards that highlight the importance of art as part of a well-rounded education that prepares students for college, careers, and civic participation.

Anticipated Next Steps

At the Board meeting on February 12, 2019, Associate Commissioner Ron Noble and Assistant Director of Instructional Policy Craig Waterman will present the draft revised framework and respond to your questions. I recommend that the Board vote this month to invite public comment on the draft revised framework. The Department will conduct the comment period via a public survey.

Over the next few months, the Department will review the comments, revise the draft framework as needed, and then present the final version to the Board for further discussion and a final vote in June 2019. The Department looks forward to gaining additional input to ensure that the revised Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework supports effective teaching and learning of the arts for all students in the Commonwealth.

 

Attachments:

Download PowerPoint File
Arts Framework Revision Board Presentation
Download Word Document
Public Comment Draft of the Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework
 
Motion to solicit public comment


Last Updated: February 5, 2019
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