The students I'm privileged to work with come from diverse backgrounds, both ethnically and social-economically, including 37% Hispanic, 25% Asian, and 25% White. Almost 30% of our students come from low-income families, and 11% are English Language Learners. These middle school students are ready to be challenged with complex ideas and interesting materials.
Our students have experienced little exposure to art materials or projects that have the potential to stimulate their creative thinking, encourage self-esteem, and build empathy.
Many of these students need to build confidence in life and academic skills, so they can gain self-motivation to overcome conflict. Also, our students who have been traditionally marginalized are in need of more opportunity in the arts, including kinesthetic learning that ceramics can provide.
Art is more accessible to students with disabilities, and our school is comprised of a larger average (50% of all students) than that of other schools in the state. This intermediate school has 7th and 8th graders, and I will have at least 350 of the 800 students each year in my art classes, as well as an addition 30 students each week who choose to come for art club.
In the past 10 years, many very important elective programs have been cut at our intermediate school. There once was a strong ceramics and printmaking program. But now, due to budget cuts and low enrollment, students are left with only a few options. I want to bring back ceramics and printmaking.
With a ceramics kiln, clay, and supporting materials, students can bring their ideas to life, while improving their critical thinking skills, social-emotional interactions, and self-esteem.
Many studies have found correlations between arts education programs and improved achievement, attendance, self-efficacy, engagement, higher graduation rates, and more success in post-secondary education.
With these requested materials, our art program will reach more students who are in need of creative opportunities. I believe that arts education can change lives. Giving students the tools to be successful by learning how to combine the use of their ideas and skills to create something completely unique will leave a lasting impact.
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