Here in the United States, we are celebrating Youth Art Month, designed to promote art and art education throughout the country.Youth Art Month exists in large part to recognize art education as a viable factor in the total education curricular and as a necessity for the full development of a global society and a better quality of life for all.
At the Middle States Association Commissions of Elementary and Secondary Schools, we agree 110 percent and believe that art education is something we should celebrate and encourage all year long.
In fact, through our Programs of Distinction initiative, we specifically recognize accredited schools that have exemplary programs in the areas of Visual Arts and Music.
Models for Academic Programs Around the World
Programs of Distinction are models for other academic programs throughout the world.
Our Visual Arts Program of Distinction identifies programs of superior quality that are clearly articulated and comprehensive, led by qualified and talented instructors using research-based instructional techniques and strategies, and that allow all students to develop an appreciation for and an understanding of the visual arts as a valuable and expressive fine art form.
Our Music Program of Distinction recognizes schools and school systems that foster within students a deep appreciation for music as an expressive, creative art form, and where music education is recognized as an essential component of the social and cultural fiber of society and the school.
In addition to Programs of Distinction in Visual Arts and Music, Middle States also offers accredited schools the opportunity to be recognized for Programs of Distinction in Global Literacies, World Languages, Early Childhood Education, Service Learning, School Counseling and STEM Education.
The Programs of Distinction initiative enables schools to take accreditation to the next level. The review process helps already accredited schools identify strengths and areas for growth and provides inspiration and recommendations for attaining a high quality program.
For schools that feel their program still needs to grow and improve, this process is an excellent tool for self-assessment and external evaluation, and an effective guide toward attaining Program of Distinction recognition in the future. A detailed feedback report, including recommendations and resources, is provided.