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Arts Expanding in Baltimore City Public Schools

By Julia Di Bussolo, the Executive Director of Arts Every Day

The arts are expanding in Baltimore City Public Schools and what better week to celebrate than during National Arts in Education Week (September 8-14, 2019)!

This year marks the first full year of implementing the Fine Arts Strategic Plan to improve equity and access to arts education districtwide. The Baltimore Fine Arts Strategic Plan was developed in collaboration with over 100 stakeholders including students, educators, arts partners, and city leaders in 2017. In May 2018, Baltimore City Public Schools adopted the Arts Plan as part of the Blueprint for Success, a districtwide initiative to support student wholeness, literacy, and staff leadership. School year 2022 is the first major benchmark of the Arts Plan with the goals:

Students in grades PK-5 enrolled every year in visual art and music classes. Dance and theater units to be taught within physical education and language arts.

Students in grades 6-8 enrolled in one or more arts classes every year with option for continuous discipline-specific instruction.

Students in grades 9-12 choose from all arts subjects to complete the arts graduation requirement. Students can enroll in one or more arts discipline each year to specialize and prepare for college/career in the arts.

Implementation of this plan began with a major shift in the school year 2019-2020 budget guidance requiring principals to meet and maintain certified arts teachers to student enrollment ratios. As Baltimore City rings in the new school year we welcome over 60 new arts educators to the district. In an effort to support this fantastic group of new teachers, Arts Every Day has launched the Arts Challenge Fund in partnership with MECU and the T. Rowe Price Foundation. Baltimore City Public Schools that have increased their arts programming by adding a certified arts educator are eligible to receive up to $2,500 in funding to purchase musical instruments, arts equipment, and art supplies. To learn more or to support the Challenge Fund, email [email protected].

At the statewide level, Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS) is getting ready to launch the pilot of artlook® Maryland, a user-friendly map that will track access to arts education statewide. Piloting in Baltimore City, Anne Arundel County, Montgomery County, and Queen Anne’s County, the platform will feature both school and arts partner profiles detailing the type and amount of arts education available to students in public schools.

Arts and Cultural Organizations and Teaching Artists! You can put yourself on the map by visiting and follow the prompts to sign up! Completing your profile will help AEMS capture accurate and complete information about you/your organization's partnerships and programs with public schools. The more complete the data is, the better able we will be to achieve our goal of ensuring high-quality, equitable access to arts education for every student in Maryland. For questions and comments, please reach out to [email protected] or call the AEMS office at 410-837-5500. Visit our website at for more information and subscribe to our newsletter at to receive updates.

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