Dianne Morales

5. As students, principals, teachers, and school partners work to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on academic achievement, what role do you see the arts playing? What strategies do you envision for broadening the school-day curriculum so instructional time in the arts is not crowded out of the school day?

Part of building environments where our students can thrive is making self expression through the arts available to everyone. I want to use creative arts as a type of therapy to help children deal with the effects this pandemic has had on their mental health and the ways they interact with their peers. Art therapy is a great way for people to express themselves and deal with their trauma and challenges in a way that makes them feel heard. Creating space where kids and teens can work through the effects COVID-19 has had on them is very important to me. Additionally, I would encourage schools to partner with arts groups. Students would not only benefit from more arts instruction, but they could be assigned projects that simultaneously teach them valuable skills and help these institutions solve pressing problems.

Broadly speaking, I strongly support moving away from standardized testing as the primary way to evaluate students. We have seen that it encourages schools to orient all education towards this test, rather than focusing on holistic education. As Mayor, I will work with DOE to create schools where testing is not the primary focus of schools, allowing us to build more room in the curriculum for arts, physical activity, and community engagement.

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NYC AiE Roundtable