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How to Celebrate Arts in Education Week

Two students practicing choreography during the International Thespian Festival

It’s that time of year again – Arts in Education Week is back, running from September 10-16. Established by Congress in 2010, the program helps highlight the power of arts in education while also serving as an opportunity to connect with supporters from around the country. For our theatre educators, it’s also an opportunity to celebrate and highlight all the hard work your program and Thespians are doing.

5 Arts in Education Week Activities for Your School

For many schools, this week is filled with events, workshops, and performances. But if you don’t have anything planned yet, that’s not a problem! Here are a few ideas you can use.

1. Tell your program’s story

When it comes to theatre, there’s plenty of storytelling involved, which is why you already have the skills needed to celebrate Arts in Education Week. Social media is one of the handiest tools to help programs come together and highlight their work and Thespians with top tags including #BecauseOfArtsEd #TheatreInOurSchools and #ArtsEdWeek.

Not sure what to post? Here are some ideas:

  • Behind-the-scenes content, including rehearsal videos, set building, or costume design for your upcoming show.
  • Student profiles exploring their experience with theatre education.
  • Interactive AMAs showcasing the various roles within your program (I.e., directors, technicians, and actors).
  • Countdowns and ads for upcoming shows and ways the community can support your program.

Don’t stop with your current students. The skills they learn on the stage can stick with them for life, which is why 98% of school administrators believe theatre strengthens students’ critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and leadership skills. Be sure to follow up with some of your program alumni’s and highlight how their experience has influenced their lives.

2. Host a show or workshop

Social media might be a great way to broaden your reach and connect with folks from everywhere, but there’s something special about the energy and support from in-person connection. And while your production might not be quite ready, there are plenty of ways you can bring others into the fold. For starters, consider transforming your rehearsals into events that parents, students, and fellow teachers can attend.

You can also take this chance to host workshops where attendees can try their hand at acting, set design, or even scriptwriting. It’s a fun way to involve the community and might even discover hidden talents.

3. Focus on inclusivity and accessibility

Thinking of ways to expand the reach and impact of arts in your school? Support efforts to make theatre education more accessible for all. The Educational Theatre Foundation offers plenty of programming that can do just that, including:

  • JumpStart Theatre builds musical theatre programs in middle schools where there previously were none.
  • Pathway provides grants to boost racial equity through school theatre.
  • Thespian Growth and Excellence Fund provides grants to schools and teachers for everything from production equipment to professional development.

4. Engage your federal legislators for support

Want to make an impact beyond your classroom? This week is also a wonderful opportunity to advocate for arts on a national scale. Ask your federal legislator to support the Arts Education for All Act, which helps:

  • Expand arts education and programming to America’s youngest learners, preK-12 students, and youths impacted by the juvenile justice system.
  • Support the professional development of arts educators and amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to provide more oversight into the implementation of arts education programs.
  • Require research on arts education by the National Center for Education Research and the collection of data on arts education by the National Center for Education Statistics.

5. Start planning your Theatre in Our Schools campaign

If the Arts in Education Week celebration caught you by surprise – not a problem – it means you have more time to get ready for Theatre In Our Schools (TIOS) month in March!

TIOS month is another opportunity to join thousands of students and theatre educators as we raise awareness for the benefits of theatre in schools and draw attention to access needs for all students.

Our toolkit has everything you need to make your planning process easy, including guides, theatre facts, graphics, and templates. And be sure to use #TheatreInOurSchools for all your social media posts!

And finally, don’t be surprised by Arts in Education Week 2024, which is September 8-14, 2024 – mark your calendar, we’re not judging!

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