Boston Public Schools Arts Expansion has made Boston a national leader in expanding access to arts education in the public schools. Accomplishments to date include:
From 2009-2020, the percentage of BPS pre-K through 8th grade students receiving a minimum of weekly, year-long arts instruction or its equivalent increased from 67% to 97%.
From 2009-2020, the percentage of BPS pre-K through 8th grade students receiving twice weekly, year-long arts instruction or its equivalent increased from less than 10% to 67%.
From 2009-2020, the percentage of BPS high school students receiving any arts instruction more than doubled to total 72% in 2019-2020.
From 2014-2019, the percentage of BPS high school students meeting the MassCore arts graduation requirement increased from 52% to 64%.
Today, more than 17,000 additional elementary, middle, and high school students have opportunities to experience the arts during the school day, compared with the 2008-2009 school year.
Public funding for arts via the Boston Public Schools budget has increased from $15M to more than $26M annually, despite budgetary challenges, demonstrating the clear priority that families, schools, and system leaders now place on the arts.
There are 130 more full-time, certified arts specialist positions since 2009, bringing the total number of FTEs to over 300 across 125 schools. BPS has an Executive Director for the Arts who has made the Visual and Performing Arts Department the central support and resource for educators and school leaders across the district.
More than 60 community-based arts organizations are involved in providing a significant amount of sequential arts education in schools; 71 percent of these said their relationships with the public schools have improved.
More visible demand for arts education from families and students has shored up the community support needed to protect arts education from budget cuts and political leadership transitions.