Using the arts to address the whole child
Over the last several weeks, I’ve spoken with various members of Milwaukee’s creative community about their respective efforts to restore the arts programs that are being lost in public schools. For the last part of this series, I’ll talk to a few teachers who have or currently are working in Milwaukee Public Schools, experiencing the weight of these cuts firsthand.
Christina Ratatori is a former teacher at Elm Creative Arts School and has also worked at other schools in the MPS system. In her years as an educator, she says she has seen the transformative power of dance and music in behavior and self-esteem, giving students confidence and helping them understand their full potential. At the same time, Ratatori says the arts have a very practical application in the classroom — whether it’s helping teach children how to tell time or memorize the planets in the solar system.
And despite a wealth of information that links artistic outlets to academic achievement, the arts are the first on the chopping block. But Ratatori says that the issue at large is not quite so simple. Teachers and administrators alike want to see these programs in their schools, but have few resources with which to maintain them.
In response to increasing cuts from schools across the state, Christina created A.R.T. — Artists Rallying Together — bringing artists, educators and students together to build awareness and find grassroots solutions to keep the arts in education.
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