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Arts Education in the
Time of COVID-19

There is much we still do not know about the eventual impact of the coronavirus on our schools, but one thing is certain – for the foreseeable future everything will change.  The economic impact on our state will be immense, putting a severe strain on both the state and local funding for education.  As school systems struggle with limited dollars, education leaders will face some hard decisions.  Advocating for your arts program is essential now more than ever.  Your students will desperately need the sense of community and the creative outlet that you provide for them every day.  When you need support, know that ArtsEd Tennessee will be a source you can count on in your advocacy efforts.

Click HERE to join ArtsEd Tennessee. We are all stronger when we are a united arts education profession.

Legislative Update

Revised State Budget: Education Funding Issues

On March 19 the General Assembly passed a significantly reduced budget before recessing until June 1.  Some key points in the amended budget:

- The teacher salary line item was reduced from $117 million to $58 million.  This translates to a 2% salary increase rather than the 4% increase in the original budget.

-  The amount included for BEP growth was reduced from $65 million to $50 million.  The BEP (Basic Education Program) is the funding formula through which state education dollars are distributed to Tennessee schools.

-  Deleted was $49 million for charter schools and $51 million for the Governor’s literacy initiative.

Tennessee is expected to receive almost $260 million in emergency school funds from the federal government coronavirus stimulus package to help offset costs related to the pandemic, the TDOE reported last week. These funds are greatly needed, but this additional federal funding is small when compared to the $6 billion that our state spends annually on K-12 education.

This legislation, passed at the end of the March session, addresses issues related to school closures due to COVID-19 for the 2019-20 school year. The bill excludes the use of TCAP and related assessments from being used for certain purposes.  Those include:
-  Evaluating teachers, unless the use results in a higher score for the teacher
-  Calculating a student’s final grade, unless the use results in a higher final grade for the student
-  Assigning letter grades to schools, unless the use results in a higher letter grade for the school
-  Identifying schools as priority schools
-  Assigning a school to the Achievement School District (ASD)

In addition, the bill:
-  Waives the requirement for 180 days of classroom instruction for the current school year
-  Establishes that state funding for school systems will be unaffected due to the cessation of school operations
-  Requires the State Board of Education to revise the high school graduation requirements for this school year
-  Allows the State Board of Education to put into effect emergency rules as necessary to address any issues created by school closures due to COVID-19 for the current school year


TDOE Announces
Toolkit for Fine Arts

Todd Shipley, TDOE Coordinator of Fine Arts

The Tennessee Department of Education released the School Closure Toolkit for Fine Arts and an accompanying list of fine arts resources. The school closure guidance document details general considerations for districts, schools, and fine arts educators around responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, non-traditional delivery methods, and planning for arts program sustainability. The resource guide is intended as a recommended list of online resources to assist educators, students, and parents in remaining engaged in the arts through practice and activities. The resource list is not designed as an all-inclusive or mandated list as many organizations have been curating and broadly sharing repositories of resources that may align more closely to the needs of educators and students.

The guidance document will be updated as the situation evolves. Educators are welcome to submit feedback and additional considerations for possible inclusion on future versions. Please note: while we will make every effort to provide guidance, we are unable to address every possible situation and local/individual circumstances.

You can find additional information about the department's Coronavirus response here.  

For more information about fine arts in Tennessee schools or to provide feedback on the school closure toolkit, contact Todd Shipley, TDOE Coordinator of Fine Arts, at

Keeping the Beat
A Joint Project by TMEA and the CMA Foundation

This new web series, hosted by TMEA in partnership with the CMA Foundation, features interactive discussions led by guest music industry professionals and educators about wide-ranging topics in music including education, performance, administration, and advocacy. 

Laurie Schell, an ArtsEd Tennessee founding member, will be leading the conversation on advocacy on April 14 at 8:00 PM Central. We hope you will join us!


Title IV-A
Survey on Use of Funds for
Music and the Arts

The NAMM Foundation and National Association for Music Education, in partnership with National Dance Education Association and Educational Theatre Association, ask for your help.
Through a brief survey, we hope to learn how Title IV-A funds, as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), are being used for music and the arts in school districts across the country. As a music and arts education champion, we know you can help us!  We’re looking for stories from all 50 states! A broad response is vital as we prepare a strong case for continued Title IV-A funding for music and the arts as essential to a well-rounded education. The survey should take no longer than 20 minutes to complete.
To ensure accuracy, we ask that knowledgeable district personnel complete the survey—one per district. Deadline: May 29.

For more information and to access the survey, click HERE.


Great Resources at Your Fingertips

Here’s a brief list of useful resource links to online instruction and professional development for educators.

SEADAE instructional resources for all arts content areas

NAMM Foundation webinars on private and group lessons and making music online for ensembles

NAfME virtual teaching and learning resources 

Save the Music aggregated teacher sources

Virtual international thespian festival from EdTA

NDEO online prof dev institute 

NAEA remote learning toolkit 

From Our Friends at KHS America

Thanks to Tabor Stamper, an ArtsEd Tennessee founding member and former President of KHS America, for providing these resources:

Virtual Education Series 
Click HERE to join us each Thursday at 1pm CST throughout April to learn from some of the best instrumental music educators in the business.
Virtual Band Festival
Did you have to cancel your performance for a concert band festival, or are you new to festivals and assessments? Check out the world's first Virtual Concert Band Festival!
Harry Watters Daily Social Distancing Warm-Ups 
Click HERE for a daily warm-up live-stream at 10:00 AM CST, for brass musicians of all levels.
Sam Kallaos Children’s Music Lesson 
A live children’s music lesson every Monday at 10am CST.



Prepared by

Stephen Coleman

Director, ArtsEd Tennessee

Want to become an ArtsEd Tennessee member? 
Sign up for free HERE.

Copyright © 2020 ArtsEd Tennessee, All rights reserved.

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