the Benefits of Arts in Cache County Schools

Corinne Clarkson, public information intern, Cache County School District

CACHE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT, (CCSD), known statewide for its students’ strong academic achievement, places great value on its visual and performing arts programs. According to the Arts Education Partnership*, children who study the arts not only develop their talents, but also boost their academic development. In addition, arts education has shown to improve social, emotional, and cognitive brain development.

1. Academic development. The arts are an essential part of a complete and competitive education for all students. Music actually advances math achievement, boosts English and reading skills, and increases standardized test scores.

2. Social development. Students’ ability to collaborate, create friendships, and work together as a team increases in art and music classrooms. Having the opportunity to showcase their music and art through performances gives students the self-confidence and courage necessary to excel in school and beyond.

3. Emotional development. In music and art classes, students find an open environment where they can express themselves and create new things. This safe space decreases stress and anxiety and can be a positive outlet for students.

4. Cognitive development. Students who participate in the arts have better memory and concentration skills and are better able to develop their fine motor skills. Creating music strengthens connections between the right and left sides of the brain, which enables more creative problem solving and supports brain development.

One of the best things about arts education is that its benefits are not reserved only for a talented few. Those who are willing to try something new and work hard will not only improve, but will also receive all the advantages that come from working with the arts. CCSD strives to provide every student, no matter their age or ability, with an opportunity to explore and enjoy the arts.

Opportunities and options available to CCSD students vary by age. Elementary students in grades one through six attend a music class and an art class once a week for approximately 40 minutes each. These classes follow the District’s elementary music and art curricula and focus on giving students foundational experiences in music and art study, while meeting the Utah State Fine Arts Core Standards. Orchestras such as the Mountain West String Academy and Junior Chamber Orchestra are available to elementary students to prepare them for participation in higher-level orchestras. Many elementary schools showcase their students’ original art projects, as well as produce musicals and other theatrical productions.

As students enter middle school and high school, they can choose to participate in band, orchestra, guitar ensembles, or choir. Visual arts are offered as elective credits, with extensive options available, such as instruction in drawing, portraiture, painting, art criticism, art history, ceramics, commercial art, sculpture, digital photography, desktop publishing, and interior design. Ensembles, social dance classes, theatre groups, and improv clubs provide additional avenues for students to pursue their interests.

“Our goal is to give students the opportunity to participate in quality arts experiences that encourage them to work cooperatively with others and develop the ability to express themselves creatively,” Delpha Hall, CCSD arts coordinator, said. “Our visual art, music, theatre, and dance teachers are dedicated professionals who devote countless hours to helping students reach their potential.”

*Arts Education Partnership, Music Matters: How Music Education Helps Students Learn, Achieve, and Succeed, Washington, D.C., September 2011.

For a firsthand glimpse of the art and music being created in our schools, we invite you to attend CCSD’s Celebration of the Arts which will be held on Friday, April 17, 2020, from 5 to 9 p.m. at Green Canyon High School. This open-house style event is free and open to the public. It features student artwork, film, photography, theatrical performances, and live music performances. A community art project will also go on throughout the evening.