Arts and music programs can be the first to suffer cuts when budgets are tight, yet these classes are where many students discover a passion for a subject matter and a love of learning. That’s why California Casualty, an endorsed NEA Auto and Home Insurance provider, offers grants to support music and arts teachers and their students.
This year, three Connecticut art and music teachers were fortunate to receive grants from California Casualty.
“The arts in education are essential,” says Cherie Calabrese, an ACES teacher. “They expand a student’s ability to think, develop skills, and increase confidence while complimenting core subjects of academic learning.”
Calabrese teaches art at Mill Academy, a school for sixth through eighth graders who are identified through the PPT process as needing a more structured program to help them with academic, social, emotional, and behavioral issues. She has already used the California Casualty grant to purchase camera equipment for a photography class.
“Being able to purchase these cameras has been a highlight of this year,” says Calabrese.
This fall’s other Music and Arts Grant recipients are Portland teacher Ann-Marie Szerejko and Norwich teacher William Priest.
Numerous studies have concluded that sharing a love of the arts enhances students’ brain development, creativity, and classroom involvement. Music and art curricula have also been shown to reduce disciplinary issues and dropout rates.