Arts education can help kids achieve, no matter their background

Art education has a huge impact on the academic outcomes of students from all backgrounds. 

One Nashville organization, Moves & Grooves, is helping students achieve their goals through creative expression.

“Although some people may regard art education as a luxury, simple creative activities are some of the building blocks of child development,” says Dr. Emerald Mitchell, Executive Director of Moves & Grooves.

In fact, arts education has a well-documented impact on the academic outcomes of all children. But arts education has been shown to be particularly effective in helping students with low socioeconomic status bridge the achievement gap, which is the gap in academic performance between economically disadvantaged youth and their peers. Economically disadvantaged students with low arts involvement are five times more likely to drop out of school than students with similar economic backgrounds and high arts involvement. Furthermore, students with high levels of engagement with the arts are more likely to earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, obtain gainful employment or volunteer than students will low arts involvement.

In Metro Nashville Public Schools, just 1 in 3 third graders are reading on grade level and only 34% of third through eighth graders are considered proficient in math. Arts education can help. Studies show gains in both reading and math scores when teachers integrate art into the curriculum.

One organization that is offering arts education to students in need is Moves & Grooves. Their mission is to “use the ARTS as a platform to engage youth in self-exploration, while providing opportunities for leadership, education and service.” They do this by offering before and after-school programs to engage students with arts education in 6 Nashville schools, as well as summer camps.

The impact of these programs can be best explained by the students themselves. “Moves & Grooves helped me to build confidence in myself to believe that I could do anything I set my mind to,” says Jasmine, a Moves & Grooves student who was chosen to perform in the Nashville Ballet’s Holiday Magic Nutcracker performance. “I am grateful for the help from Mrs. Mitchell and other staff at Moves & Grooves who always encouraged me to do my best!”

Moves & Grooves depends on the support of sponsors and donors to offer these effective programs to Nashville students. Dr. Mitchell invites you to get involved by “volunteering as a tutor or mentor afterschool; offering professional services such as accounting, marketing, legal, fundraising, consulting, development; or making a donation directly to our cause through our website.”

The Chamber is committed to building up our Nashville workforce by strengthening the academic outcomes of MNPS students. You can learn more about our education initiatives here.

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