Jalen, a third-grader at Emerson Elementary, is one of a select group of
Seattle Public Schools students studying dance at the Pacific Northwest
Ballet School through PNB’s DanceChance program. Twice a week he takes
time out of his school day to take the bus to PNB for classes.
The PNB program is just one of the arts opportunities Emerson has been
able to bring into the school. Schools apply to participate in
DanceChance, which is fully funded by PNB. This year, Emerson also was
accepted into Disney Musicals in Schools, an education program offered
through the Seattle Theatre Group. The school also brought in Arts Corps
and Arts Impact to integrate visual arts into the curriculum, using
The arts, said Emerson Principal Farah Thaxton, "tend to be the first thing that we cut in Title I schools."
Bringing the arts back into Emerson meant seeking out grants and
partnerships that would allow them to integrate the arts into core
subjects like writing and math. The arts become a vehicle for building
21st century skills, Thaxton said. "The only we we could see adding the
arts was by integrating it rather than adding it on."
Jalen will be featured in a program on the Seattle Channel expected out this summer.