Office of Arts & Special Projects

NY State Educational Learning Standards in the Arts


The New York State Learning Standards for Arts Education can be found by visiting the New York State Education Department's Arts Education website.



Arts Learning: Grade by Grade


This document outlines the expectations and guidelines for arts learning for each grade PreK - 12.


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Viewing, Assessing and Supporting Effective Arts Instruction in Dance, Music, Theater, and Visual Arts


Developed with NYU and DOE schools and field-tested in a variety of school settings, the Viewing, Assessing and Supporting Effective Arts Instruction tool provides a resource for school leaders and others to enage in a Learning Walk-Through in the Arts. It also provides key indicators for quality arts instruction in dance, general, instrumental and vocal music, theater, and visual arts.


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NY State Arts Requirements


The New York State Education Department's (NYSED) Instructional Requirements for the Arts outline the continuum of educational experiences students need for their academic and social development. All New York city public schools are expected to meet the NYSED Instructional Requirements for the Arts as outlined below. These requirements are included in each school's Annual Compliance Review and are an important component of principals' annual performance evaluations. The DOE uses the NYSED Instructional Requirements for the Arts as the foundation for sequential arts education instructional programs because they are developmentally appropriate, and because we know that teaching and learning in these subjects is extremely beneficial for our students.


In the early grades, the study of dance, music, theater, and visual arts enriches student learning across the entire curriculum while developing students' ability to express themselves and build skills and knowledge in a variety of forms. As students move from elementary to middle school, the arts become an important vehicle for self-expression and provides an opportunity for students to focus on a particular art form along with like-minded peers, giving them sense of belonging within the school community. Finally at the high school level, students can pursue the study of a particular art form in greater depth and consider the options available for advanced study, the possibility of a career in New York City's vibrant arts community, and the chance to earn a Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation through the Arts.



State & City Requirements and Guidelines


PreK-K: Each such school operating a pre-kindergarten or kindergarten program shall establish and provide an educational program based on and adapted to the ages, interests, and needs of the children. Learning activities in such programs shall include dramatic play, creative art, and music activities.


Grades 1-3: In grades 1 through 3, all students shall receive instruction that is designed to facilitate their attainment of the State elementary learning standards in the arts, including dance, music, theater, and visual arts. Twenty percent of the weekly time spent in school should be allocated to dance, music, theatre, and visual arts. In New York City, this is the equivalent of approximately 186 hours throughout the entire school year equally allocated between dance, music, theater, and visual arts.


Grades 4-6: In grades 4 through 6, all students shall receive instruction that is designed to facilitate their attainment of the State elementary learning standards in the arts, including dance, music, theater, and visual arts. Ten percent of the weekly time spent in school should be allocated to dance, music, theater, and visual arts. In New York City, this is the equivalent of approximately 93 hours throughout the entire school year equally allocated between dance, music, theater, and visual arts.


Grades 7-8: All students shall be provided instruction designed to enable them to achieve, by the end of grade 8, State intermediate learning standards in the arts, including one-half unit of study in the visual arts, and one half unit of study in music. *In New York City, one-half unit is the equivalent of approximately 54 hours of instruction by a licensed arts teacher and may be offered in dance, music, theater or visual arts.


Grades 9-12: New York State Graduation requirements for the arts include one unit (one year) in visual arts and/or music, dance, or theater. In New York City, one unit of credit is the equivalent of approximately 108 hours of instruction by a licensed arts teacher.


Availability of Arts Sequences NYSED Requirement: High schools have the option of fulfilling the graduation requirement through either 1.5 units of credit (one semester each) in both visual arts and music, or one unit of credit (one year) in one of the four arts forms.


All public school districts shall offer students the opportunity to complete a three- or five-unit sequence in the arts (art, music, dance or theater).

Office of Arts & Special Projects