Acting Secretary of Education, ​Reading first graders ‘Talk About’ music and arts education

Acting Secretary of Education Eric Hagarty visited 10th and Penn Elementary School in the Reading School District Tuesday to celebrate music and the arts with first graders at the school.

During the event, he played “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from Disney’s Encanto on the guitar with special guests and then read Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson, highlighting the importance of arts education.

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“Anytime you can engage students in learning in a fun way, through music and the arts, for example, you are helping them to develop skills and competencies that will serve them throughout their lives,” said Hagarty. “There are so many benefits to an early focus on the arts from a physiological and developmental perspective, but what’s even better—the students enjoy it.”

A study by the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California found that music education speeds up development of auditory pathways and makes them more efficient, which helps language and reading skills. Music can also help improve school readiness skills, including intellectual and social-emotional processing, motor skills, language development, and overall literacy.

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In Pennsylvania, all students in grades K-12 must be provided with instruction in all four arts disciplines: dance, music, theater, and the visual arts.

Dance Education is a kinesthetic art form that satisfies the human need to respond to life experiences through movement of the physical being; Music Education is an aural art form that satisfies the human need to respond to life experiences through singing, listening or playing an instrument; Theatre Education is an interdisciplinary art form that satisfies the human need to express thoughts and feelings through written text, dramatic interpretation and multimedia production; and Visual Arts Education is a spatial art form that satisfies the human need to respond to life experiences through images, structures and tactile works.

Local school districts are responsible for creating written curricula in all content areas.

Since taking office, Governor Tom Wolf has made investing in schools and improving education a top priority. Under his leadership, Pennsylvania has increased access to high-quality education to ensure all students, regardless of zip code, are college and career ready.

Over the past eight years, the Wolf Administration has increased education funding by more than $3.7 billion. In his most recent budget, Governor Tom Wolf solidified his commitment to education at all levels with a historic $1.8 billion investment increase. This budget prioritizes resources for Pennsylvanians and Pennsylvania families and helps provide kids with the resources they need to be successful.

Reading School District includes more than 17,800 students and approximately 2,000 staff members and is the fourth largest school district in Pennsylvania and the sixth largest employer in Berks County.

Approximately 80.7 percent of students identify as Latino, 9.3 percent as Black, 6.9 percent as White, 2.5 percent as Multiracial and .5 percent as Asian. The district represents families from 28 countries with nearly 30 languages spoken, including Spanish and French Creole.

Reading School District has 19 schools, including 13 elementary schools, five middle schools and one senior high school. The district also has its own virtual academy and shares a career and technology center with a neighboring district.

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