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Hundreds Of Students Getting Summertime Education Through The Arts

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- There was no place better to celebrate National Summer Learning Day than right here in Baltimore. WJZ's Ron Matz reports hundreds of students are getting a summertime education through the arts.

From improv to creating a dream park, it's the Summer Arts and Learning Academy.

"Young Audiences Arts for Learning is the oldest arts and education network in the United States. We were founded here in Baltimore in 1950 and we've since grown into 32 Young Audiences chapters nationwide," said Stacie Evans, Young Audiences Arts for Learning.

They explore math and literacy through the arts.

"What a lot of people don't realize is that kids, particularly low income children, lose about two and a half to three months of learning from the previous school year, and that in fact widens our achievement gap. This summer program is about preventing summer learning loss and doing it through the arts," said Evans.

More than 800 students are getting a special summer of fun and education.

"I learn about my math so when I go back to school, I'll be ahead of my class," said student William Waters.

"We're putting together arts and regular academics to find ways to help kids make good solid connections," said Reshada Pullen-Jireh, teaching artist.

All of the students are being taught a variety of art forms by 36 locally based professional artists.

"Young Audiences has 36 artists -- visual artists, actors, dancers, musicians, filmmakers -- who are all teaching in partnership with public school teachers," Evans said of the program, which is offered in partnership with Baltimore City Public Schools.

The arts are helping to stem the summer slide.

"Being here and reinforcing what they're learned throughout the school year and using visual arts or music or any of the other arts just makes everything work perfectly," said Pullen-Jireh.

Due to the success of the Summer Arts and Learning Academy, the program has been expanded to four schools in Baltimore City.

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