Research links involvement in the fine and performing arts to improved school attendance and increased academic performance. Arts education is also correlated with positive social-emotional development in students.  So the news, announced in fall 2019, that New Jersey has become the first state in the nation to provide universal access to arts education, is particularly welcome.

The January-February 2020 issue of School Leader magazine shines a spotlight on the topic in a special section. The articles include a look at how the state achieved this milestone; how one district built a first-rate arts program; and suggestions for community-school partnerships that can enhance arts education.

School Leader also profiles Judy Bassford, the 2019-2020 New Jersey Board Member of the Year, and examines the state’s efforts—and individual district strategies—to increase diversity in the ranks of the state’s teachers.

The issue also includes an in-depth look at the roles of State Board of Education, the body that develops and enacts New Jersey’s education regulations.

School Leader is published six times a year, and is mailed to all New Jersey school board members. It is also available online.