Although Miami Beach is home to numerous museums and performing arts centers, schools don’t always have the time and money to take their students on field trips.
Now, Miami Beach is bringing those institutions into local public schools and making them part of the curriculum.
On Wednesday, the City Commission approved a pilot program to bring the Bass Museum of Art, Miami City Ballet, New World Symphony, Jewish Museum of Florida, Wolfsonian Museum-FIU and Young Musicians Unite into six Miami Beach schools.
“The question really is how do we take these incredible cultural institutions that are amazing assets of our city and deliver their content into not just after-school activities, but literally the curriculum,” said Mayor Dan Gelber, who sponsored the legislation.
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The pilot program will begin in February and run through June with the goal of expanding the program to include more cultural institutions and classrooms next school year.
The idea is to integrate arts and music into science and math classes as part of the Miami-Dade school district’s STEAM initiative, which stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math.
“The point is not exactly to take an art museum and go into an art class. It’s to take an art museum to go into a biology class or take music into coding class,” said Kylee Crook, director of education at the Bass Museum, which will oversee the program.
Michael Tilson Thomas, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, directs students during a rehearsal. The symphony is participating in a new arts program in Miami Beach schools.
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Instructors from Miami City Ballet will use dance and movement to teach young students about animals in science class, for example, and the Jewish Museum will use printmaking to demonstrate the chemical processes used to create art. Some of the lessons will culminate in a performance or art exhibition.
The pilot program, which will cost the city roughly $188,000, will impact more than 2,000 students at all of the public schools that exclusively serve Miami Beach students. Treasure Island Elementary, which also serves students from North Bay Village, will likely be included once the program is expanded. Miami New Drama and DJ Irie’s Irie Foundation also plan to participate in the future, according to Gelber.
“I think this is the best possible investment the city could make,” said school district Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, who helped Miami Beach develop the program, speaking to the City Commission via video conference on Wednesday.
Miami Beach already has an agreement with the Miami-Dade school district to help cover the costs of additional programs at the city’s public schools, including extracurricular and after-school programs.