Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Jackie Lienert: Arts, music programs allow all to excel in Northampton schools

To the editor:

I am an educational support professional at Northampton High School. I am writing in response to the recent budget cuts to arts programs in our school district. In my four years at NHS, I have had the pleasure to work with special education students. I have observed students who struggled through academic classes strive and excel in the arts and music programs.

These classes encourage all students to take creative risks they are unable to do in most academic classes. They allow students to engage and participate in a constructive environment, making sense of the world around them through art, music and photography. These programs open up opportunities and are responsible for the development of self-identity for many students. Students can articulate their emotions and tell their stories through these methods of expression. These are qualities that empower students to become better learners.

Eliminating these classes not only does an injustice to all of our students but takes away a vital part of what makes Northampton the town it is today.

When moving from Colorado to western Massachusetts, the first research I did was on schools that had music programs for my children. It was the great arts and music programs that made our decision to live in Northampton an easy one.

Our schools and their excellent academic and art programs are what bring people to this town. Having a great school system with a variety of great programs helps keep the Northampton area a vibrant and desirable area to live.

If we lose these programs it could diminish the value of our neighborhoods.

Jackie Lienert

Florence

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