The Dodge Foundation is interested in systemic change in education. Our focus is on arts education and on school and classroom leadership, primarily in high poverty communities.
We believe in the transformative power of arts education to substantially improve children’s lives and academic outcomes, and prepare them for 21st century careers. We invest in Pre-K through 12th grade sequential arts education and arts-integration efforts that ensure children have the opportunity to receive comprehensive arts training and to experience the benefits of a more dynamic, arts-infused curriculum. Implemented with fidelity over time, the arts can improve the culture of a struggling school, ignite principal and teacher creativity, and foster more joyful and learning-friendly classrooms.
Through arts education students develop the creative, collaborative and problem solving skills, as well as the discipline, necessary to thrive in today’s demanding and rapidly evolving workforce. It is equally important to the long-term cultural and economic vitality of our state that all students are exposed to the arts, as they will become our future artists, creative sector employees, audience members and arts advocates.
We also believe that schools need skilled and passionate adults to make them work well, and that school leaders are the key to a successful public education system. Our grants in this area prepare new teachers, principals and superintendents for their careers, as well as provide access to steady and quality professional training.
We believe a multi-pronged strategy is needed to fulfill the promises of a comprehensive arts education agenda. Strong policies, nonprofit arts organizations and program models, as well as creative principals and teachers are essential. To that end the Dodge Foundation provides general operating and program support to nonprofit organizations that:
- Partner with school districts in developing sustainable arts education strategic plans;
- Offer high-quality, sequential model arts education programs that accelerate a district’s or school’s arts education strategy;
- Offer specialized, high-level arts training to help talented low-income students develop their artistic skills or pursue a career in the arts;
- Provide professional development for teachers and for “creativity teams” of principals, art specialists and other classroom teachers to collaboratively integrate the arts and the artistic process with the Common Core State Standards and science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) curricula and programs;
- Improve how New Jersey schools of education prepare teachers to include innovative arts education and arts integration training for all teachers, including teachers of non-arts subjects; and
- Work to advance arts education policies and/or provide research and data that demonstrates the impact and value of arts education practices.
Talented, committed school leaders and teachers are key to successful schools and student academic success. Therefore we make select investments that:
- Improve the systems that prepare new teachers for their careers and incorporate a more robust clinical experience;
- Provide access to steady and quality professional development opportunities; and
- Advance the leadership role of principals and superintendents to improve student learning.
We give priority to nonprofit organizations that have developed a strong relationship and sustainable strategy with the district(s) in which they intend to work. We do not provide direct grants to school districts or individual artists, teaching artists, or classroom teachers.
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