Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Urban Education


Nicholas Michelli

Committee Members

Stephen Brumber

Jan Valle

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Leadership | Junior High, Intermediate, Middle School Education and Teaching


Arts Education, Theatre Education, Sustainable Programming


For some urban school leaders Arts Education is the most essential part of the students’ experience and to others it is something that can be easily taught in one afternoon a week. It is either a means of self-­‐expression or merely something fun for the kids. Where do these perspectives take shape and what role and impact does the school leaders’ belief have on the decisions surrounding offering an arts education in their school building? This study explores current research on the importance of an arts education as it pertains to its intrinsic and extrinsic value of the arts to the student as well as the impact the arts have on attrition, graduation rates and overall school climate and culture. This research examines current federal, state and city mandates on arts education and what influence they have on school leaders. After surveys and selected interviews with New York City school leaders, findings indicate that personal beliefs in the importance of the arts, personal connection to the arts and personal experience with the arts in their own schooling, is the essential basis for decision making. In addition this research offers a successful implementation model for building a sustainable theatre arts program in an Urban K-­‐8 school.