Over the course of the last two hundred years, the arts have evolved into a crucial part of public school curriculums. Students across all academic grades enroll in classes dedicated to the arts as part of their graduation requirements. Recently, new programs have emerged with the intentions of incorporating the arts into the STEM based classrooms in schools, thus creating STEAM. STEM classrooms are those that are not dedicated to the arts, such as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. With efforts to combine the arts and STEM subjects, many schools, specifically schools in Nassau County, New York, are exploring the benefits of opening the arts to everyone. It was not until recently (the 1970’s) that children with disabilities were allowed to attend public school and receive an education that was of equal quality to the education of their peers who did not have disabilities. These education requirements included a form of arts education for children with special needs. Schools in Nassau County have proceeded to allow students to participate in all artistic classes regardless of abilities. These schools and others across the United States have recognized the benefits of incorporating arts into their curriculums. It has resulted in stronger performance rates inside the classroom with higher test scores. The arts have proven beneficial to children of all abilities academically, socially and emotionally in public schools.


Arts, Special Education, Nassau County

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Year of Completion



David Apichell

Academic Department

Theatre, Dance and Arts Management