Code of Maryland Regulations Requirements for Fine Arts (COMAR)
The Code of Maryland Regulations, often referred to as COMAR, is the official compilation of all administrative regulations issued by agencies of the state of Maryland. AEMS worked with MSDE to revise the old COMAR language, as per the recommendation in the Governor’s P-20 Leadership Council Task Force on Arts Education in Maryland Schools, found here. The revisions were adopted on October 24th, 2017, and were effective November 23, 2017.
Requirements for fine arts are described in Title 13a, State Board of Education, Subtitle 04, Specific Subjects, Chapter 16 Programs in Fine Arts.
Programs in Fine Arts
Effective November 23, 2017
Chapter 16 Programs in Fine Arts
Authority: Education Article, §2-205, Annotated Code of Maryland
.01 Requirements for Fine Arts (Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre, Visual Art) Instructional Programs for Grades Prekindergarten – 12
A. Each local school system shall:
(1) Provide an instructional program in fine arts each year for all students in grades prekindergarten—8 as follows:
(a) Within the prekindergarten—5 grade span, students shall have experiences in the fine art forms of dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual art; and
(b) Within grades 6—8, students may specialize in one or more of the fine art forms of dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual art; and
(2) Provide an instructional program that enables all students in grades 9—12 to meet graduation requirements, and to select from among fine arts elective courses of dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual art that will prepare them for post-secondary education and careers.
B. Maryland Fine Arts Program. The school system must allot dedicated time in the instructional program aligned to the content standards set forth in §C of this regulation and must adhere to the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles to maximize learning opportunities for all diverse learners, including students with disabilities, students who are English learners, and students who are gifted and talented.UDL shall guide local school systems in the development of curriculum, instructional planning, instructional delivery, material selection, and assessment.
C. Content Standards. Students shall demonstrate the ability to:
(1) Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work;
(2) Organize and develop artistic ideas and work;
(3) Refine and complete artistic work;
(4) Analyze, interpret, and select artistic work for presentation;
(5) Develop and refine artistic work for presentation;
(6) Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work;
(7) Perceive and analyze artistic work;
(8) Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work;
(9) Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work;
(10) Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art; and
(11) Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.
D. Curriculum Guides. Consistent with Education Article, §4-111, Annotated Code of Maryland, each local school system shall use fine arts curriculum documents in each of the fine arts disciplines for the elementary and secondary schools under its jurisdiction that:
(1) Include the content standards described in §C of this regulation; and
(2) Align with the Maryland State Standards for the Fine Arts for grades prekindergarten—12 as developed by the Maryland State Department of Education in collaboration with local school systems and in alignment with the National Core Arts Standards.
E. Student Participation. Each student shall participate in the fine arts instructional programs required by this chapter.
.02 Fine Arts Education Advisory Panel.
The State Superintendent of Schools shall maintain a Fine Arts Education Advisory Panel that shall advise the Superintendent on issues and best practices relevant to fine arts education for students in Maryland.
.03 Certification Procedures.
A. Beginning September 1, 2019, and each 5 years after that, each local superintendent of schools shall certify to the State Superintendent of Schools that the instructional programming within grades prekindergarten—12 meets, at a minimum, the requirements set forth in Regulation .01 of this chapter.
B. Each local school system shall report annually their goals, objectives, and strategies regarding the implementation of fine arts instructional programming and methods for measuring progress.
Effective date: July 1, 1988 (15:9 Md. R 1110)
Regulation.01B amended effective August 15, 1994 (21:16 Md. R. 1388)
Regulation 13A.04.16 amended effective November 23, 2017 (44:18 Md. R 871)
Governor's P-20 Leadership Council Task Force on Arts Education in Maryland Schools
Overview | Task Force Updates – June 2017 | Publications & Information
- Final Report: View here
- Executive Summary of the Final Report: View here
- Review of the Literature and Bibliography: View here
On Monday, September 16, 2013, Governor Martin O’Malley’s P-20 Leadership Council voted unanimously to have a statewide task force on arts education in Maryland schools. Dr. William E. (Brit) Kirwan, Chancellor of the University System of Maryland, made the initial motion to endorse and commented on the power of the arts in his life and the importance of the arts for all students. Co-chairing the task force were nationally known sculptor and founder of Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS), Mary Ann Mears, and Dr. Jack Smith, Chief Academic Officer at the Maryland State Department of Education.
Governor O’Malley has shown a longstanding commitment to arts education, and he has been recognized nationally with the prestigious Public Leadership in Arts Award. To continue Maryland’s standing as a national leader in education, the Governor wanted to ensure that all students have access to a quality education which includes the arts, stating “The arts give our children the skills and diverse knowledge they need to become the leaders and innovators of tomorrow.”
Council members commented on the critical importance of creativity and innovation in the workforce and the need for students to have a creative edge in order to be globally competitive. From October 2013 to February 2014, the task force asked for public comments to help inform their deliberations and their recommendations, which were compiled and presented in the final report. To ensure that all stakeholders in students’ education in Maryland had an opportunity to provide the task force with their comments, there were regional forums held around the state. These took place from January 2014 to March 2014 in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Charles, Montgomery, Washington, and Wicomico Counties.
On Tuesday, September 16, 2014, Governor O’Malley’s P-20 Leadership Council voted unanimously to accept the recommendations from his task force on arts education.
These ten recommendations were based on the principles of equity and quality of arts education. The recommendations are for policy, curriculum and instruction, resource allocation, and professional development. Mary Ann Mears, co-chair of the task force and founder of AEMS, stated in her remarks to the council that the arts “connect our whole being because they speak to our emotions, our reasoning, and our creativity.” Her co-chair, Dr. Jack Smith, Chief Academic Officer at MSDE, stated that “students need a complete education.” All council members expressed their support by voting yes; there were no abstentions.
Task Force Updates – June 2017:
- Recommendation A: COMAR Revision – Complete! On On June 27th, the Maryland State Board of Education voted unanimously granting Permission to Publish the revised Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) in the Maryland Register for public comment. The COMAR revisions include the new Maryland Fine Arts Standards and align with the National Core Arts Standards. This step is an enormous accomplishment because the detailed work, done by so many stakeholders across the state, was reviewed and moved forward by the Board. [this needs final updating]
- Recommendation B: Fine Arts Data Collection – Ongoing: The effort continues to refine data point requests from the MSDE State Data Office. AEMS currently working with MSDE to create a statewide arts data map that will serve as an interactive tool which allows users to search for arts education data from public schools throughout Maryland.
- Recommendation C: Establish Minimum Per Pupil Funding – Ongoing: The development of the Maryland Fine Arts School Portfolio will serve as a system of analyzing school-by-school commitment to arts education with a clear rubric for elevating funding.
- Recommendation D: Revise MSDE Fine Arts Standards – Complete! MSDE fine arts standards have been revised to align with the National Core Arts Standards in Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts.
- Recommendation E: Develop and Align Curriculum with Revised Standards – Ongoing: Curriculum revisions are occurring or are scheduled in most of the districts across the state.
- Recommendation F: Central Office Leadership – Ongoing: There is an elevated presence, support and information sharing through district leadership visible at the state level briefings, in electronic communications and in the vastly expanded professional development.
- Recommendation G: Staffing – Ongoing: The development of the Maryland Fine Arts School Portfolio will serve as a system of analyzing school-by-school commitment to arts education with a clear rubric for staffing.
- Recommendation H: Instructional Time – Ongoing: The development of the Maryland Fine Arts School Portfolio will serve as a system of analyzing school-by-school commitment to arts education with a clear rubric for instructional time.
- Recommendation I: Professional Development – Ongoing: The Maryland Centers for creative Classrooms (formerly MATI) offer intense professional development opportunities for arts educators, for arts integration teachers (arts and non-art) and for school, organization and district leadership. A new academic year, fully funded professional development model is currently in the design phase.
- Recommendation J: Teacher Preparation Programs – Ongoing: The Higher Education Arts Task Force meets regularly for communication concerning state and national arts education issues and trends. The recently revised Maryland Fine Arts Standards will be shared with all higher education teacher preparation programs. Dance and Theatre HEAT Force members met to consider the inclusion of an entrepreneurial approach so that new teachers may act as ambassadors to build new programs where none currently exist. Dance and Theatre HEAT Force members met to discuss the possibility of a P-5 Creative Movement/Theatre endorsement for certified elementary school teachers with an interest in theatre and dance. UMBC has reignited its theatre education certification program; the only program in the state.
Charge to the Governor’s P-20 Council Task Force on Arts Education in Maryland Schools
“Recognizing that a task force on arts education will be a powerful conduit for conversation and action in our state, the arts education task force is an important step to maintaining the arts as a major instructional focus for creativity, imagination, and innovation. The task force will create an action plan that ensures a quality arts education for all Maryland students. Specifically the task force will:
- Examine Maryland policies and regulations on arts curriculum and instruction in the context of the new standards in arts education so as to identify gaps and alignment needs;
- Determine the current status of arts education in Maryland schools;
- Review pertinent research on the impact of fine arts instruction on student success in school; and
- Make recommendations to the Governor’s P-20 Council regarding fine arts education in Maryland public schools to include (a) policy and regulations, (b) professional development, (c) curriculum and instruction, and (d) resource allocation.”
Publications & Information
The materials were used and referenced in the assembly of the report.
- Final Report: View here
- Executive Summary of the Final Report: View here
- Review of the Literature and Bibliography: View here
Information from the Corporate Leaders' Breakfast
Nature & Effects of Learning in the Arts
- Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development
- Learning, Arts, and the Brain – The Dana Consortium Report on Arts and Cognition
Arts & School Improvement
- Promotion of Arts Integration to Build Social and Academic Development
- Transforming Arts Teaching: The Role of Higher Education
Policy Studies & Reports Germane to the Arts
- SEADAE Arts Education White Paper: Roles of Certified Arts Educators, Certified Non-Arts Educators, and Providers of Supplemental Arts Instruction
- Better Practice in Dance Education
- Better Practice in Music Education
- Better Practice in Theatre Education
- Better Practice in Visual Arts Education
Task Force Meeting Notes & Minutes
- October, 2013 Meeting Notes
- December 13, 2013 Meeting Notes
- February 21, 2014 Meeting Notes
- March 28, 2014 Meeting Notes
- May 9, 2014 Meeting Notes