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Lincoln Center Launches New Initiative to Train and Certify Future Arts Educators

Lincoln Center, in partnership with CUNY's Hunter College School of Education, the New York City Department of Education, and the United Federation of Teachers, today announced the Lincoln Center Scholars Alternative Certification Program, an innovative new initiative to educate, certify and fast-track over a three-year period the placement of high-quality music, dance, theater and visual art teachers in up to 120 New York City public schools, which are currently without adequate or any arts programs.

With this new initiative, Lincoln Center, the world's largest performing arts center, becomes the first performing arts organization in the U.S. to partner with a higher education institution to create an alternative certification path for future arts educators. The Lincoln Center Scholars Alternative Certification Program was developed in response to the critical need for qualified certified arts teachers, highlighted in an April 2014 report by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer on the status of arts education in public schools. Candidates may apply this summer for the program, which commences with studies in fall 2014.

"Arts education is at the heart of Lincoln Center's core mission, and while we have developed programs for schools for nearly 40 years, this new initiative represents a bold step towards strengthening arts education in New York City, the world's cultural capital," said Jed Bernstein, President, Lincoln Center. "The Lincoln Center Scholars Alternative Certification Program-made possible by generous funding from Laurie Tisch, created with the inspiration and guidance of New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, leadership from Lincoln Center Education's Executive Director Russell Granet and support from Hunter College, the Department of Education and other great partners-not only creates and sustains new high-quality arts teaching positions, it enriches and inspires a new generation through arts awareness and appreciation."

Qualified participants who enroll in the fully-subsidized Lincoln Center Scholars Alternative Certification Program, and who successfully complete the two-year program, will receive a Master's of Education degree at the Hunter College School of Education. While enrolled at Hunter College during the program, Lincoln Center Scholars will be eligible for hire in full-time teaching positions in an elementary, middle or high school. Participants also will have access to intensive training at Lincoln Center Education (LCE), Lincoln Center's education cornerstone and global leader in arts education, including guest lectures, peer support events and coaching from LCE staff and teaching artists. Upon graduation, Lincoln Center Scholars will be qualified as state-certified teachers, and considered for placement in under-served areas, addressing the need for high-quality arts education in city schools. Program participants will continue to receive Lincoln Center's support through an alumni network of teachers and teaching artists. Lincoln Center Education will create a new position, a Dean of Higher Education, to help oversee this initiative.

"Hunter College is renowned for training outstanding music teachers, and, through our new Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program, topnotch dance teachers," said Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab. "This partnership with one of the world's premier performing arts institutions builds on our success and will allow us to support the City's efforts to educate even more superb teachers."

The inaugural year of the initiative (2014-15 school year) is scheduled to offer places for up to 20 qualified aspiring music and dance professionals. Up to 40 new candidates will be added during the second year (2015-16 school year) with anticipated plans to expand studies to all four arts disciplines (adding theater and visual arts to music and dance). By the third year (2016-17 school year), the program is expected to add up to 60 new candidates, making a potential addition of up to 120 new arts teachers to city schools. Interested applicants should contact or visit

The Lincoln Center Scholars initiative is made possible by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, which is providing a $1.5 million grant to support tuition and program-related expenses, including a $7,500 stipend per scholar for the purchase of school supplies essential for effective instruction. Noted Laurie Tisch, President of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund and Chair Emeritus of the Center for Arts Education: "We are proud to support Lincoln Center's innovative initiative to increase the number of certified arts educators in New York City public schools. This marks another step forward in our continued work to increase access to arts education through both the Center for Arts Education and the Children's Museum of Manhattan. The arts are critical to learning, and should be available to all-regardless of means or zip code."

Through the generous support of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Fariña, the DOE is supporting a salary subsidy for schools hiring the Lincoln Center Scholars. Additional guidance for the creation of this initiative came from Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers, and Merryl Tisch, Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents.

About Lincoln Center Education: Lincoln Center Education (LCE) is a global leader in arts education and advocacy and the education cornerstone of Lincoln Center, the world's largest performing arts complex. LCE is committed to enriching the lives of students, educators, and lifelong learners by providing opportunities for engagement with the highest-quality arts on the stage, in the classroom, via digital platforms, and within the community. Founded in 1975 as the Lincoln Center Institute, LCE has nearly four decades of unparalleled school and community partnerships, professional development workshops, consulting services, and its very own repertory. LCE has reached more than 20 million students, teachers, school administrators, parents, community members, teaching artists, pre-service teachers, university professors, and artists in New York City, across the nation and around the world.

About Hunter College: Hunter College, located in the heart of Manhattan, is the largest college in the City University of New York (CUNY) system. Founded in 1870, it is also one of the oldest public colleges in the country and famous for the diversity of its student body, which is as diverse as New York City itself. Most Hunter students are the first in their families to attend college and many go on to top professional and graduate programs, winning Fulbright scholarships, Mellon fellowships, National Institutes of Health grants, and other competitive honors. The 1,700 full- and part-time members of Hunter's faculty are unparalleled. They receive prestigious national grants, contribute to the world's leading academic journals, and play major roles in cutting-edge research. They are fighting cancer, formulating public policy, expanding our culture, enhancing technology, and more.

About the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund: The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund is a New York City-based foundation that strives to improve access and opportunity for all New Yorkers. Founded in 2007 by philanthropist Laurie M. Tisch, the Illumination Fund plays an active role in supporting innovative approaches to education, the arts, healthy food and civic service in order to illuminate strategies that transform our urban landscape.

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