NEA Arts Magazine

NEA Jazz in the Schools

A New Multimedia Curriculum for High School Teachers

On the morning of January 14, attendees of the International Association for Jazz Education conference rose early to come to a workshop highlighting NEA Jazz in the Schools, a multimedia,Web-based curriculum that the NEA produced in partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center, and supported by the Verizon Foundation. As the NEA's Director of Arts Education Sarah Cunningham noted in her presentation, this attractive, dynamic Web site is full of resources for high school teachers of history, social studies, civics, geography, and music. Essays, audio clips, videos, artist biographies, photographs, and an interactive timeline are only a sample of the tools available to teachers both on the Web site and in the toolkit.

Jazz speaks profoundly of the American experience because of its democratic nature, both in its practice, through the collaborative and improvisational qualities of performance, and its important social role as an early meeting place for people of different races. NEA Jazz in the Schools takes a step-by-step journey through the comprehensive series of lessons.

Screen shot of NEA Jazz in the Schools homepage
NEA Jazz in the Schools debuted in February 2005 with the first curricular unit. Now with all five units completed, teachers are accessing the program's Web site ( and ordering the free toolkits by the thousands. Only six weeks after the full curriculum was available, 2,417 toolkits were ordered representing 2,300 schools in all 50 states and reaching 1.3 million students.

The following comments are from teachers who have ordered the kits:

"What a fabulous resource this is going to be!"
"This would be a great addition for our library!"
"They will love this material. I can hardly wait."
"This would be an invaluable addition to our