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Arts Course Approval

Approval of Locally Developed Syllabi in Arts (Dance, Music, Theatre, Visual Arts) Education Information and Application


The 2017 NYS Learning Standards for the Arts offer fresh and exciting opportunities to re-envision arts curricula for the diverse range of 21st century students we teach in our schools today. The Department recognizes that new arts standards call for professional development opportunities for arts teachers, a chance to collaborate with others, and time for curriculum design and piloting.   

To assist teachers and districts, the Office of Curriculum and Instruction is currently reviewing the application process for approval of locally developed high school arts courses, with the intention of streamlining the process and providing easily accessible guidance for course design. Teachers from across the state in multiple arts disciplines are assisting us in this process.

Therefore, while this review is ongoing, submissions of new applications, and/or for 1-year and 3-year continuing approvals will not be required until further notice.  Until such time as the approval process is reestablished, schools and districts are expected to ensure that new locally developed course offerings designed to culminate in diploma credit,  are appropriately aligned to the Arts Learning Standards at the Proficient, Accomplished, or Advanced levels.  

Check back at this location for updates to course approval procedures. For more information, contact the Instructional Associate for the Arts via email at or via telephone at (518) 474-5922.


Rationale: Why must SED approve some locally developed syllabi?

Section 100.5 (b)(7)(iv)(e) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education provides that all students earning one unit of credit in the Arts (dance, music, theatre, and/or visual arts) must satisfactorily complete a course that meets the expectations in the Learning Standards for the Arts at the Proficient Level in our 2017 arts standards. Any course used to satisfy the Arts diploma requirement must follow a State-developed or State-approved syllabus. Additionally, high school Arts courses that will be used as part of a Regents sequence in the Arts must follow a State-developed or State-approved syllabus.

Syllabi Not Requiring SED Approval

Effective October 2001, local school districts and BOCES are responsible for reviewing and approving local courses and instructional programs in all subject areas except the arts.

Other Syllabi: What about other locally developed syllabi?

These do not need SED approval, but may be a valuable resource to others who want to develop a similar curriculum.  The Office of Curriculum & Instruction would appreciate receiving from administrators, on a voluntary basis, other locally developed syllabi to share with SED subject specialists and other schools.  Syllabi being shared, and for which no SED approval is requested, should be sent with a covering letter giving permission for sharing.

Procedure: What is the procedure to be followed in submitting a syllabus for approval?

To insure applicability to the following school year, the contact person must submit TWO copies, one signed original (paper) and one electronic (CD or thumbdrive) of the Application, Data Form, and Syllabus to: Course Approval, New York State Education Department ,Office of Curriculum & Instruction, 89 Washington Avenue, Room 860 EBA, Albany, New York 12234, no later than April 1 prior to offering a course based upon the syllabus.

When the materials reach SED, course approval personnel complete a preliminary review and ascertain that all necessary information is included.  The materials are then forwarded to the appropriate subject specialist for a review from a content standpoint.  After this review, the materials are returned to the Curriculum & Instruction Team for final decision and then notification to the school.

Definitions: What do certain terms on the Application or Data Form mean?

2017 Learning Standards: an established level or degree of quantity, value or quality. The NYS Learning Standards are defined as the knowledge, skills, and understandings that individuals can and do habitually demonstrate over time as a consequence of instruction and experience.  State learning standards are organized into seven general curriculum areas: English Language Arts; The Arts; Mathematics, Science, and Technology; Social Studies; Languages Other than English; Health, Physical Education, and Family and Consumer Sciences; Career Development and Occupational Studies.

Syllabus: A document stating the expected learner outcomes, including the goals, objectives, concepts, skills and understandings in a given subject.

Instructional Strategies: Specific activities (group discussions, reports, field trips, laboratory work, demonstrations, etc.) by teachers and/or students which will lead to achieving the objectives for students.

Objectives for Students: Outcomes which are observable and measurable by an evaluator.

School (BEDS) Code Number: the twelve-digit code number assigned by SED to identify schools.

Useful References: What websites contain information that may be helpful in preparing syllabi to be submitted?

Arts Education
This site contains News, Q & A, Statewide Data, and a Summary of Commissioner’s Regulations, policies, recommendations and guidelines for PreK-12 Arts (dance, music, theatre, visual arts) Education in New York State. It also has the 2017 Learning Standards for the Arts, other publications, resources and related links.

Part 100 Regulations of the Commissioner of Education 
The Part 100 website provides information about general education and graduation requirements for elementary, middle, and secondary education. Links to regulatory language, questions/answers regarding policy, appropriate program offices, resource materials, and “hot topics” are included.

New York State Education Department (SED)
The New York State Education Department (SED) website provides links to all of its offices and related University of the State of New York (USNY) institutions, including the Board of Regents. It lists news items and provides connections to resources for students, teachers, parents, school administrators, individuals with disabilities, licensed professionals, State residents, and others.  A Google search engine is available to access a range of topics from throughout the Department.

Please do not return information sheets with application.

School (BEDS) Code Number: the twelve-digit code number assigned by SED to identify schools.