Bloomberg says art counts at BX public schools

The arts will now count, along with English and math, in grading Bronx and city public school performance.Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein

THE BRONX - The arts will now count, along with English and math, in grading Bronx and city public school performance.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein announced the ArtsCount program Monday. The program aims to boost classes, such as music, photography and drama, to produce well-rounded students.

The plan is the first of its kind for the city, holding principals accountable for core subjects as well as the arts.

"A rich arts program contributes to high student achievement and daily high attendance rates," said Brooklyn Principal Barbara Sanders.

Natasha Jones is one such student who is already benefiting from arts programs. She's building her portfolio at the city's Summer Arts Institute.

ArtsCount, which begins in September, will also allow students to take exit exams in subjects like drama and dance.

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