Arts Ed NJ Presents the NJ State Solo & Ensemble Festival

Arts Ed NJ, the statewide arts education policy and advocacy organization, is proud to announce the inaugural New Jersey State Solo and Ensemble Festival.

The inaugural New Jersey State Solo & Ensemble Festival (NJSEF) is being launched for the 2020-21 school year to recognize student achievement in music education across the state.

The NJSEF Festival has five primary goals: improve students’ music performance; increase students’ understanding of music literature and music concepts; motivate students to continue their study of music; establish standards of excellence in music performance; provide opportunities for students to understand the relationship of music experiences to other life experiences.

Open to all public or private middle school and high school students, the Inaugural New Jersey State Solo & Ensemble Festival will be held virtually in 2021 with both regional and state festivals, to provide opportunities for scholastic music students to showcase their talents either individually or in an ensemble.

For more information, including important deadlines, visit

Breaking bias: Lessons from the amistad

New Jersey’s Amistad legislation requires K-12 educators to teach African American history as American history and not just relegate the learning of this history to Black History Month. Breaking Bias: Lessons from the Amistad looks at this history through an anti-bias lens and highlights the contributions that African Americans have made to the United States as well as the lessons our country has learned from African American history.

The legislation also established New Jersey’s Amistad Commission, which created a valuable online curriculum and resources. The NJSBF’s guide is intended to complement the commission’s curriculum. Where the commission’s curriculum is focused on the history of African Americans from the times of ancient Africa to the present, the foundation’s curriculum serves as a tool that ties the law to the lessons of the Amistad. By taking a deeper look at the overt and covert impact of racism and empathy, equity and equality, class and justice, educators and students will come to understand the systemic themes which arise from African American history in this country.

You can download Breaking Bias: Lessons from the Amistad at

Celebrate Read Across New Jersey!

It’s time to gather your favorite books and join the nationwide celebration of reading with a Garden State twist: Read Across-New Jersey. For the 21st consecutive year running, NJEA is promoting reading and literacy through this annual event as we work to build a nation of diverse readers.

NJEA members are urged to take part and entice children, teens and young adults to explore new adventures through books. In previous years, schools around the country celebrated the day with reading fairs, assemblies and other literacy-related events. This year, many of those events are likely to be reconfigured to ensure that all who participate—students, staff and invited community members—remain safe and healthy.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, NJEA has made the difficult decision not to schedule Cat visits for this upcoming season. NJEA encourages you to continue to find ways to celebrate the importance of reading. Be sure to check and NEA’s for some suggestions on how to make your celebration the best it can be.

Tough times? AID-NJEA can help

The AID-NJEA helpline has served NJEA members and their families for over 10 years. NJEA members and their families have access to this free and confidential service 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Educators and school counselors are on the line from noon until 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and until 6 p.m. on Fridays to provide peer-to-peer support and information to callers. In addition, University Behavioral Health Care provides mental health professionals who answer the helpline during all other hours for 24/7 coverage.

Callers seeking help from AID-NJEA can count on:

    Help from a staff of Education Support Specialists experienced in education and trained in behavioral health.

    Immediate personal response — a “real voice” with no buttons to push.

    Access to thousands of resources from the AID-NJEA Information Directory.

    High quality help by telephone with personal, family and school-related demands.

Why handle tough times alone? Whether you are a new teacher, a support staff member, or a retired school employee, AID-NJEA has people on the line who can provide guidance and information to help. Dial 866-AID-NJEA (243-6532) or email

AID-NJEA is a program or partnership between the New Jersey Education Association and Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care.

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