We all have an interest in the success of our public schools and in the ability of students to graduate into adulthood with an understanding of creative and collaborative learning processes. Our research strongly supports the value of rigorous arts integration in academic settings over an extended period of time.
In this section you’ll find some things YOU can do to make arts integration an option for young people in your family, your school, and your community.
What Can Teachers, Principals and Administrators Do Now?
- Commit to embracing arts and arts integration as a long-term (3+ years) strategy to: decrease the achievement gap, increase standardized test scores, and improve school culture and academic improvement simultaneously.
- Seek out opportunities to bring artists into your classrooms for collaborative, long term teaching partnerships.
- Develop your own processes to document systematically and reflect on student work with students, staff, and parents. , arts integrated work to Facilitate monthly sharings of student work amongst same-grade teachers. Use student work artifacts to prompt questions about student learning and teaching practice.
- Create opportunities in your school for continuous teacher professional development sessions that cultivate a meaningful understanding of the impact of arts integration and its applications in your classrooms.
- Support your teachers in creating innovative assessments that give students the opportunity to discuss and perform their knowledge, not only write it or fill in a bubble.
What Can Students and Families Do Now?
- Insist that your school explore the incorporation of arts integration into your classrooms in a methodical and accountable way.
- Volunteer to investigate different opportunities to bring teaching artists into classrooms for collaborative teaching partnerships.
- Volunteer to help document student work to facilitate student, teacher, and family reflection.
- Volunteer to look for spaces to exhibit and share student work–either in the neighborhood, in the school, or elsewhere
What Can Teaching Artists Do Now?
- Explore and get involved with organizations that pair teaching artists with classroom teachers in schools for the purpose of methodical arts integration.
- Collaborate with other artists from different disciplines and engage in critical dialogue about contemporary arts practices.
- Help connect schools with spaces to exhibit and share student work – either in the neighborhood, in the school, or elsewhere
- Embrace a new role as co-designers of classroom curricula and documentation of student learning processes with classroom teachers.
What Can Arts Organizations Do Now?
- Carefully consider and weigh the connections and the differences between assessment, evaluation, and research, and where your organization fits within those areas. Look at what you do to understand your work and your beliefs as an arts organization. Look, too, at how your assessments, evaluation, or research relates to the schools with which you partner.
- Question what the word “data” means in your context. Do you have multiple data sources—and multiple ways of looking at that data? Do you only have one or two data sources? Does “data” only mean you have an aggregate test score? (A generalized test score result)? If so, how are you understanding the limits of a single, generalized and undifferentiated data source?
- Look at your strategies for partnership and creating and leading curriculum. How open are you to co-planning with teachers? How do you share leadership?
- Develop a continuum between your program, your professional development, your documentation, and your way of analyzing the teaching and learning. Each of these areas of your arts organization’s work are not an island. They should be inexorably and powerfully linked towards building your most innovative practices and outcomes in art and education.
What Can Funders Do Now?
- Support alternative assessments to standardized testing as appropriate, rigorous measures of student learning.
- Understand that education reform is a long term challenge and make multiple year commitments in funding arts integration work
- Understand that there are deep connections between professional development, teacher growth, and student learning outcomes; Support all these aspects of public education for cohesive, sustainable change