- Gaining The Arts Advantage:
Lessons From School Districts That Value Arts Education"
a study published by the President's
on the Arts and the Humanities and Arts Education Partnership
- Highlighted are the findings of this study, conducted in
"efforts in public school districts - urban,suburban, and rural -
United States to make the arts an essential part of the general
education of all
- Listed below are some factors that are found to contribute to
district-wide arts program.
- * "The single most critical factor in sustaining arts
their schools is the active involvement of influential segments of
community in shaping and implementing the policies and
of the district."
- "A kaleidoscope of small communities composed of
- individuals and groups from the broader community
- actively engage with one another in arts and arts
- activities inside and outside of the schools...Their
- creates a degree of consensus among the school board, the
- school superintendent, and major influential segments of
- the general community that the arts are an essential part
- * "School Districts with strong arts education programs
- generally have boards of education that provide a
- policy framework and environment for the arts."
- * "Superintendents who regularly articulate a vision for
- education are critically important to its successful
- implementation and stability."
- * "There is enough continuity in the school and community
- leadership to implement comprehensive arts education."
- "Many districts examined in this study have board
- members, superintendents, and/or district arts
- who have served in their districts for a decade or
- more...Stability in these formal leadership positions is
- important in pursuing a set of educational goals, while
- strong community traditions that embrace the arts are
- important factors in shaping a consensus supporting arts
- * "District arts coordinators facilitate program
- implementation throughout a school system and maintain
- an environment of support for arts education."
- "Effective coordinators play a number of crucial roles
- and provide several vital services:
- - They are often the staff member most actively
- engaged with influential segments of the community...
- - Board members credit arts coordinators with keeping
- "the arts on the table" during budget sessions.
- - They negotiate between board and central office
- policies and school-level decision making, an
- critical role as districts move towards site-based
- - They often participate with school-level leadership
- in the screening and hiring of teachers.
- - Teachers in turn cite the role of district coordinator
- in facilitating communication among individual schools
- and in fostering the climate of support for arts education
- the community and district."
- * "School prinicpals who collectively support the policy
- arts education for all students often are instrumental in
- policy's successful district-wide implementation."
- "For a district as a whole to sustain the successful
- implementation of arts education for its students, a
- sufficient number of these building-level leaders must
- personally value the arts or be persuaded by other
- considerations to make them an important aspect of the
- school. In view of the national trend to site-based
- management, this factor is critical."
- * "Effective teachers of the arts are allowed to - indeed
- encouraged to - continue to learn and grow in mastery of
- their art form as well as in their teaching competence."
- "Whatever their medium or metier, teachers who also
- pursue their artistic life repeatedly told researchers for
study that the value placed on the professional quality of
art by administrators stimulates and refreshes their
- commitment both to their art and to teaching.
in turn, pointed out that the best teachers stay actively
in their art form through performances in district and
- * "School leaders in districts with strong, system-wide
- education seize opportunities to make their programs
- known throughout the community in order to secure support
and funding for them." "Exhibition spaces and performance
venues in the schools are made available to students, faculty,
and community artists. Free tickets are provided to students,
staff, and faculty for attendance at community arts events.
district provided free piano lessons to all district staff.
- create week-long festivals of the arts engaging the
- and community organizations." "Principals told
- that parents who never come to school for parent-teacher
conferences will come to see their child perform, creating
opportunities for building relationships important to the
- * "Strong arts programs in the elementary school years
- the foundation for strong system-wide programs."
- "Elementary programs establish a foundation in the arts
- for all students, not just for those in specialized programs
- those who choose an arts course of study in the high
- Moreover, in some art forms such as instrumental music, a
- long period of time is needed for students to achieve
- a basic level of proficiency. If such instruction is not
- in elementary grades, a district will not have quality
- programs at the secondary level."
- * "School leaders in these districts provide specialized
- programs as part of their broad strategy for securing and
- sustaining community support for the district's overall
- educational goals." "Districts examined in this study
a wide range of specialized programs for students of the arts,
including magnet schools, Advanced Placement programs, and
- summer and weekend programs.....Students studying the
- arts in these specialized programs expressed to
- their intense pride in and commitment to their work."
- * "Many districts in this study employ state or national
- policies and programs to advance arts education."
mandates, and funding from the state or national levels, will
not of themselves forge the community/school consensus
required for district-wide arts education. But committed
marshalled such forces to strengthen the consensus...."
- * "School leaders in this study advise the adoption of a
- comprehensive vision and plan for arts education but
its incremental implementation."
- * "School districts that succeed in advancing arts
- promote reflective practices at all levels of the schools to
quality." "A few districts...used portfolio review for evaluations
- principals and teachers as well as students. Others
- teachers to set themselves a challenge within their art form
will be addressed and assessed throughout the year - composing
new music for a choral group, for instance."
- "...A level of agreement among formal and informal
- leadership in the community and school on the importance
- of arts education is essential. Implementing and
- that agreement requires a sufficient presence of the
- success factors to achieve a level of quality that keeps
- consensus intact..."
- For more information on this study, including case studies of
the schools examined, visit the website: www.pcah.gov/gaa/study_findings.html
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