Arts Education: Results

Arts Education: Results

Highlights of progress through April 2011

Strategy 1: Conduct demonstration projects that meet state arts education standards

The demonstration projects were initially implemented in Larkspur and Sausalito Marin City School Districts. Across the two districts, 1,723 students have received arts education delivered through discrete (stand-alone) programs and instruction integrated into classroom subjects.

In Larkspur, visual arts education has been implemented, and theater, music, and dance are in development. District planning processes are addressing the need for appropriate facilities for arts instruction and performance. Principals are demonstrating advocacy for the arts, and the development of an arts education infrastructure is continuing to progress. Instructional quality and collaborative practice are showing improvement.

In Sausalito Marin City, the district is focusing on strengthening arts instruction in visual arts and music including curriculum development, lesson planning, and professional development activities.

Since the launch of the demonstration project, teachers and consultants have noticed improvements in the quality of student art work. Staff reports an increase in student confidence in the arts, an improved use of arts vocabulary, and a greater interest in using free time to create and enjoy the arts. Students who have more regular arts instruction are showing even greater improvements, suggesting the need to provide arts instruction regularly in order to achieve a certain level of competency and alignment with grade-level standards.

In the continuing work of the demonstration project, teachers report appreciating and benefitting from a more collegial approach to instructional planning that’s modeled and facilitated through the development of the project. The reflective practices that are being encouraged and developed in teachers have the potential to impact instruction and assessment in other academic areas. By reflecting on student work, teachers report that they are getting to know their students individually and are becoming more intentional about how they approach evaluating student learning.

Developing a standards-based sequential arts education program in all four arts disciplines is a complex process, with personnel designing and delivering programming simultaneously. Students are learning new arts skills without having the foundational experience they might have gained if arts education had been part of their coursework since kindergarten. Teachers are learning to integrate the arts into science, math, language arts, and social studies, requiring them to revamp lesson plans, learn new instructional methods, and develop their confidence in integrating the arts as part of the curriculum. Program development is further complicated by the challenge of finding time to work collaboratively across grade levels and subject areas and with arts teachers and professionals to plan programs and curriculum. Scaling program development is critical to allow for careful program design, testing and revision of lessons, development of assessment tools, professional development, and sustainability planning.

Strategy 2: Support innovative arts programs for underserved Marin students

This approach supports innovative arts programming for underserved students, including those who are low-income; students of color; those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ); immigrants; students with learning differences; and students attending under-resourced schools. Students are benefitting from a range of arts programs, including multicultural dance and music, poetry, and visual arts. To date, 1,921 students have received arts education programming, and by the end of the fiscal year, over 8,000 students are expected to have been reached.

By the numbers:

Area of Measurement As of April 2011 Goal of Five-Year Plan
Number of students who have received arts education instruction in the demonstration districts 1,723/yr 1,500/year
Number of underserved students taking part in arts and cultural programs in and out of school 1,921 (for period 9/10-12/10) 14,000

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