Our Process

The integrated arts program was designed to meet school  improvement needs through the professional development provided to teachers.  Teachers were required to meet the demands of designing and planning an arts  integrated curriculum and to implement the performance-­based assessment of the  project.  The program was intense and demanding on teacher time.  In  addition, the administration and governing boards were informed and involved in  various aspects of the process. The project implement various strategies and  opportunities to involve the communities.

Master teaching artists in creative writing, dance,  drama/theater, music, photography/media arts and the visual arts were key  assets to the project.  The master teaching artists were placed in  each school for a  2 - 3  week residency.   The length of the residency was based on the needs  indicated in arts integration UbD curriculum  planning template, which was completed by the classroom teacher in  collaboration with the artist.  The teacher and the artist  combine expertise to develop the teaching template originated by the classroom  teacher’s overall instructional  plan.  The teachers and the artists working relationship was continually  growing, which significantly improves the on – going process.  The project has benefited and grown each year  from the growing collaboration and communication between teachers and  artists.

The evaluation process was designed to continuously inform the  professional development needs, and to improve the classroom instruction  and student performance.   Teachers,  artists and students were assessed for their growth in teaching and learning.  Models of evaluating in and through the arts have been designed.  The pedagogical foundation for the  assessments was performance based.  The evaluator for the project was  Dr. Lawrence Mello.  Dr. Mello and  Karen Husted, the project director, developed the criteria for teacher and  student evaluations. Artists were evaluated by the classroom teachers with an  adaptation of a rubric developed by Young Audiences.  The project director gives the artists on-going  feedback and professional development regarding their work and collaboration  with the teachers. The project was being measured on two levels: 1) teacher/artist  planning and implementation, 2) student achievement in arts integration  learning by scoring the students ability to articulate the process to create their products and to relate the artistic work to their world.

The goal of the assessment process was to honor the discrete  disciplines, but at the same time encourage students to see the learning  experience as a unified whole that seeks and creates connections with other  disciplines.  Further the assessment  process teaches the standards while the curriculum, instruction, and assessment  worked together to produce a unified expectation.

Sustainability  was an important element in the design of the entire project.   The artists residencies were designed to  build knowledge and skills the teacher can replicate.  In addition, the curriculum planning template  and assessment models were tools created to provide a foundation for  sustainability.

Teachers  mentored new teachers at three sites.  In  addition, sites were seeking funding and other processes to create a  sustainable arts integration site.  Throughout the process teachers were given resources to assist them in  creating sustainability.

Teachers, who were not participating in the arts integration project were interested in  becoming part of the process and in some cases neighboring schools had become very interested in using arts integration as a reform method at their site.