Defining Quality in Arts Education

Arts Education Demonstration Project of the Marin Community Foundation

Teachers key in creating equal access to arts education

Having recently attended and presented about the Arts Education Demonstration Project (AEDP) at the January, 2015 CA Create Conference, I wanted to share a few thoughts.  If the vision of equal access to high quality arts education in our state is to become a reality, teachers like those in the AEDP project will be key players in helping more teachers find ways to integrate the arts into their curriculum and find connections to Common Core Standards.  Reaching the huge number of teachers in this state, many of whom have had little access to arts instruction themselves, will be an enourmous undertaking. Research has shown that 40-80 hours of professional development is necessary for any significant change in teaching practice.


In the AEDP we chose to offer intensive professional development in a two pronged approach.  We start each year with a 3-day Summer Arts Institute where teachers become artists themselves experiencing the joy and intellectual challenge of creating their own art whether it be in dance, music, theatre or visual arts.  Then during the school year, teachers need continued support to implement the ideas they explored in the summer, so we send Arts Integration Planners into grade level groups of teachers to provide ongoing experiences appropriate for the grade level, collaborative curriculum planning and in some cases modeling what it all looks like in the teacher’s classroom. We’ve built some very lively collegial relationships with teachers and some have gone on to lead professional development for their peers in learning communities and through the Marin County Office of Education, reaching out to more schools.


Full time arts teachers in the project have also attended the Summer Institutes and are finding new roles in their school communities as collaborators with other staff, developing deep level connections between disciplines, and bringing the arts out of the margins and into the center of school culture.


These things have all contributed to a culture shift at these schools. At the conference we represented the shift with this graphic. Collaboration and creation has influenced the way teachers work together as well as the way students interact and engage. Everyone is asking important questions and co-creating new knowledge. 


For more details turn to the Resources section of the website “Tools and Protocols” and view videos about the Arts Integration Planner and our Professional Development in the Program Documentation section.


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