In recent years many school districts have had to restructure their arts curriculums to meet the growing emphasis on standards that is central to most school reform. This unique collection is meant to assist educators, policymakers, grantmakers and other stakeholders by focusing on the potential benefits of arts education for students and communities alike, and providing examples of creative ways school districts are handling their constraints.

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Involving Youth in the Arts Project: Phase II -- Focus Groups on Next Generation Leadership

April 1, 2009

As a follow-up on the 2007 report Involving Youth in Non Profit Arts Organization, offers findings and recommendations from arts organization administrators of various ages on bridging generational gaps and recruiting and retaining younger leaders.

Student Outcomes

The Arts Advantage: Expanding Arts Education in the Boston Public Schools

February 12, 2009

Presents findings from a survey on the availability of arts education in the city's public schools, relevant school traits, funding needs, and partners. Offers recommendations and strategies for a three-year expansion plan. Highlights best practices.

Student Outcomes

2008 Arts Education Performance Indicators Report

February 11, 2009

The 2008 Arts Education Performance Indicators Report shows an increase in the number of school districts that are building infrastructure in this area, demonstrating a long-term commitment to improving arts education. The report is issued periodically by the Arts Commission as part of the county's regional Arts for All initiative to return quality, sequential arts education to the county's 81 school districts. Overall progress includes: 64 percent of districts report having an arts education policy, compared to 37 percent in 2005. 61 percent of districts report a board-adopted arts education plan or indicated they are developing one, compared to 35 percent in 2005. 39 percent of districts report having an arts coordinator, compared to 12 percent in 2005. 16 percent report having a 400 to 1 ratio of students to credentialed arts teachers, compared to 10 percent reporting that ratio in 2005. 98 percent of districts report using general fund budgets to support arts education programs (sources of arts ed budgets were not included in previous surveys). The 2008 AEPI Report is based on self-reported data from superintendents, assistant superintendents, directors of curriculum and/or district arts coordinators. Of the 81 school districts, 72 responded.

Classroom Examples

An Unfinished Canvas: Teacher Preparation, Instructional Delivery, and Professional Development in the Arts

May 18, 2008

Based on surveys, interviews, and secondary data analyses, identifies deficiencies in teacher preparation, instruction, and development in the arts in California, and recommends minimum training requirements and support for professional development.

Classroom Examples; Program Models

Deconstructing Engagement: A First Generation Report on the ArtsSmarts Student Engagement Questionnaire

October 12, 2007

During the school year 2006-2007, ArtsSmarts representatives collaborated with Karen Hume to design a questionnaire to measure students' engagement before and after ArtsSmarts programs. The questionnaire was administered to a large number of students who were being taught by an ArtsSmarts team comprised of an artist and a teacher. ArtsSmarts uses an innovative approach to arts integration, by allowing the self construction of programming in classrooms; and by acting as a facilitator in providing resources for artists and teachers teams develop programming for students in their classrooms. This programming develops a context where student learning and engagement in tasks and activities can take place. ArtsSmarts does not dictate this creative process; rather, it plays a supportive role in acting as a reference point for the teacher-artist teams to rely on. This approach not only allows for the innovation to evolve organically from the generation of the artist-teacher teams to student interaction, but also excites the creative learning process within the classroom. This report is a summary of the results from this first administration of the ArtsSmarts Student Engagement Questionnaire (i.e., first generation). The overall purpose of this report is firstly to examine student engagement, and secondly to examine the quality of the questionnaire, for further refinements. This report has three areas of focus: 1. To summarize the responses of students who completed the questionnaire.2. To compare student engagement before and after intervention.3. To identify strengths and weakness in the questionnaire for further revisions.

Student Outcomes

Engaged in Learning: The ArtsSmarts Model

February 5, 2007

Approximately a dozen internal research studies into student learning and program effectiveness were conducted during ArtsSmarts' first eight years. In the spring of 2006, we compiled the results of those studies, along with a like number of reports by outside researchers, to create a synthesis of possible directions for future work. Although we used a small sample of available outside studies, it was immediately and glaringly evident that the arts and educational communities are hungering for research that will "help us understand what the arts learning experience is for children, and what characteristics of that experience are likely to travel across domains of learning" (Deasy, 2002:99). It was equally evident to all ArtsSmarts partners that, while future ArtsSmarts research could be taken in any number of directions, it made the most sense to identify and build from ArtsSmarts' own strengths and successes. We also felt the need to align the research direction and the methods of data collection with our intended audiences.Different groups would find different aspects of ArtsSmarts compelling, and distinctly different types of data would be required for each. Partners identified educators (teachers, administrators, and senior Board office personnel) as the audience they most wanted to reach.With that in mind, the decision was made to develop a theory of learning that would serve the dual purposes of explaining ArtsSmarts' impact in Canadian classrooms and framing the research work of the next few years. We felt that establishing an ArtsSmarts theory of learning would help to answer the question, "If ArtsSmarts didn't exist, what would be lost?" Further, a theory of learning would assist teachers, artists and partners in identifying key, essential components of the ArtsSmarts experience, and would also prevent ArtsSmarts from being viewed as a pleasant but unnecessary add-on to classroom activity. The paper that follows develops an ArtsSmarts theory of learning centred on the concept of student engagement.

Classroom Examples

Walking Tall in the Hall: A Mapping Review of ArtsSmarts Projects in Aboriginal Settings Across Canada

December 1, 2006

The objective of this mapping review is to provide a 'snapshot' of the impacts of a variety of ArtsSmarts projects on teachers, students, and communities in 15 off-reserve Aboriginal communities. Research was conducted between April 1 and August 30, 2006 using surveys, interviews, focus groups, document review and selected site visits. The projects themselves were undertaken at both the elementary and secondary school levels and varied considerably in numbers of participants (8 -- 185), length of project (1 day -- 6 months), number of teachers involved (1 -- 8), and art forms explored. All projects received ArtsSmarts funding, averaging $4,405 (excluding one large grant of $89,000). These projects have taught a number of important lessons about ArtsSmarts as an intervention. They are centred around four broad questions: What works for schools?What are the indicators of and contributing factors to success?What are the components of successful classroom partnerships?What can be done to transfer or expand success to other schools?

Student Outcomes

Arts In Focus

May 4, 2001

Arts in Focus: Los Angeles Countywide Arts Education Survey is the largest, most detailed survey on arts education in Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the United States. The county has 1,745 schools with 1.7 million students in 82 school districts. The goal of the survey was to obtain a panoramic view of arts education across this diverse landscape. Data was obtained through in-depth interviewing at the district level, just one part of the chain of educational provision. The students in the districts covered in this survey represent 27% of all students enrolled in public schools K-12 in the state of California and 3.4% of all students enrolled in public schools K-12 in the nation. The survey reveals several fundamental contradictions.

Classroom Examples; Funding Trends