Arts Educator 2.0 Work Featured at the Arts Education Partnership Forum in Washington, DC

On Saturday April 11th Jamie Kasper presented our Collaborative Inquiry Group's work at the Arts Education Partnership Forum in Washington, DC in two workshop sessions. Cory Wilkerson assisted and answered questions from the perspective of a facilitator. After an icebreaker exercise designed to explore the ways in which we identify ourselves and identify with others, Jamie asked the group to consider how one might provide professional inquiry that would be as individual as their responses. Then collectively, the group explored three questions:
What is inquiry?
How can we use inquiry in professional development?
How can we measure learning?

Each segment was explored using examples from documentation on the Arts Educator wiki followed by interactive question and answer sessions.

What is inquiry?
Jamie played a voice thread, in which some of our teachers explored the differences between collaborative inquiry and other more traditional means of professional development with an asynchronous conversation documented online. Then she shared film from Day 3 at the Intermediate Unit showing each Collaborative Inquiry group sharing their inquiry question. The audience in both sessions were impressed by the quality of the questions our teachers chose and wanted to know more about the process that produced such depth.

How can we use inquiry in professional development?
Jamie shared a visual showing the way in which the hours of instruction were broken up for participants- including an arts experience combined with a line of inquiry to explore, a technology exploration hour, collaborative inquiry group working time and shared time to close each day. Jamie also shared the text the facilitators have been reading: The Reflective Educator's Guide to Professional Development. The audience posed questions about the ways in which the facilitators structured the time, the motivation and engagement of the teachers, the ways in which facilitators used technology to create meeting opportunities and the ways in which facilitators helped their teachers learn new technology.

How can we measure the learning?
Jamie shared samples from the particpants' documentation of hours and stressed the ways each individual spent their time pursuing their inquiry. Next she shared examples from each Inquiry Group's documentation of their work, which span a broad range of methods including blogs, Nings, wiki's and journals, she closed with some documentation showing quantitative student data gathered by one of the inquiry groups.

Finally Jamie ended with video footage of our participants, showing a member of each group talking about their process of learning. The sessions were well attended, and filled with Arts Education stake holders in all areas of Arts Education from around the nation- researchers, educators, administrators, Arts Council chairs, teaching artists, Arts Advocates, State Arts Directors. Across the board the response was praise for the amazing work our teachers have done and gratitude for the sharing of our results. "What an amazing gift you have given the field" we were told.

To quote Jamie:
"In the room were people representing the US Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts, various national arts organizations, school districts, and other stakeholders in arts education. One of the most notable attendees was Bob Sabol, the incoming NAEA president and someone whose research helped to form our collaborative inquiry model. Working with you all during this last year and embarking on our journey together has been wonderful. However, I didn't realize how truly revolutionary our work was until I showed some of your documentation to this room full of people. I'm not exaggerating when I say that jaws almost hit the floor, and people were literally stunned into silence to see the amount and quality of work that you've done this year. One woman grew up in Fayette County and was beyond impressed with the effort that she saw."


AEP FORUM SESSION NOTES

Day One- Opening Session
See also Jamie Kasper's live blog at PA Arts Blog


Opening Remarks
Arts Education Partnership Chair Sandra Ruppert gave opening remarks.
She welcomed us all to Washington and reminded us that though there are many challenges today, however also many opportunities. We know more and more about how children learn. How will we realize our vision for education in the arts? We need courageous leaders. This has driven the theme for this forum "States of Change".

"Leadership is not synonymous with power, nor is it synonymous with status, and certainly not with age. All of us must step forward at our level." - Sandra Ruppert

"Leaders must help people believe that they can be effective...that they can realize their vision” - John W. Gardner

How do leaders distinguish themselves? According to Gardner, they think long term, they understand beyond their horizons, they reach beyond their jurisdiction and bring people together, and they put emphasis on vision, values. Leaders understand that leaders must teach. Leaders must not be afraid to take risks. According to Gardner - every leader has moments when he is not sure whether his people are following him or chasing him.

John Gardner chaired the committee that created the first Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965- it is fitting to consider his remarks in the year of the reauthorization.

Rachel Goslins spoke next, President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. This is an advisory committee comprised of leaders in the arts and humanities.

"Education is not a filling of a bucket but a lighting of a fire."

She spoke of the Coming up Taller awards- awards for after school arts education. The opening performance will be from the Sitar Arts Center - a Coming up Taller Arts Award winner. Sitar sits near one of the largest gang turfs in Washington DC, and they make it their mission to be sure that when the kids get out of school they come down the hill to them rather than up the hill to the gangs.

What followed was a delightful performance by young musicians beginning with a shy young twelve year old girl in a red tee shirt with the a smoky voice that filled the room followed by a joyous instrumental version of Michael Jackson's "Beat It" that brought the room to its feet. A testimony to the power of the arts.


Plenary Session: "A Well-Rounded Education in the 21st Century"
Jonathan Katz - chairman NASAA, Gene Wilhoit, Executive Director CCSSO, Sarah Cunningham, Director of Arts Education at NEA, Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Arts Education, Rocco Landesman, chairman of NEA - this is an historic occasion to have all of these leaders present at an AEP forum.

First to speak - Rocco Landesman, National Endowment for the Arts, Chair

In Arts Education we often spend a lot of time speaking with those that agree with us. "Growing the size of the choir" was one of the goals of the Arts Education Partnership. The NEA has $15 MM for learning in the arts. Rocco has challenged his staff to make sure that there is at least one Arts Education grant for every district in this country. Data exists that Arts Education produces those who become arts events attendees. Arts Education is more than this. Daniel Pink, Howard Gardner, etc. all prove that arts improve school attendance and learning. Arts provide us with new ways of thinking - help maintain our competitive edge by generating innovation and creativity. Mr. Landesman spoke of his background- a family of arts folk- however he had little experience with arts education and so is trying to visit areas of the country and learn by meeting with Arts Education stake holders- schools, arts institutions, etc.

He noted that when he refers to Arts Education for the purposes of this discussion he will refer to Arts Education in public schools K-12. What is the role for the NEA and other non profit organizations working in Arts Education?

"It is our job to support and expand the work of the public schools, but the public schools should not expect us to own Arts Education. …We have a second job- a role of offering models for better learning environments.”

He feels that the best arts education is afforded by classroom teachers, arts specialists, teaching artists and families working together. He also noted that although this language is new to him- it should be "sequential, scaffolded and standards based." He cited a model called Blueprints for Teaching and Learning in the Arts

"I am worried that arts education over the past decades has been defined by budget cuts….You can't move the ball down the field if you are constantly looking over your shoulder to see who will tackle you." - Rocco Landesman

We need to move the ball down the field. How? Arts fully infused throughout the curriculum throughout the day. Can the arts actually change learning systems? Can they? The answer is yes. Instead of trying to come to the table - why don't we just build a new one. He referred to STEM and STEAM - inserting the Arts in STEM. He feels there is a more important question. He offered:

Teams and Collaboration - Affinity Spaces - Strategy

Solitary students sitting at lone desks are no longer good enough. In traditional classrooms knowledge moves only in one direction. Contrast this with the arts- affinity spaces- knowledge moving in many directions simultaneously.

He spoke of silos- we teach in silos- but this is not the real world. Today strategy- data storage and retrieval has become so advanced and so easy that rote memorization is no longer vital. Students need to be able to deploy facts through strategies that are interesting and insightful.

Project Based Learning- and the arts are a natural for this- teams, collaboration, affinity spaces, and strategy. He also spoke passionately of the importance of stressing the value of failure- and the ability to persevere. "Taking the sting out of success and putting the joy into failure”- citing examples from the arts.

"let's make sure that the arts are in our schools, every child, every day" - Rocco Landesman

Q & A Session
Q- If only schools that are ready to partner should partner with non-profits what are the qualities of a school ready to partner?
A- (from Sarah Cunningham) I think we can talk to our partners from SEADAE who are in the room to help identify the qualities.

Q- I noticed you did not identify the role of higher education - do you see a role for higher education?
A- (From Rocco Landesman) I think there is a big role. We are not ignoring that and haven't forgotten.

Q- When you talk about grants for every district- are there plans for how that will work?
A- (From Rocco Landesman) I have given the mandate, I believe we have the funds... we have been on the road studying the map to find where are the funds needed. (From Sarah Cunningham) We are already working on that.

Q- When I think about failure and the concept around the standards I think there is a bridge piece needed - how do we move from standards based to this risk taking- what are your thoughts?
A- (Rocco Landesman) The first thing we need is a commitment from the schools that the be all and end all is not standardized tests. We can't simply be training teachers to teach kids to do tests. You need to address the whole ethos of the school and its mission. I know that Arne Duncan of the Dept of Education feels similarly.

Next Gene Wilhout, Executive Director of CCSSO spoke to introduce Arne Duncan.

Sec. Duncan spoke to the importance of Arts Education, agreeing with Mr. Landesman he stated "The arts can no longer be treated as a frill." He noted that from Thomas Jefferson on it has been felt that a strong liberal arts education was essential to creating a strong citizenry. He noted that students with disabilities or who are at risk or in poverty often do not get access to the arts. He noted that his father an educator and banjo player saw the dual mission of students to prepare student in their subject but also for life. He was "exposed through music to the vastness of the world itself". "The fact is that most students who take the arts are not going to go on to become professional musicians, dancers, painters or actors" yet every student needs the skills the arts teach.

According to President Obama art speaks to a shared yearning ... for beauty... for a good story...

He spoke of his tour across the country in which he heard teachers, especially in disadvantaged schools speak of the narrowing of the curriculum and said we must be "perpetually vigilant" to make certain that public schools do not narrow the curriculum. Many schools are often falling short of providing an engaging balanced curriculum that fails to engage curiosity or stimulate learning. We know from research that access to a challenging high school curriculum has more impact on college success than test scores.

In the coming debate he believes that arts education can help build the case for a well rounded curriculum in three ways
- the arts significantly affect student achievement
- the arts increase creativity
- the arts are valuable for their own sake but also encourage students to create and appreciate works of arts

He cited "Doing Well and Doing Good by Doing Art" - James Catterall

He noted that STEM courses are essential for students in the 21st century however "The fact is that good arts programs accomplish the same things." "Knowledge is not good enough for students in today's market"

He quoted a source that says that knowledge is not good enough- because knowledge is limited but imagination embraces the entire world.

"Let me tell you what we cannot do" "We will not endorse a particular curriculum" "We will continue to require districts use evidence based curriculum"

He wants to assure us that there is a wish for a well balanced curriculum. A movement away from teach to the test. He cited plans to take the $40 MM for arts education that now goes to a few grants and organizations and replace it with a competitive larger pool that includes (he named the arts and many other non tested subjects)

Operative phrases - outcomes, high quality arts instruction. He cited the challenges: schools without arts education in all four disciplines, cutbacks, etc.

Q- Title I - When funds go it is the poor kids who suffer the most; other children will have private opportunities. In Los Angeles, Title I funds- there has been a fuzziness at best about using Title I funds for the Arts. Can you please unfuzzy this?
A- (Arne Duncan) I am happy to follow up with you or the State Superintendent- I am happy to have a conference call with them next week or whenever it might be. These are tough issues. Every state is being hurt today financially. I don't have easy answers on this, but we have to continue to fund those things that make a difference to student's lives and this (the arts) is one of those things. Band, drama, whatever is often the tool that reduces drop out rates.
Q- Scott Shuler: Should schools that fail to provide a complete core curriculum, including the Arts, receive no funding and should states that provide a complete curriculum including the Arts receive RTTT funding?
A- Good question. We want to provide clear carrots but also sticks as well. RTTT has been 4 Billion - the amount of change we are seeing around the country has been extraordinary. We want to... raise the bar for all students and close the achievement gap. ... and there are lots of ways to get there...one of the best ways is a well balanced curriculum. By far... the most concern was the narrowing of the curriculum. We are trying to put ..funds out there.. we also are going to challenge folks when it is not happening. .. More and more we have to hold folks accountable...what results are we getting for these funds...what changes..

Q- My question relates to this narrowing of the curriculum. It seems that the standardized testing requirement is the culprit in this narrowing. In the new reauthorization there is still that emphasis. Schools will still be required.. hence the arts get furloughed again. How do you see ramping up this well rounded education more quickly than waiting down the road...?
A- ...”that is a complex question”.. (He noted that he felt standards were part of the problem... many states don't have high standards. He cited the Common Core standards and noted that it will be choppy but better standards are coming. Secondly he cited a need for better assessments. There will be some choppiness and transition. In the interim we must do a better job of focusing on percentage of change rather than proficient levels. ... get the idea of growth and gain out in a better way. Final thing is to .. get a content rich curriculum.)
"I don't think we need to run from accountability .we have to do a better job to get there."

Q- If these tests or strategies are opposite what you are trying to accomplish- any chance you will consider a moratorium?
A- It’s a fair question. Right now.. far too many students are not graduating... I don't think we can afford to wait for a couple of years. I think this next generation of assessments will be a quantum leap... we need to have honest conversations... are we reducing drop out rates? (are students getting better?)

Q- There is something about approaching education reform at the juncture we are at that we are missing - how can we improve how teachers are educated so that teachers are required to take courses in the arts and understand arts integration?
A- A great question - another hour's topic. The first thing I heard was the narrowing of the curriculum, the second thing I heard was about the pipeline.. we have to look at how teachers are educated. ... teaching future teachers how to use data is hugely important.. teaching students cultural competence...
(He noted that our teachers do not reflect our cultural diversity. ...) "I am a big fan of alternate certification"

Q- from Heather Noonan: Thank you for your remarks...What do you think we can do to help put in the spotlight that there is not equitable access to arts education?
A- If we as a country are serious about closing the achievement gap we need to get serious about closing the opportunity gap. (How do we make sure all students have access to a well rounded education, to a rigorous curriculum..) We are going to do everything we can to talk about not just the achievement gap but the opportunity gap. "I think so many people in our country think that poverty is destined...that it is ok to have 2 track system" ... "We are going to try to put our funds behind those places, where it is working.."



Session: Don't Worry I Got It: the Shape of Shared Leadership for a New Decade

From Columbia College of Chicago
Looking not at cross generational groups, this is not about the transition of power but the expansion of power using shared leadership.

After a framing exercise - the group spoke about a group of administers in Chicago that has joined to explore issues in the arts in forums and is garnering attention. (CAEF) which has been sponsoring forums with a broad range of issues - creating their own professional development.

This sparked a discussion about the group:

Question: You've talked about Arts people talking to Arts people- how will you do this? Unless you figure out how to deal with policy makers.. you have to figure out how to do this. In order to change the ethos in the schools you have to change policy makers.

Answer: We have brought together leaders from all areas - in a project called Transitions. Very long term project working on visual literacy for long term teacher change. This session is emerging as one aspect of this work.

Comment: I am getting to my assembly woman/men - she described outreach to policy makers. (champion development)
Maybe it is as simple as us all lighting a fire under ourselves to go knock on someone's door.

Leaders comment: Whoever it is there are certain rules of engagement that work across the board... to create a community of learners. Hands on learning... the Arts Integration Learning Spiral lists seen points that have been developed for successful programs.

Comment: I teach graduating seniors in dance and they are terrified. Trying to get them to understand that they have the skills that they need already to persevere. I ask them to look up the concept of transition towns. Transtion towns are communities that get together and decide they are going to transition to the kinds of living needed for the 21st century. They respond "I could never do that because they need so much money".

Comment: What is the impact that the members of the forum have seen in terms of going back to their organizations? I have been a part of organizations like this in Boston and it becomes more of a whining fest.

Answer: There is something empowering to know that we called it and people came. We called a forum and something like 200 people came. Having this outside venue to be a visible leader...you start going further. Maybe I have a voice...

Cynthia: There is also a critical mass right now (spectrum exercise coming up on pessimism and optimism) with funders really wanting to make an impact. She feels it is coming from the top down and from the bottom up. Their organization (CAEF) is getting some real attention.

Question: How do you go from group planning to group decision making.
Answer: Looking at models. Old model is sustainable, build, grow.. sometimes that can be confining... Right now it is sort of an old model of committee making... now that it is becoming bigger it is a hot debate..

Question: But you don't have any goals..
Answer: Cynthia: I think it is that people want to share resources.. it is so much more democratic and participatory than I've seen.

Again a question was raised about sustainability.. answer was that they are moving that direction, many questions, in the meantime they are creating professional development that is driven by the participants.

Cynthia named it an evolving thing.

Comment: When this is over has anyone given thought to the issue of implications for leadership in an environment of declining funds for arts.

Answer: Sean: the biggest thing that I've learned is to embrace the transitory culture

Comment: We need to think of ourselves as a community of practice and share in these kinds of ways.

Comment: There is a strong body of research and language and to be able to have these conversations allows us to take this and scatter it further.

Comment: What you have just mentioned is really key - the generation we are teaching are increasingly getting all of their information online. We as a field have to work to translate what we know.

Comment: There is a shortage of teachers but a growth in teaching artists- this is not an accident.

A second exercise for shifting identities. Raise conciousness about your own beliefs. Along with the them of shifting identities of where we stand...

Summation: the work that we are doing is shifting, the economy is shifting... we don't know where it is going to end.

Day Two

Opening Session
Sandra Ruppert began the day recognizing the volunteers and staff who made the forum possible. This was followed by a performance from the 2009 National Poetry Out Loud winner. Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation contest, material is chosen from the Poetry Out Loud anthology. There are more than 300,000 students participating.

The dynamic young man presenting performed a piece by Langston Hughes, "We Wear the Mask" by Paul Laurence Dunbar and finished to a standing ovation with "The Dance" by William Carlos Williams, a poem which was written in response to Peter Brueger's painting of the same name.

Plenary Session
Economic Reform and the Arts, hosted by Gene Wilhoit, director of Council of Chief States School Officers. Each member of the panel introduced themselves using visuals.

First to speak was Jane St. Clair Atkinson, North Carolina State Superintendent of Public Instruction. She noted that when she visits schools, principals want to take her to two places- either the arts education classes or career and tech classes. In North Carolina classes are required in dance, music and visual art K-8. Sharing pictures of herself visiting schools and on stage with dancers, she noted that what she feels is important is taking risks and developing partnerships.

The next speaker was Dr. Elizabeth Molina Morgan, Superintendent of the Washington County Public Schools in Maryland who was recently named National superintendent of the year. She shared that she came from a diverse cultural background in a working class family who valued the arts. She next shared visuals from the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts in Hagerstown, MD, and spoke of its creation. Washington County is a high poverty school district. The first piece of advice she gave came from the creation of this school. She advised that it is best not to worry about the funding, but instead to begin by simply begin dreaming what you would like to see. This school became the forefront of a revitalization of downtown. She contrasted images of the area at the time with beautiful images of the space then and today. She shared that everything about the school was controversial - beginning with adding another floor to accommodate dance studios. These examples parallel what she believes in - providing students with a rigorous college preparatory curriculum rooted in the arts. "You really can't have a world class education without a base in the arts."

Victoria Brown was our next speaker, the founding director of the Lucy School, an arts based School and Teacher Training Center in Middletown Maryland. She has a background in drama in the classroom from study in the UK. She works with teachers to develop arts integrated programs. She shared photographs of her building and the new green addition. Their policy is that the outdoors and the aesthetics of nature are important to an arts based school. Their visual arts program is modeled after Reggio Emila's approach to the visual arts- with an emphasis on observational drawing. The children have Visual Arts 3 times a week, Music 3 times a week and Drama 3 times a week. The Drama is the strongest piece- and children work on themes based around the drama. Editor's note: descriptions of methods of immersion using drama similar to this may be found by viewing Dorothy Heathcoate's methods.

The panel discussion followed.

Jane St. Clair Atkinson stated that it is clear that the Arts are vital if we are to be competitive as a nation. Dr. Molina Morgan affirmed that for schools to provide world class education all children need the Arts- "The arts should be a centerpiece in terms of school transformation." Her program includes a museum literacy program and arts infused throughout the curriculum. She advocates very strong, very focused integration. Victoria Brown noted that in her program the most amazing finding was the children's critical thinking and problem solving skills. In addition their curriculum (with a focus on stories from around the world) teaches diversity and global awareness.

June St. Clair Atkinson noted that she has found a relationship between the lowest performing schools and the lack of arts "when we look at our lowest performing schools- what we see is a lack of arts."

Gene: I'm going to challenge you all here- people may look at you and say what we see is very atypical. .... Is there a hope here? Be realistic.

Dr. Molina Morgan: No, I'm a very traditional educator.... but I think in order to have a full education, a really well rounded education.. and this goes to the core of what we define as educated- I don't think you can have a really educated person who hasn't steeped themselves in the Arts. ...What might make me a little bit different though is that I am a risk taker. ( She noted that it was extremely difficult to get the Arts school built in this impoverished area, however it has completely transformed Hagerstown, MD so that it has now become a destination.) "I recommend all of you if you really want to get an arts project off the ground link it to the revitalization of a building, of a town, of an area of decay"

Victoria Brown: Start small. I really think that everybody in this room could start an arts based school. It's just a matter of throwing your shoe over the fence. You have to go over the fence to get it. I do believe in starting small with a few very enthusiastic teachers.
(She recommended training a few master teachers, begin a small program in a school- once the parents see how successful the children are, they will demand more.)

Gene asked the group to address the question of beginnings- that some in the audience may feel that it is the states that are standing in the way.

June St. Clair Atkinson: We are looking at this in a myopic way. Arts educators can lead the way. We must show others how arts can be integral, how arts can help engage students in ways that we never thought about. We have ways to show today in ways we didn't have ten years ago, we can use technology.

Gene: Let’s address the economy... I don't see changes in the next few years...so we are saying to people lets create these programs.. (in bad economic times) How would you respond?

Dr. Molina Morgan: I always respond by saying that we built this program last year in the worst of ... (the economic downturn) double digit unemployment.. and we were successful. Again, link your program to revitalization.... What Barbara Ingram has done has put feet on the street. ... You have to sell people on the notion that this will be good for the economy.

Gene: Victoria, we can't all afford to do this... I bet you had special benefactors... most of our communities would not be able to do this.

Victoria: It was actually dependent on the nerve to borrow a lot of money. But you don't have to be in a pastoral location.. you can do this work. I think the universities can help us. If the university programs would add a requirement for every teacher to have some exposure to arts integration. Yes it takes much more than a 3 credit course.. but just that exposure... and then some MFA programs where teachers can then go and get a terminal degree to become experts in arts integration. ... It's much harder to go to a teacher who has been teaching for 20 years...start early and provide continuing support. Provide teachers time for planning every week so that they can have a unity of effort.

Gene: Who are your teachers?

Victoria: At first I thought that I had to find artists, and they are.. but what I found was most important was to get very high quality teachers

Dr. Molina Morgan: I think there are some very sneaky ways to get arts integration into the schools. She noted some examples: add arts based software. to the classroom .. Skype into arts events... summer programs in literacy that are arts based.

June spoke of a strategy of sending the message that arts education is a part of economic development. "One of our strategies is to look at our school improvement plan and to look at our lowest performing schools and see how those dollars can be used to move towards an arts infused model. Our model is the A + model.”

Gene: Everyone ought to take that note. Everyone is looking at Race to the Top- but there is more money in the lowest performing schools.

June: In our state a school can get up to $2MM per year for up to 4 years. (from this funding)

Gene: What we have tried is ... narrowing curriculum.. lets try something more exciting.

Gene asked the panel to speak to partnerships.

June mentioned Arts Councils as playing a vital role as a voice to make certain the arts are not left out. Another factor is professional development- they are starting a partnership with Lincoln Center for professional development for teachers.

Dr. Molina Morgan: It is very important to get partners who show up. The world is run by people who show up. I show up at many events. Talk to people informally and get these partnerships going.

Dr. Molina Morgan makes use of visiting artists - every other grade is exposed to this. Also partnerships with local community theatre groups, the rural heritage museum. "Grab as much as you can get. By showing up at many events I am able to grab more than I think I might otherwise"

Victoria spoke of the importance of community connection. Documentation on the wall- inviting the community in. "I think the most important partnership that we have is our parents." They use parents as documentation partners. Parents come and take pictures, interview students, interview teachers about their objectives. Parents who do this voice that they now understand how the arts are integrated and how the arts are involved in learning.

Q & A -

Q- I haven't heard any conversation yet about the new Core standards. A lot of the conversation that is happening is around the loss of the arts... my question is what are you seeing as to what the impact of the new core standards might have in terms of arts education?

Gene: Of course we want to be strong advocates and I think the reason that is, is this. Remember that the core standards are not prescriptions for how one teaches... it is the guidepost against which we are to operate. To me it is an equity issue. We have different expectations in this country depending upon where you live and who you are... we need to get behind that movement. It is important that you get engaged in those conversations .. Secondly there is a danger that is not being caused by the common core...the danger is we are laying those on a country that has narrowed the curriculum... a country that has diverted attention from arts.. so the tendency would be for them to pay more attention to math etc. I think this is a golden opportunity for the Arts to stand up and say .. “we know how to do this”. The big question that is coming is "how do we do that?"

June: I love vegetable soup. Why would I make that statement? What I see as our work is that we are gathering vegetables. It is critical that we know what should be at the common core in terms of mathematics and language arts.. (she spoke of including arts infusion in the mix) ... blended together as a delicious vegetable soup. That is why I feel it is so important for people to come together around the common core... then we can take the time (that has been spent) on identifying what should be taught and focus on how it should be taught... that will give the arts community to come together and focus on the how... The other potential with the common core is that we can come together and develop assessments that are deep and rich and not just multiple choice. And in that scenario, we can have the arts... we can ask students to apply facts and content in a way a student may not have seen before..


Q- I would like to also share that next year in Texas we will have K-12 requirements in fine arts. (Cited low performing schools in Dallas) The question that I ask is all of the current remedies assume the fact that the reason these schools (low performing schools in Dallas) are low performing is because they are not achieving on the standardized test, but the fact is that our low performing schools are low performing based on the graduation rates... We are really in a quandary.. We don't think we will have access to RTTT funds because we are not willing to close schools that have success on the standardized tests.. but it is really a problem of why the students are not engaged. Is this something you are seeing?

Elizabeth: ... our test scores have soared... some of these things we have acknowledged when you talk about career and tech ed..we've added courses such as game simulation... the new world capital is intellectual capital. I expect that kids who graduate from the Barbara Ingram school are going to go into all kinds of fields. When you learn how to perform you gain the confidence... We started out with a graduation rate of 78% we are now at 92%. ... I think it is in the way you do it.. integration.. operating on multiple tracks...

Gene: We have got to think about strategies... I can't think of a more exciting way to (engage) than with the Arts.

Q- Right now what we track kids on is a deficit model- looking for what is wrong. There is a great new hope called Response to Intervention. RTI is mostly about protocol, process, number of minutes and how you group. I would love to invite those of you who are interested in changing that conversation on intervention to join in forming an adhoc group... that's where a lot of money.. is going. In Los Angeles we are trying to change that conversation into talking about the arts as a powerful research based intervention. .. One of the things involved is tracking kids... not only for their deficits but also for .. their affinities, strengths, talents. If anyone here has developed that kind of tracking system we would like to hear that.

June: ..We have had curriculum and instruction professional development... we have goals in place to make sure that it is an integral part of our professional development delivery model.

Q- First a quick shout out to Lucy school. It is as good as the slides. In the work I do around the country I see very little high quality theatre work done with young kids. So here is my question. When Arne Duncan was in Chicago... he was very sympathetic and he said I know all the research in terms of.. the arts as intervention.. and it is your job to convince everybody.... and we really don't have the capacity of people on the front lines taking abuse. I don’t really have an answer now, I would like to thing out loud, and this is for us and you to think about how the responsibility doesn't get put back on the organizations who have ...(the least resources).. and it comes at a time where (many educators are scared for their jobs) What strategies can we get to help those of us who are developing from the ground up to carry the message?

June: Get married. Get married to the elective programs that exist in our schools. For example, Elizabeth mentioned how career and technical education fit together. Collectively the arts and career and tech integration can come together and discuss how what would be considered electives should not be electives..

Q- That is one strategy- join together with other disciplines, any more?

Elizabeth closed the session by responding with the importance of leadership- looking for people who have a strength of conviction. “Find leaders who will find ways to do it.”