Coordinated Delivery = Integrated Approach?

Since we’re being highlighted over at the Americans for the Arts blog salon this week, I thought I would try to highlight some of their previous posts on integration by various perspectives in the field as a way to continue the dialogue here on EducationCloset.  One of the posts I discovered provided such great thought-provoking information. I knew that I needed to share it here to gain your understandings as well.  In the recent post It Takes a Village (Part 1) Kristen Engebretsen highlights a trending option of “Coordinated Delivery” and briefly alludes to its use as an integrated arts approach.

Essentially, the Coordinated Delivery model as described in the post works through both the instructional methodology, skills and delivery of the Arts through various school stakeholders and partners them with community organizations and leadership to build a strong level of Arts teaching and learning for all.  I certainly agree with these tenets and feel that it is essential to build those community partnerships and leverage the resources you have at all levels (national, state and local) to ensure high-quality Arts education.  However, when it comes to an Integrated Arts approach, I have a few concerns with the first leg of the stool: the delivery.

Take a look at the model below:

Coordinated Delivery, Integrated Approach, Education Closet

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In this model, it identifies partnerships between arts teachers, artists and general classroom teachers in a variety of ways to deliver instruction in the arts.  Overall, I think this can be very powerful.  Yet, partnerships can be very surface-level affairs.  Many classroom teachers perceive arts instruction in their classroom to mean putting together a shadow box or creating a collage.  There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, though it’s not necessarily arts instruction.  It’s using the arts as a medium to share a product. However, the delivery and development of the arts processes are often missing.

This is where authentic Arts Integration collaboration becomes critical.

Collaborations are so much more than partnerships.  Think about any Artist in Residence you’ve had over the years.  Some come in, perform or share their art and provide an additional planning time for teachers.  Possibly consider this a partnership.  Yet, the most meaningful residencies occur when the teachers are active participants and leaders WITH the artist.  That takes a great deal of development and time in order to foster that understanding.

In terms of partnerships with other organizations, I agree that these are critical to the success of any program, but especially to Arts education.  We don’t do this intentionally enough in education and tend to live in our own little bubbles.  This outline is a reminder to us to be proactive in this approach and that there is much value for both parties in a public-private partnership.  We need to be careful, however, in how and what we approach so that we are always maintaining the integrity of instruction with our students and working with organizations that help us to facilitate that elegant fit.


ArtsBlog provides a comparison of two programs that are currently using the Coordinated Delivery platform with self-proclaimed success.  I certainly applaud these efforts and recognize the tremendous work that went into developing and executing these programs.  However, I’m still coming back to…is this really integrated arts delivery?  I’m just not convinced.  I definitely see it as Arts Advocacy and even a new model for Arts instruction, but the integration part seems fairly weak to me.

What are your thoughts?  Am I missing the mark here – is there a key Arts Integration element that I’m just not seeing?  Let’s keep this critical dialogue moving forward as we look at 21st century models of integrated delivery methods!