Why Arts Integration?

As an educator, you’ve probably seen or been effected by one of these scenarios:

  • You have students in your classroom that work incredibly hard, but still struggle every day to “perform” on their assignments.
  • Your colleagues come into school looking stressed out, frustrated, and worried about how to get everything done.  It’s not even 9AM and already, they feel defeated.
  • You’ve seen students who typically get labeled as “difficult” light up the minute they walk into an art room or on stage.
  • As a leader, you want to support your staff and provide flexibility, but the reality is that you are being judged on test scores.

 

Sound familiar?  This is exactly what is going on in most schools today.  We know that creativity, innovative practices and flexibility is critical to meeting the needs of our students (and ourselves!) but the accountability structure that exists shoves all of that out of the way.

 

Let’s face it.  As much as we say that we want to provide an “optimal learning environment”, very little is actually changing about education in the 21st century.  We are bound by test scores and limited student achievement measures.

Here’s why arts integration is critical: because the approach provides an opportunity to bring back creativity and increase student achievement at the same time.

Sound impossible?  I promise you that it’s not.  Arts Integration is a research-based approach to teaching and learning that has proven results for the past 25 years.  For schools that commit to using arts integration with integrity, the results are astounding.  Schools that intentionally use arts integration find student achievement rises by 10% OR MORE across the board.

 

No longer can we say that creativity, innovation, and meaningful learning cannot exist in schools today.  Instead, schools must be brave enough to look beyond traditional approaches (which yield very little result) for approaches like Arts Integration and STEAM that have a proven track record of working.

 

What IS Arts Integration?

In order to truly get the most out of this approach, you must have a clear understanding of the true meaning of arts integration.  There are so many misconceptions out there (mostly from those who did not use the approach with integrity) which can lead to fear and weak results.  Take a look at this simple, yet powerful, explanation:

The Hallmarks of Arts Integration:

  • Content and Arts Standards are naturally aligned, taught and assessed equitably.

  • Students MUST have access to arts classes where arts skills and processes are taught explicitly by an arts educator.

  • Collaborative planning between content and arts educators is valued and scheduled intentionally.

  • Professional development for teachers and arts educators is provided in arts integration strategies and processes.

  • The entire school community (parents, organizations, businesses, etc) are partners with the school in support of the approach.

How to Get Started

This site serves as a professional development resource for you in the Arts Integration and STEAM approaches.  We offer free daily articles, monthly online workshops, videos, podcasts, and downloads to help support your efforts.

 

Additionally, if you are looking for a step-by-step process that we have used in schools all over the country, we have developed a comprehensive suite of online classes that you can take for PD hours or graduate credit.  We provide personalized facilitation in these classes, so you’ll have direct access to a member of our team at all times, each step of the way.

 

We also offer an online conference twice per year (in February and July) that features some of the brightest educators who are using arts integration and STEAM strategies with success each and every day.  We regularly have over 1,000 educators from around the world register for these events, which can be accessed live or on-demand.

Our goal is simple: to provide a space where classroom teachers and arts educators can work together, break down the silos and finally make a change in education for good through the arts.  We look forward to supporting you on your journey!