The three-year grant provides teachers at six at-risk schools with high-quality, ongoing professional training to teach their students about the arts and arts standards. These students receive arts-integrated lessons that are used to enhance their understanding and engagement in other core academic areas, including math, literacy/language arts, science and social studies.
“This program has been extremely beneficial to our at-risk students because it has allowed us to integrate arts into other areas of learning,” said Heather Bowman, a fourth-grade teacher at Rita Cannan Elementary School. “The program provides a way for teachers to learn from arts professionals and to incorporate new methods of teaching that are ‘outside the box.’ It directly aligns with Common Core standards, increasing rigor, improving student engagement and, ultimately, student learning.”
Martha O’Neill, program director for the Arts Infusion Project, said the funds awarded for the coming year will be used to complete the original goals and objectives laid out in the initial grant, which was awarded in 2009. The district will continue its partnership with Sierra Arts Foundation to provide advanced training of teachers already trained through the PDAE grant. Teachers also will continue to participate in the Partners in Education program from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Stacey Spain, interim executive director of Sierra Arts Foundation, and O’Neill just returned from an intensive four-day training at the Kennedy Center. There, they studied ways to effectively utilize the partnership to lay a foundation for arts integration by providing professional development workshops over the course of the coming year.