Recent studies show, “Integrating methods from the arts with content from various subject areas leavens the learning experience in ways that result in greater mastery of the subject objectives as well as greater understanding and appreciation of the arts. Arts integration also enhances the student’s capacity and desire to learn.”* An arts integration experience for New Mexico to build capacity to support and implement a program for some of its districts and schools is underway. To support this endeavor, SC3 connected the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) Priority Schools Bureau leadership, Eubank Academy of Fine Arts, and Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) with Wilson Arts Integration Elementary School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Wilson Arts Integration Elementary School is an example of a school using arts integration to turn around teaching and learning. In under a decade, this inner city elementary school went from being one of the lowest performing elementary schools in the district to the highest performing elementary school as an arts integration approach was systematically implemented.*
SC3 facilitated an orientation experience for Eubank Academy with Wilson Elementary and Kennedy Center’s Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA) program to explore arts integration and its value in improving teaching and learning in February 2015. The John F. Kennedy Center defined arts integration as an approach to teaching in which students construct and demonstrate understanding through an art form. SC3 also facilitated a site visit between Eubank Academy and APS staff members at Wilson Elementary School that included Black Liberated Arts Center (BLAC), Inc. and current and retired Wilson Elementary School Principals in November 2015. The visit provided an opportunity to observe classes and review daily schedules to better understand the challenges and the necessary supports for developing and implementing an arts integration program. SC3 looks forward to providing continued support to NMPED to improve teaching and learning for all districts. Visit SC3’s website to find more resources on Arts Integration and SC3’s Facebook to view pictures from the Wilson Elementary site visit.
*Excerpts taken from Arts Integration As a Strategy to Improve Teaching and Learning, Promote Personal Competencies, and Turn Around Low-Performing Schools paper authored by SC3 Director Belinda Biscoe Boni and Former Wilson Elementary School Principal/Current Oklahoma City Public Schools Principal Kirk Wilson