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A neighborhood school for 50 years that has recently been remodeled to serve as an Integrated Arts School for the Marietta School System. The school provides Kindergarten through fifth grade students a comprehensive, standards-based academic program that incorporates the arts as a way to enhance students’ academic achievement; and likewise, the entire staff provides integrated arts instruction on a weekly basis.
The transition from a traditional elementary school to an arts academy initially fueled interest in arts integration teaching and learning. The dramatic change in the student population prompted by the changing community demographics and the change to a charter school provided strong incentive for instructional change. The transition to an arts academy also prompted personnel changes as faculty and instructional leaders decided about appropriate “fit” for faculty members in this new instructional environment. Traditional instructional approaches were not effective or appropriate for the changing student population; thus, arts integration was explored as a best practice that might effectively meet the needs of a “new” Hickory Hills.
Key Research Considerations:
- Continuing to insure that all teachers are using best practices consistently;
- Encouraging and facilitating increased collaboration between all teachers (including music specialist, other arts specialists, and classroom teachers);
- Addressing the needs of, and providing engaging instruction for, all student populations (particularly ELL);
- Moving school culture beyond “status quo” to one that embraces continuous improvement; and
- Invigorating teacher comfort with and commitment to investigation, research, and authentic assessment.