(Washington DC)-- Arts education --and the integration of the arts across the curriculum—enhances student content mastery and academic skills development, including improved literacy, and contributes to more positive school climates, according to a series of research briefs released by the DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative today.
“We believe the arts are central to a high-quality education and should be embraced as a critical strategy leading to overall school improvement. These publications underscore that belief with data produced by a highly respected third-party evaluator, providing solid evidence of effectiveness,” said Louise Kennelly, Executive Director of the DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative.
The series of briefs were released at the DC Collaborative’s annual Fall meeting where Robert Horowitz, Ph.D., Associate Director of the Arts Education Research Center at Columbia University’s Teacher College shared his evaluation findings of the DC Collaborative’s Arts Education Initiative. “Overall, I’d say this was a very successful initiative,” he observed. “Teachers reported that nearly 80% of students learned reading and writing skills because of the DC Collaborative program,” he added.
Between the first full-year of implementation of the AEI program through 2009, the seven schools consistently participating show an average rate of increase in reading scores of 4.15 % and in math at nearly 20%.
In addition to a research brief, the DC Collaborative released two issue briefs:
- Arts Integration Advances Literacy; and
- Arts Integration Creates Positive School Climates; as well as a case study
- Reflections of a School Taking Flight Through Arts Integration: Peabody Early Learning Center
Presenters at the meeting included Edith Harvey, Director of Improvement Programs, Office of Innovation and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education who is responsible for the arts education grant program and Marni Leikin, new DC Public Schools Visual Arts & Curriculum Coordinator who shared her plans regarding the development of a comprehensive visual arts plan and curriculum for the district.
The panelists participated in a discussion with members moderated by Savoy Elementary School Principal Patrick Pope. Questions such as “How do we measure imagination and how to we relay the value of imagination as a critical higher order thinking skill?” were explored.
New board members Anthony Gittens, founder and director of the DC International Film Festival, and Nathan Hoffman, Vice President at Capital One were voted onto the board unanimously by members at the meeting. The FY12 Executive Committee slate was also passed by the Membership and include: Jeff Travers, President; Jade Floyd, Vice President; Gina Sacripanti, Vice President; Gail Murdock, Secretary; and Nathan Hoffman, Treasurer.
About the DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative:
More than sixty members strong, the DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative (DC Collaborative) provides equitable access to quality arts and humanities education for all DC public and chartered public schools for the growth of the whole child. Working with its partners, since its founding in 1998, the DC Collaborative produces such exemplary programs as Arts for Every Student , Professional Development Initiative, and the Arts Education Initiative.