The Education Innovator #32
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The Education Innovator
 October 6, 2003 • Number 32
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What's inside...
Art Smart, Warren County, Pennsylvania
What's New
Secretary of Education Paige announces $35 million grant to the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence; Secretary Paige addresses the UNESCO Round Table of Ministers on Quality Education; OII asks for help on the agenda for the National Charter School Conference; Maryland State Department of Education's Distinguished Principals Fellows Program receives local Innovator of the Year award; and the Black Student Fund in DC holds parent fair on private schools and financial aid.
Innovations in the News
Teaching American History grantees are recognized; plus information on charter schools and virtual schools.

Art Smart Infuses the Arts into Rural Classrooms
Four elementary schools in Warren County, Pennsylvania have infused arts into the classroom through an expanded arts education program called Art Smart. Recognizing the lack of traditional arts resources-such as museums-in the rural area, the program aims to enhance arts education for the over 600 lowest achieving students in the county who go to these schools. Approximately 60 teachers participate in the program, and each teacher receives over 100 hours of training in arts education and fine arts instruction over the course of a three-year period.

The director of the project, an art teacher in the school system, devotes 100 percent of her time to the Art Smart project. The director coordinates the professional development of the participating teachers and networks with other elementary school teachers to incorporate the arts into all content areas. The Art Smart director also works with an Edinboro University professor-an expert in language, movement, and music-to collaborate with teachers to create customized arts activities that relate to units in history, math, or language arts, for example. These arts learning activities are aligned with state and national arts standards and include art appreciation, performance/production, and response.

The objectives of the program are to improve student performance and to enhance the appreciation of diverse cultures by using high quality arts instruction. Art Smart is a partnership of the Warren County School District with Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, the Arts Council of Erie, the Warren County Historical Society, and the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center.

To incorporate multiple arts disciplines into art-integrated instruction, the Art Smart professional development program includes:

  • Distance graduate level courses;
  • Content -based learning in the arts;
  • An electronic bulletin board to connect art specialists, classroom teachers, administrators, coordinators, and trainers;
  • Family and community programs of school volunteerism and community arts activities;
  • Hands-on training from the Smithsonian's Early Enrichment Center; and
  • $100 for each teacher to spend on educational materials for their classrooms.
Through Art Smart, artists in a variety of art disciplines are also brought into the classroom to integrate the arts into core curriculum subjects. The artists who work in the classroom must go through a review process that is coordinated by the Arts Council of Erie. Artists must submit an application, work samples, a professional résumé, and two letters of recommendation. Artists whose work meets the established criteria are then interviewed by a panel and observed in a residency situation. Once accepted into the program, artists actively participate in training sessions.

Art Smart is conducting a formal evaluation, comparing the four Art Smart schools with two schools in the district that are not part of the program. Formative and summative evaluation data will be gathered and will inform the project about improvements in student achievement, motivation, and appreciation of diverse cultures. The project hopes to replicate the Art Smart program in 10 other elementary schools in the district, as well as provide information and materials to other schools, universities, and arts organizations around the country.

Art Smart received an OII-administered Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination grant in 2001and again in 2003.

For more information:

Note:The featured program has not been rigorously evaluated. The evaluation described will be conducted with the intent that the program may be replicable in the local area.


What's New
Secretary Paige announces a grant to the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence.
U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige announced a five-year, $35 million grant to the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence, the first national alternative route to full teacher certification. The American Board will use the grant to expand the number of academic areas for which it offers certification. For more information, go to the American Board Press Release.(Oct. 1)

Secretary Paige addresses the UNESCO Round Table of Ministers.
Secretary Paige addressed the UNESCO Round Table of Ministers on Quality Education. He emphasized the importance of having well qualified teachers in the classroom. To read his statement, see Secretary Paige's Statement.(Oct. 3)

The Office of Innovation and Improvement asks for assistance in formulating the agenda for the National Charter Schools Conference.
The Office of Innovation and Improvement asks for assistance in formulating the agenda for the National Charter Schools Conference to be held in Miami, Florida on June 16-18, 2004. To complete the survey, which seeks input on possible topics for the conference, see National Charter Schools Conference Topic Survey.(Oct. 1)

The Black Fund in the District of Columbia held a parent fair.
The Maryland State Department of Education's Distinguished Principals Fellows Program recently received the Innovator of the Year award from The Daily Record, a Maryland business publication. The program brings exemplary leaders to low performing inner city schools. For a description of the program, see The Black Student Fund.(Sept. 21)


Innovations in the News

Teaching American History
Community members gathered at the Massie Heritage Interpretation Center in Savannah, GA to witness history in the making. For the second year, the center earned a $1 million grant, generated by the No Child Left Behind Act. [] (Sept.30)

The Broad Foundation awarded the top prize for urban education to The Long Beach Unified School District, CA. The teaching of history was one of the three areas of concentration that was recognized by this award. [] (Sept. 23)

Charter Schools
A year after district administrators threatened to shut down the El Portal Leadership Academy in Gilroy, CA , the school has taken action to improve. More qualified teachers have been hired and test scores have improved with mandatory in-school tutoring and basic skills classes. [More-The Mercury News] (Sept 26)

Virtual Schools
Online high schools are a fast-growing trend, particularly in Florida where 15 percent of students take all their classes online. [More-The Sarasota Herald Tribune](Sept. 29)

More than 360 students have enrolled in Commonwealth Connections Academy, which is the first virtual charter school approved under Pennsylvania's new cyber-charter law. [] (Sept. 29)

Many students at Torrey Pines High School, CA are pleased with the autonomy afforded by the online classes created this year for Advanced Placement government and computer science courses. The online capability also helps alleviate overcrowding in the school. [] (Sept 28)

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Last Modified: 04/26/2011