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Advancing Arts Education through an Expanded School Day.


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Advancing Arts Education through an Expanded School Day. Lessons from five schools.

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Advancing Arts Education through an Expanded School Day.

  1. 1. Lessons from Five Schools➻AdvancingArts Educationthrough anExpandedSchool Day
  2. 2. 2 National Center on Time & Learning Advancing Arts Education
  3. 3. As children play music, as they paint ordraw or design, as they dance or act orsing, many develop new passions, come toexpress themselves in original ways, anddiscover innovative pathways to success.
  4. 4. National Center on Time & LearningThe National Center on Time &Learning (NCTL) is dedicated toexpanding learning time to improvestudent achievement and enable awell-rounded education. Throughresearch, public policy, and technicalassistance, NCTL supports national,state, and local initiatives that addsignificantly more school time to helpchildren meet the demands of the 21stcentury and prepare for success incollege and career.THE WALLACE FOUNDATIONThe Wallace Foundation is anational philanthropy that seeks toimprove education and enrichmentfor disadvantaged children. Thefoundation funds projects to testinnovative ideas for solving importantsocial problems, conducts researchto find out what works and whatdoesn’t and to fill key knowledgegaps—and then communicates theresults to help others.IN appreciationWe are very grateful to theadministrators, teachers, communitypartners, and students in the fiveprofiled schools for welcoming us intotheir buildings, generously sharingtheir valuable time, and demonstratingtheir commitment to improving artseducation for all.Contents 4 The Frame: A Study of Arts Education 5 Why Arts in Schools? 9 Arts Education Today 10 A National Study 12 Key Findings 14 Portraits of Five Schools 14 Berkshire Arts Technology CharterPublic School (BART) 22 Clarence Edwards Middle School 32 Metropolitan Arts and TechnologyCharter High School (Metro) 42 Cole Arts and Sciences Academy (CASA) 50 Roger Williams Middle School 58 Lasting Impressions:Valuing Time for the Arts AdvancingArts Educationthrough anExpandedSchool Day:Lessons from Five Schools➻
  5. 5. Preludein schools across the country, educators recognize the powerof the arts to change young lives. They know that students’ sus-tained engagement with enriching, high-quality experiencesin the arts promotes essential skills and perspectives—like thecapacity to solve problems, express ideas, harness and honecreativity, and persevere toward a job well done. And yet today,educators at many schools that operate with conventionalschedules are forced to choose between offering their studentsvaluable opportunities to pursue the arts and focusing on otherrigorous core classes that also are necessary for success in the21st century. This study, which highlights an exciting newapproach, is produced by the National Center on Time Learning (NCTL), an organization dedicated to expandinglearning time toimprove studentachievement andenable a well-roundededucation, with supportfrom The WallaceFoundation, a nationalphilanthropy seeking toimprove education andenrichment for disad-vantaged children. Inthese pages, we presentportraits of five schoolsthat are advancing artseducation through anexpanded school day asthey create vibrant andinclusive models oftruly enriching educa-tion for all students.
  6. 6. 4 National Center on Time Learning Advancing Arts EducationFor young people, the arts can open up a whole new worldof possibilities. As children play music, as they paint or drawor design, as they dance or act or sing, many develop newpassions, come to express themselves in creative ways, anddiscover innovative pathways to success. Indeed, some researchevidence suggests that the skills, practices, pursuits, and habitsof mind that students gain through sustained encountersand engagement with high-quality experiences in the artscan promote the kind of intellectual growth that we valuethroughout their school years and beyond. Moreover, creatingand learning through the arts offer children and adolescentsaccess to an invaluable endeavor: a means to connectemotionally with others and deepen their understanding of thehuman condition.Yet, when it comes to instituting the arts in public education,classes in dance, drawing, theater, and even music often hold afragile place. Over the last 30 years—and, in particular, duringthe last decade, when there has been intense focus on achiev-ing proficiency in reading and math above all—arts educationhas occupied a shrinking place in the life of schools. The de-cline comes as today’s educators often feel compelled to makea choice between providing their students with instruction intested subjects or being able to offer a well-rounded, enrichededucation that encompasses the arts. Consequently, the twotheframe:A Studyof ArtsEducationRealizing a well-rounded education throughan expanded and redesigned school day
  7. 7. Advancing Arts Education National Center on Time Learning 5arenas of academics and the arts are often positionedas competitors in a kind of zero-sum game, ratherthan as partners in a potential educational synergythat holds both intrinsic and instrumental benefitsfor students. One of the essential questions facingAmerican public education, going forward, is howto reconcile our commitment to raising academicachievement with our simultaneous desire to makeavailable a wide array of learning opportunities thatwill help students lead full, enriched lives as mem-bers of their families, workplaces, communities, andthe interconnected global society.Around the country, a growing number of schoolsare finding ways to respond to this question throughthe power of a redesigned and expanded schoolschedule. This report presents portraits of five suchschools, whose longer student and teacher days allowthem to prioritize and expand time for arts educationas they improve overall academic instruction andindividual student results, the vision of educationalexcellence laid out in the 1994 Goals 2000: EducateAmerica Act and re-codified in the No Child Left Be-hind Act.1Educators at these schools believe that thearts can contribute appreciably to students’ capac-ity to solve problems, acquire and apply knowledge,deepen engagement, and develop the persistence anddedication that are hallmarks of good scholarshipand learning. And, as they broaden students’ experi-ences and enable them to sharpen skills in diverseareas, these educators have imagined and imple-mented learning environments where the arts canreveal what education is really about—kindling inyoung people the passion to learn and improve whothey are and what they can do.The schools in this study,each of which serves apredominantly low-income student body, offer theirstudents substantially more learning time than con-ventional schools, which operate with, on average,just 180 six-and-a-half-hour days. Although eachof the profiled schools has come to allocate moretime and implement a specific educational model viadifferent paths, these expanded-time schools—andthe more than 1,000 expanded-time schools nowspread across the American educational landscape—do share one overriding attribute. With more time,these schools gain the potential both to improveacademics and to provide students engaging, high-quality arts programs. As the five schools in thisstudy demonstrate, making available extra minutes,hours, and days offers new possibilities to build a fullrange of arts activities and courses into the curricu-lum while still ensuring that students spend the timethey need to succeed in academics. The rewardingresult, benefiting students and educators alike, takesshape as these schools are able to realize what is alltoo uncommon in schools serving children from dis-advantaged backgrounds—a truly well-rounded andenriched education.Why Arts in Schools?Educators see two fundamental reasons to includearts education within the curricular program oftheir schools. The first reason revolves around whatis called the “instrumental value” of arts education.When students engage with the arts, they may beable to develop skills that facilitate and enhanceBBBBThe expanded-timeschools in this study areable to realize a trulywell-rounded and enrichededucation.
  8. 8. 6 National Center on Time Learning Advancing Arts Educationtheir learning throughout the school day and thatwill benefit them throughout their lives. From im-proving their ability to express themselves and hon-ing their creativity, to promoting the value of hardwork in achieving certain objectives, arts educationcan push children and adolescents to become moreeffective students and, in the long run, can betterprepare them to navigate the challenges of the 21stcentury.The second reason for arts education speaks lessto how the arts prepare students for productive livesand more to how the arts enable individuals, youngand old, to enhance personal engagement with ourbroader society. Interaction with, and appreciationof, the arts can sharpen and nuance our sense ofempathy, not to mention captivate our minds andenliven our spirits. The arts offer a unique “intrinsicvalue” that children deserve to access and delight in,and schools, which have a mission to educate theirstudents about the wider world, hold an obligation tofurnish such essential and vital opportunities.For educators, these two different perspectives onthe role and place of the arts as a means for attainingour broader educational goals need not be in conflict;indeed, a school’s commitment to robust arts educa-tion can be strongly rooted in both its instrumentaland intrinsic significance.The Instrumental Effects of the ArtsA body of recent research lends support to the ideathat high-quality arts education can sometimes pro-vide opportunities to help children develop skills thatcan enhance learning—whether contributing to hab-its of persistence through careful practice; greaterawareness of how to collaborate (by preparing a play,for example); or learning how to internalize andapply feedback by mastering a particular skill (say,a dance step) with the help of an instructor. Gifts ofthe Muse, a 2004 study by the RAND Corporation,notes that in the “doing” of art, students must acquirenew skills and concepts, monitor their own learning,and recognize how feedback from others can be es-sential to their own progress. As RAND puts it,students “must develop the ability to know when theyunderstand what they learn. And feedback is key inthis context. Both elements are essential to learninghow to learn, which is perhaps the most importantinstrumental benefit of arts education.”2However, evidence for the direct impact of artseducation on student test scores is weak. There isresearch—most notably, the work done by JamesCatterall and colleagues of a series of analyses of na-tional databases, which together include over 25,000students—that finds correlations between a moreconsistent study of the arts and higher achievement,but the interpretation of these correlations is farfrom clear.3 It may very well be that those inclinedto participate in the arts are the same students whoare more likely to enjoy school and seek to do wellthere, regardless, or perhaps that schools with sub-stantial opportunities in the arts are also more likelyto provide a quality education overall. Ellen Winnerand Monica Cooper (among others) point out thatuncertainty underlies these studies because the cor-relational studies do not use rigorous experimentaldesigns, which means they cannot be relied on todemonstrate causal links, especiallywhen it comes to academic outcomes.4 AsRAND concluded in its own assessmentof the research field, “[O]f the claimedcognitive effects of arts participation onchildren, the enhancement of learningskills is more likely to occur than is theenhancement of knowledge acquisitionin non-arts subjects (like the developmentof mathematical skills).”5For these reasons, many researchersargue that, instead of employingconventional academic metrics tounderstand the possible impact of artseducation on young people, we should focus onhow the arts might enhance primary or underlyingcompetencies and perspectives in students thatsupport cognitive growth (and that then may ormay not be captured through the traditional waysof measuring achievement in school).6 Theseinstrumental benefits of arts education tend tobe framed as four broad, somewhat overlappingcategories. Illustrated by one or two examples of themore reliable research studies from the field, thefour instrumental benefits of arts education can bedescribed as follows:O Encouraging problem solving through creativity, multi-disciplinary thought, and visualization:a A study found that students participating in a spe-cialized program to promote visual thinking dem-onstrated an increase in awareness of the subjec-tive nature of interpretation, a decrease in the useof circular reasoning, and an increase in evidentialreasoning (using evidence to support an explana-tion or interpretation) in both arts and science.7A Study of Arts EducationWith more time, these schools canpursue an agenda that seeks both toimprove academics and to afford studentsengaging, high-quality arts programs.
  9. 9. Advancing Arts Education National Center on Time Learning 7O Improving the ability to communicate and expressideas:a A study following teachers who integrateddrama into writing classes found that students’writing was more effective, especially whenthese students were given the opportunity towrite “in role” (adopting the voice of the charac-ter they had been portraying in the play).8a aN Assessment of English language learnerswho participated in an unstructured art periodin school found that their confidence in speak-ing grew as they talked about their artwork,and that middle school students’ vocabularyincreased as they shared information abouttheir artwork.9O Teaching the value and habits of practice, hardwork, and initiative to accomplish goals:a Two scholars with Project Zero, aneducational research group at the HarvardGraduate School of Education, describe thenurturing of “studio habits” among studentsin carefully selected, high-quality arts classes.These practices include the connective conceptthat effort, revision, and hard work can lead toexcellence.10O Deepening student engagement in learning and schoolcommunity, including appreciating one’s own value as anindividual and encouraging positive social behaviors:a A drama-based youth violence preventionprogram in Boston that took place over thecourse of 27 weeks curbed the increase of ag-gressive and violent behavior in its fourth-gradeparticipants, while control group students’aggressive behavior increased over time. Par-ticipants in the drama program also developedenhanced pro-social behaviors, like self-controland cooperation. A similar review of anotherdrama program found comparable results.11As helpful as this body of research is for broaden-ing our awareness of the role the arts can play insupporting young people’s development, it, too, mustbe approached with some caveats. RAND concludedthat “Overall, we found that most of the empirical re-search on instrumental benefits suffers from a num-ber of conceptual and methodological limitations.”These include, first, the lack of rigor needed to deter-mine causality, and second, a lack of specificity thatwould allow us to know who precisely is benefittingthrough participation and in what ways. Perhapsthe particular youth involved in these programs maybe those who are naturally drawn to the arts, and soare best positioned to realize gains from participa-tion. Additionally, these studies also generally do notconsider the “opportunity costs” of arts programsand their effects, as compared to other interventionsor sets of activity.12 In otherwords, it may very well bethat students might gainsimilar (or even greater) benefits from involvementin other classes or activities than from the particulararts programs examined.This final point suggests a larger problem thatarises when arts are considered primarily as“instrumental,” that is, in terms of how they serveother ends. Namely, there may be alternate or moreeffective ways to achieve these desired aims, andso, the distinctive value of the arts fades. As EllenWinner, a professor of psychology at Boston Collegeand a senior research associate at Harvard’s ProjectZero, explains:These instrumental arguments are going to doom thearts to failure, because any superintendent is going tosay, “If the only reason I’m having art is to improve math,let’s just have more math.” Do we want to therefore say,“No singing,” because singing didn’t lead to spatial im-provement? You get yourself in a bind there.13Given the context of the high-stakes accountabilityworld in which schools with conventional schedulesoperate, educators today often feel they have littleflexibility within their very tight time limits to advo-cate for pursuits that lie outside the accumulation ofacademically oriented skills. As such, arts’ distinc-tive and potentially powerful impact on young livesis not always realized.The Intrinsic Significance of the ArtsThere is no denying that the arts hold a unique placein our civilization: They offer pathways to under-standing and to the full realization of our identitiesthat other human endeavors usually do not yield.In such ways, the arts encourage and enable each ofus to discover new sensibilities and deepen our ap-preciation for the world around us. As novelist JohnUpdike wrote, “What art offers is space—a certainbreathing room for the spirit.”BBBBThe arts hold aunique place, offeringpathways to understandingand to the full realization ofour identities.
  10. 10. 8 National Center on Time Learning Advancing Arts EducationThe President’s Committeeon Arts and the Humanities(PCAH) identifies artsintegration as having“unique potential as aneducation reform model,”one that involves employingthe skills and strategiestypically practiced inthe arts across differentdisciplines and in waysthat seamlessly combinearts and academic content.Although the idea hasbeen around for decades,the approach has becomeincreasingly formalized andstructured over the last fewyears, because it seems tohold such promise as a wayto imbue academic classeswith the sense of joy anddiscovery that are inherentto the arts, all within theconstraints of the standardschool schedule.Examples of arts integra-tion include observationaldrawing in science class,using music notation as partof a lesson in fractions, andacting out episodes from anovel to understand theirmeaning. Arts integrationis not intended to replacethe teaching of the arts fortheir own sake, but rather toincorporate artistic mediaand blend creative self-expression with core subjectmatter to solve problemsand advance proficiency.Because arts integrationas a formal approach is justin its early phases of imple-mentation, and becausehigh-quality arts integrationdemands a complex mixof content knowledge andartistic sensibilities, teach-ers will need significantprofessional developmentin order to help arts integra-tion reach its full potential.As the PCAH pointed out inits 2009 report, the “pos-sibilities for learning othersubjects through the artsare limitless.” aStill, edu­cators and school adminis-trators also must be carefulnot to view arts integrationas replacing arts classes,for, as Ellen Winner andLois Hetland warn, “[I]f webecome swayed by today’stesting mentality and cometo believe that the arts areimportant only (or evenprimarily) because they but-tress abilities consideredmore basic than the arts,we will unwittingly be writ-ing the arts right out of thecurriculum.” ba President’s Committee on the Artsand the Humanities, Reinvesting inArts Education, p. 39.b Lois Hetland and Ellen Winner,“Cognitive Transfer from Arts Educa-tion to Non-arts Outcomes: ResearchEvidence and Policy Implications” inE. Eisner and M. Day, eds., Handbookon Research and Policy in Art Education(Reston, VA: National Art EducationAssociation, 2004), p. 50.An Appealing StrategyArts IntegrationEncounters with the arts may support people intheir emotional development. Elliot Eisner, a leadingscholar of arts education, has argued, “The arts en-able us to have experience we can have from no oth-er source and through such experience to discoverthe range and variety of what we are capable of feel-ing.”14 Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in hisstudy of creativity, found that artists would enthusi-astically describe creation itself as a joyous, excitingact, which derives fulfillment from the attainment ofexcellence in a particular activity.15A study by Project Zero maintains further that,through the arts, individuals come to “make qualita-tive discernments and judgments…and to activelyshape their own aesthetic environments.”16 Thearts, in other words, enable each of us to appreciatehow the details of an object, a visual representation,or an aural experience can instill in all of us botha concept and a perception of excellence. With thisbroader understanding and insight, the arts teach usto know the good, the beautiful, and the profound.Especially on an emotional level, the arts alsoshape our lives by intensifying connections betweenand among individuals. Novelist Andrew Harrisonremarks that “A work of art is…a bridge, howevertenuous, between one mind and another.”17 That is,as the RAND authors describe in Gifts of the Muse,art is a “communicative experience”:Unlike most human communication, which takesplace through formalized discourse, art communicatesthrough direct experience; the heart of our response is akind of sensing (similar to the sense of wonder we mayfeel when we come across great natural beauty). This im-mediate encounter becomes enriched by reflection uponit: the aesthetic experience is not limited to passive spec-tatorship—it typically stimulates curiosity, questioning,and the search for explanation.18As powerful as these effects may be, it is difficultto trace exactly how these intrinsic benefits of thearts might support students in school settings. Notonly are such areas of individual growth almostimpossible to measure on their own, their influenceon what might be considered narrower domains ofacademic achievement is so intricate and nebulousthat the connections are speculative, at best. None-theless, given the acknowledged inherent value ofthe arts—their power to deepen thinking, enhancecommunication, motivate, and even to transform usas human beings—it seems only fitting that schoolsshould be responsible for providing these enrichingopportunities to all their students.A Study of Arts Education
  11. 11. Advancing Arts Education National Center on Time Learning 9Arts Education TodayWith all that children stand to gain from arts partici-pation—at school and throughout their lives—it isno surprise that many educators and policymakerschampion efforts to include the arts as a core featureof public education. Yet, these same championsmust also confront the reality of finite resources ofboth money and school time, along with the cur-rent structure of public schooling in America today,which together can compel educators to rank someforms of education above others, with the arts oftenrelegated to a lower rung.Competing PrioritiesCertainly, there is no shortage of high-profile advo-cacy for more arts education. In a May 2011 reportof the President’s Committee on the Arts and theHumanities (PCAH), for example, U.S. Secretary ofEducation Arne Duncan asserted: “Education in thearts is more important than ever…. To succeed todayand in the future, America’s children will need tobe inventive, resourceful, and imaginative. The bestway to foster that creativity is through arts educa-tion.”19 Yet, this growing recognition of the impor-tance of arts education is nonetheless complicated byanother reality, as the PCAH explains:…due to budget constraints and emphasis on the subjectsof high-stakes testing, arts instruction in schools is on adownward trend. Just when they need it most, the class-room tasks and tools that could best reach and inspirethese students—art, music, movement, and perform-ing—are less available to them.20Available data bear out this assertion. A 2008 na-tional survey by the Center for Education Policy,for instance, found that, on average, districts hadreduced elementary school class time for music andart by 35 percent, or 57 minutes per week. Mean-while, according to a survey in 2011, about half ofelementary and secondary school teachers feel thatart and music are “getting less attention” as a resultof curriculum shifts toward reading and math.21These recent decreases cap a decades-long declinein arts education throughout our public schools. Ac-cording to Nick Rabkin, a senior research scientist atthe University of Chicago, 65 percent of high schoolgraduates in 1980 had received an adequate arts edu-cation. By 2008, that proportion had slipped to under50 percent.22Not surprisingly, this “downward trend” in artseducation affects poor children disproportionately.In James Catterall’s study, cited earlier, studentsdesignated as “high-arts” participants were twiceas likely to be from high-income families and,conversely, low-income students were more thantwice as likely to be categorized as “low arts.”23 Arecent report from the Government AccountabilityOffice showed that in schools designated as “needsimprovement” or that had higher percentages ofminority students, teachers were significantly morelikely to report decreased time spent in the arts thanwere teachers from schools that were not deemed inneed of improvement.24Of course, today’s educators are not deliberatelytrying to deny children—and, especially, childrenliving in poverty—such arts-rich opportunities.Rather, today’s educators are living in a classic,resource-limited environment, one in which bothmoney and time are constrained. Practitionersunderstandably direct what resources they do haveto meeting the objectives that they consider to betheir primary responsibility. So, with the intensefocus on having students achieve proficiency inreading and math, arts education seems dispensable,and time is often shifted away from this area andgiven instead to classes in tested subjects.Time for ArtsWhen the opportunities for arts classes and activi-ties are limited because there is simply not enoughtime during the day, week, and year to include themin a full or sustained way, then the potential for theirimpact is similarly impeded. Indeed, for arts educa-tion to have its full effect, the curriculum cannot be“tucked into” an occasional assembly or just taughtby an interested classroom teacher whenever thereis “extra” time. Playing an instrument, molding andfiring ceramics, or becoming skilled in graphic de-sign all require regular and repeated opportunities tolearn, practice, and perform. In fact, the arts fuel in-dividual development precisely because they involvestudents in sustained processes—like observing andlistening, practice and rehearsal, critique and discus-sion, performance and reflection—that unfold overtime. Furthermore, research shows that positive en-counters with the arts build upon one another, am-plifying the effects. As the RAND study explains:Once an individual understands how to becomeengaged in an arts experience—what to notice, howto make sense of it—the rewards of the experience areboth immediate and cumulative…. Once this learningprocess starts, even small incremental changes in theindividual’s level of involvement can bring high levelsof benefits.25Recognizing the tension between having insuf-ficient time during the school day, week, and yearfor students to engage with the arts and the desire todeepen children’s artistic experiences, some educa-tors have ramped up their implementation of “artsintegration”—the application of arts methods, e.g.,drawing, listening to music, and dance—within aca-demic classes. (See “An Appealing Strategy,” page 8.)Still, such applications of the arts, if they are to trulyenrich learning, often require expanded class time.
  12. 12. 10 National Center on Time Learning Advancing Arts EducationTeaching observational drawing as a part of biol-ogy, for example, requires time to collect specimens,learn to use a microscope, study samples of scientificillustrations, produce drawings, and discuss whatthese drawings reveal about adaptations to the sur-rounding environment.Yet, providing students with sufficient time totruly participate in the arts is not simply a matterof quantity. As a report from researchers at ProjectZero concludes, the amount of time students aregiven to engage with the arts is intricately bound upwith the quality of the experience:Virtually all of the elements of student learning andteaching…(artistic exploration, emotional openness, thedevelopment of a sense of ownership, and reflective prac-tices, for example) are dependent on adequate time. Thisis true, too, at the micro level—the time available withina particular class session. The length of the session andthe plan for how much to do within that time influencethe speed and depth of the work, as well as the nature ofthe interactions….26Further, these researchers link time directly to thepowerful relationships that might develop betweenteacher and students, which so often form the pivotpoint upon which quality arts experiences balance:Time also allows deeper social experiences and strongerbonds to form among participants…. Indeed, figuring outhow to help a student takes considerable artistic and ped-agogical experience, but it can also take time to figureout, through interactions and experiences together, howto approach and talk with young artists and what theirinterests, standards, and ambitions might be. Time is anessential ingredient in the soil in which artistic identity,sophistication, and accomplishment grow.27For these reasons, the reduction of time for arts inour nation’s schools diminishes not only students’opportunities to experience, engage, and practicethese endeavors, but also educators’ capacity to makethese classes and activities worthwhile.Fortunately, not all schools are facing such timepressures. Instead, a growing number of schoolshave expanded their hours to open opportunitiesfor both a robust core academic curriculum andvibrant arts programming. These schools have com-mitted more time to the arts and, in so doing, haveincreased the likelihood that these experiences areof higher quality. As the five schools profiled in thisreport demonstrate, with sufficient time, schoolscan achieve a new synergy—one that enables bothstrong student performance in academics and inten-sive student engagement in the arts.A National StudyAccording to the latest count from the NationalCenter on Time Learning (NCTL), more than1,000 schools across the nation feature a schoolday that is at least seven hours long and a day and/or year that is meaningfully longer than those ofsurrounding public schools. These expanded-timeschools have come into being through a variety ofpolicy and structural mechanisms. Many are charterschools that, with the flexibilities allowed throughtheir autonomous status, have crafted scheduleswhich more closely reflect the educational needsof their students. Other schools have taken similarpaths by staking out autonomies, even withincentralized districts, creating recently named“innovation districts,” in several states. Still othershave taken advantage of private or public initiativesthat deliberately fund schools to expand time. Arapidly growing cohort of expanded-time schoolsinclude those receiving federal dollars throughthe School Improvement Grant (SIG) program,a funding stream targeted to improve (or “turnaround”) chronically low-performing schools.“Increased learning time” is one of several strategiesthat SIG schools adopting the “Turnaround” or“Transformation” models are required to implement.(See “The Turnaround Arts Initiative,” page 11.) Asa result, an increasing number of educators aroundthe country have come to appreciate the value ofmore school time.Now, with support from The Wallace Foundation,NCTL has conducted this qualitative research study,exploring five schools where educators are leverag-ing an expanded school schedule to realize theiraspirations and commitments to deliver a qualityarts program to their students. Thepurpose of this study is three-fold:1 To describe how theseschools are making the most ofnontraditional, expanded-timeschedules to activate and embedthe arts throughout their educa-tional programs;2 To identify the common com-ponents of these diverse schools’curricula, programs, and pro-cesses so that practitioners at otherschools can draw both inspirationA Study of Arts EducationThe amount of time students are given toengage with the arts is intricately boundup with the quality of the experience.
  13. 13. Advancing Arts Education National Center on Time Learning 11Arguably, one of the mostsignificant education reformprograms in place todayis the U.S. Department ofEducation’s (USED’s) SchoolImprovement Grant (SIG)program, revamped in 2009as a part of the AmericanRecovery and ReinvestmentAct. Targeting chronicallyunderperforming schools forwholesale transformation—including the implementa-tion of rigorous data systemsand staff changes—theprogram calls for “increasedlearning time” for every stu-dent in schools that adoptthe Turnaround or Trans-formation model. With acohort of over 1,200 schoolsand already over $3.5 billioncommitted, the SIG initiativeholds great promise to turnaround many of our nation’smost troubled schools.In spring 2012, the Presi-dent’s Committee on Artsand the Humanities (PCAH)announced a partnershipwith USED to highlight thework of a small number ofthe SIG schools that areseeking to use studentengagement in the arts,specifically as a way toraise individual achieve-ment and to leverage theiroverall reform strategy. TheTurnaround Arts Initiative,as it is known, “…will testthe hypothesis that high-quality and integrated artseducation boosts academicachievement, motivates stu-dent learning, and improvesschool culture in the contextof overall school reform.”From among the hundredsof SIG schools, TurnaroundArts selected eight schoolsto participate. Initiativedesigners have highlightedtheir criteria for selectionof the eight schools, includ-ing dedicated and effectivearts specialists on staff whoare valued and empoweredwithin the school; existingprofessional development,focused on how to enablearts integration for all teach-ers; partnerships with com-munity organizations, andstrong school leadership.The intent of the Turn-around Arts Initiative isto build upon the existingresources and needs ofeach school, not to impose aone-size-fits-all program. Afull evaluation of the initia-tive will report out lessonslearned and produce a seriesof materials and tools tohelp other schools replicatethe effective practices ofthe eight pilot sites. Thus,the Turnaround Arts Initia-tive—although it representsjust a small fraction of all SIGschools—has the potential todemonstrate in concrete andpowerful ways how the artscan drive school improve-ment, empowering bothteachers and students toattain high expectations.The Turnaround Arts InitiativeConnecting school improvement to arts educationSchool LocationRoosevelt Elementary Bridgeport, CTOrchard Gardens K – 8 Pilot Boston, MAMartin Luther King, Jr. Portland, ORSavoy Elementary Washington, DCFindley Elementary Des Moines, IALame Deer Jr. High School Lame Deer, MTBatiste Cultural Arts Academy New Orleans, LANoel Community Arts School Denver, COThe participants Schools selected to take part in theTurnaround Arts Initiativeand concrete strategies for building stronger artsprogramming for their students; and3 To examine how, in the wider context ofschool improvement efforts, the arts can playa pivotal role in boosting student engagement,broadening and deepening student skills, andsetting students firmly on a path toward highperformance and achievement.To accomplish these objectives, Advancing ArtsEducation documents the policies, practices, andimpacts of five schools, which have each sought tomake the arts a central—even a driving—feature oftheir students’ educational experiences. We selectedthe public schools profiled here from a larger pool ofexpanded-time schools collected through the NCTLExpanded-Time Schools Database. The five schoolsrepresent a variety of grades served, sizes, geograph-ic locations, and school types. (See table of schools,page 12.) As the following case studies indicate, theseschools take a range of approaches to implement-ing quality arts education. Still, all of the schoolsprofiled here share some significant similarities,including the fact that each operates as a non-audi-tion school (i.e., any child is eligible to attend basedon available space); serves a majority low-incomestudent population, with, in most cases, a relativelylarge number of English language learners (ELLs);and, importantly, in addition to their expanded artsprogramming, each school is either making progresstoward, or has already attained, a high level of stu-dent academic achievement.During the 2011-12 school year, NCTL conductedone- or two-day site visits at each school to documenttheir practices and discover their shared and uniqueelements. At the sites, NCTL researchers conductedinterviews with teachers, administrators, students,parents, and community partners participating inarts programming. The researchers also observedclasses, activities, and other programmatic elements
  14. 14. 12 National Center on Time Learning Advancing Arts Educationrelated to the arts. Throughout, the researcherssought to answer the following key questions:a How does the school organize its educationalprogram to emphasize or take advantage of artseducation? Specifically, how is time used toboost arts education?a How does the school manage its diversity ofhuman resources (i.e., teachers, visiting artists,and community partners) to ensure high-qualityarts learning for students and compelling op-portunities for educators? Further, how doesthe school’s focus on arts enhance its educators’professional experiences?a How does the school work to integrate the artsinto core academic subjects, and how does thiseffort have an impact on learning in core aca-demic areas?a What are some of the essential skills andcompetencies educators expect students todevelop through arts enrichments and activi-ties? How are these skills in evidence?a What are some vital lessons learned about thearts in school settings, and what next steps willthis school take to enhance arts education?Key FindingsAs these case studies demonstrate, the individualschools profiled in Advancing Arts Educationvary considerably in the ways in which they havedeveloped their arts education programs andemployed policies and practices to meet theireducational goals. Despite their different histories,models, policies, and practices, however, the schoolsSCHOOL NAMESchoolday(hrs)schoolyear(days) LOCATION GRADES SCHOOL TYPE DEMOGRAPHICS (2011-2012)Berkshire Arts Technology CharterPublic School (BART)7.5 190 Adams,MA6 – 12 Charter White 87%African-American 7%Latino 4%Asian 1%Other 1%87+7+4+1+1Low-Income 60%English Language Learners 0%Clarence EdwardsMiddle School8.6 180 Boston,MA6 – 8 District,MassachusettsExpandedLearning Timegrant recipientWhite 8%African-American 17%Latino 60%Asian 14%Other 1%8+17+60+14+1Low-Income 89%English Language Learners 38%Metropolitan Arts andTechnology CharterHigh School (Metro)7.0 180 SanFrancisco,CA9 – 12 Charter White 6%African-American 21%Hispanic 56%Latino 2%Other 15%6+21+56+2+15Low-Income 96%English Language Learners 50%Cole Arts and SciencesAcademy (CASA)7.3 180 Denver,COPre-K – 5,7 – 8District withInnovation StatusWhite 4%African-American 19%Latino 71%Asian 1%Other 5%4+19+71+1+5Low-Income 96%English Language Learners 50%Roger Williams MiddleSchool7.0 180 Providence,RI6 – 8 District, SchoolImprovementGrant (SIG)recipientWhite 4%African-American 17%Latino 73%Asian 3%Other 3%4+17+73+3+3Low-Income 88%English Language Learners 28%A Study of Arts Educationa Schools featured in Advancing Arts Education through an Expanded School Day
  15. 15. Advancing Arts Education National Center on Time Learning 13share three essential approaches to arts education.These approaches, designed to ensure maximumengagement and impact, can be described as follows:1 Educators at the five schools consider arts classesto be a core feature of their comprehensive educationalprogram.a The arts are not considered “extras,” andteachers and specialists in the arts (includingvisual arts, music, drama, and dance) set highexpectations for student performance.a Appreciating the pivotal role the arts canplay in student engagement and success, teach-ers seek opportunities to integrate arts educationinto academic classes.a Communicating the importance of excellingin the arts, educators value how these experienc-es help to develop in students the skills they needfor school and lifelong success (e.g., persistence,problem solving, etc.).2 Educators at these schools organize their school dayand staffing to reflect the central role of the arts anddedicate ample time to their practice.a Because they will not gain sufficiently fromonly intermittent participation in arts education,students participate in at least one hour daily ofarts-specific classes.a For both philosophical and practical purposes,all students are required to participate in artsclasses. In turn, these classes, unlike some en-richment programs in traditional schools, willnot be taken away from students because of pooracademic or behavioral performance in othercourses.a To ensure high-quality arts education, schoolshire arts “specialists,” or arts teachers, who areboth talented artists and effective educators.a Arts specialists are held to the same highperformance expectations as faculty memberswho teach other core courses, including under-going the same evaluation process and meetingthe same requirements to submit lesson plans toadministrators for review.a To support and supplement their arts pro-gramming, schools bring in staff from museums,cultural institutions, and other community part-ner organizations, along with individual teachingartists; these external arts educators are held tothe same expectations for high-quality instruc-tion as are all school faculty.3 These educators value how the arts can leverageengagement and achievement in school.a Acting on a deep appreciation that engagementwith the arts can enable children to discover theirpassions, these educators build in multiple oppor-tunities for choice within their arts programs.a These schools offer a wide variety of artsactivities and classes so that each student can ex-periment with, and pursue a number of differentforms of, art—from visual and performing arts tomultimedia and design projects.a The educators in these schools—especiallythose serving older students—emphasize thedevelopment of artistic skills over time, so thatstudents’ interests and passions can result in realproficiency in a particular art form.a As students develop a broader array of skillsthrough their engagements with various forms ofart classes and activities (e.g., music appreciation,complex drawing, etc.), academic teachers intro-duce content in new ways that tap their students’proficiencies and sensibilities.Finally, one overarching theme emergesfrom our study: More time allows educators toreconcile the tension between strong academics anda well-rounded education. Like all public schools, thefive profiled in this report operate in an environmentthat measures their effectiveness primarily throughproficiency rates on state assessments. Nevertheless,the leaders of these schools do not feel that theyhave to forgo time spent on arts education in order toensure that their students meet prescribed achieve-ment targets. Certainly, these school leaders havehad to make some challenging choices about how tostructure their school’s time, but these choices are notconsidered in an “either/or framework.” Rather, withmore time, the educators find a win-win scenario—one where they simultaneously pursue the goals ofstrong academics and enriched education throughthe arts.We have arranged the five case studies that fol-low to start with the schools that have had theirexpanded-time model in place the greatest number ofyears—up to a decade—and end with the school thatis now in its third year of operating with a longer day.Not coincidentally, this order also reflects the approx-imate degree of development of these schools’ artsprograms. Each case study follows the same basicfour-part outline: (a) an introduction providing somehistorical and cultural context; (b) a description andanalysis of why and how the school commits to artseducation, in which echoes of both the instrumentaland the intrinsic significance of the arts resound;(c) details explaining how the school leverages itsavailable time, striving for maximal effect; and (d) abrief discussion of where the school has identified ar-eas for improvement and growth. Following the casestudies, this report’s final chapter explores in greaterdepth the cross-cutting findings described above,with the goal of helping both educators and policy-makers take meaningful steps toward leveragingthe movement and opportunities of expanded schooltime to bring arts education to its full potential.
  16. 16. 14 National Center on Time Learning Advancing Arts EducationCASE1 Berkshire Arts Technology Charter Public School (BART)❝I had nevermet classroomteachers withthat kind ofcommitmentto the artsas a way ofknowing. Rightaway, I knew Icould balancemy life as anartist and as ateacher there.”Curtis Asch,Sixth-grade mathteacher at BART,poet, and perform-ing artistBuildingaBridgebetweenArtsandtheCommunityFocusing on arts to drive studentmastery and a deep dedication to learningBerkshire Arts Technology CharterPublic School (BART) serves grades 6 – 12 andseeks to prepare students for college by promotinga mastery of arts and technology, as well as ofacademic subjects. With its core belief in theAristotelian principle that “Excellence is a habit,” theschool pushes its students to develop the distinctivecombination of creativity and effort that yields thehighest results. And because achieving this degreeof mastery takes considerable time, as well as effort,BART relies on an expanded school day and year tohelp ensure that the arts play a central, rather thanjust a marginal, role in achieving that excellence.Over the last few years, BART has consistentlyranked as one of the highest-performing schools inthe state, but it was not always so. In its early years—the school was founded in 2004—BART educatorsAdams, Massachusetts
  17. 17. Advancing Arts Education National Center on Time Learning 15confronted the reality that their intentions to tryto build a new kind of school that would promotehigh achievement, while also engaging students ininquiry-based learning, had fallen flat. Student pro-ficiency at BART was unacceptably low. Rather thanthrow up their hands in despair, however, the educa-tors at the school worked to fully revamp both theirmodel and instructional methods. With a renewedcommitment to providing an excellent academiceducation wrapped in the context of developing21st-century skills—including creativity, teamwork,and problem solving—BART now stands as a modelof how a focus on arts can drive student mastery anda deep dedication to learning.BART in ContextBART is located in a former small business center,built as part of the endeavor to revitalize downtownAdams, Massachusetts. With its long history as amill town, Adams was once filled with shoe manu-facturers, brickyards, sawmills, cabinetmakers, andsmall machine shops. When the mills shuttered,residents hoped that either consumer electronics orthe region’s long history as home to craftspeople andartists would provide new streams of income. Butgrowth has been slow. In 2010, one in six young peo-ple was living beneath the poverty line in Adams,and the median household income hovered at halfthe average for the state.Against this background, BART was designedto be a “bridge” institution. Its students representthe link between an older Adams—where theirgrandparents and parents had held, and then lost,dependable, living-wage jobs in manufacturing—anda new Adams that harbors both the human capacityand the environment of innovation to incubate start-up companies and vital cultural organizations. ForBBBBBART relies on anexpanded school day andyear to help ensure that thearts play a central role inachieving excellence.this bridging to occur successfully, BART draws onits community’s deep respect for “things well made,”while, at the same time, encouraging its studentsto far surpass the basic high-school standards thatare no longer sufficient to support a family, sustaina career, or participate in the public sphere asinformed citizens. Since it opened in 2004, BARThas furthered its vision of using project-basedlearning featuring the arts and technology to helpstudents from Adams and nearby rural, westernMassachusetts acquire the skills they need for the21st century—innovation, teamwork, independentresearch, and critical thinking.
  18. 18. 16 National Center on Time Learning Advancing Arts Educationeducators to view the arts as centralto their efforts—a kind of conduitthrough which to revitalize and re-engage. As Julia Bowen, ExecutiveDirector of BART, explains:We looked at the young people wewanted to serve and realized that if westuck with a standard curriculum, few ofthem would be able to take advantage ofthe opportunities that were percolatingin the region—technology start-ups, tele-commuting for entrepreneurial firms inBoston and New York, and the arts or thecultural organizations that populate theBerkshires. If our students were goingto design for Apple from their desktopsin Adams, we had to look at an arts-richcurriculum. Creativity had to permeateour teaching; learning was going to haveto be a more collaborative experience;and students were going to have to learnto communicate orally and visually.With this vision as their foundation,BART’s faculty and administrationthen built an educational programto help realize this understanding ofthe school’s potential impact.Inquiry-Based LearningVery simply, BART runs on inquiry—a cross-disci-plinary, project-based approach to developing skillsand knowledge at once. BART teachers know that tobecome researchers and original thinkers, their stu-dents will need the capacity to apply, not just operate,technology—such as understanding the differentproficiencies needed to diagnose and treat a patient,developing energy legislation, or designing afford-able housing. These teachers want their students toread and communicate visually, interrogate maps,query databases, and explore documents.J. P. Henkle’s technology classes offer a good ex-ample. There, students don’t just learn software pro-grams for their own sake, spending valuable hourson software drills or raw keyboarding skills. Instead,Henkle gives assignments that demand these skills,wrapped inside a larger, inquiry-based project thatis also rooted in the development of artistic sensibili-ties. For instance, while learning to use digital cam-eras and work in Photoshop, students are asked toexplore two questions:a Where is there beauty in nature?a Is there beauty in the man-made world?Their answers take the form of large hallwaydisplays of student photographs of the surroundingBerkshire Hills landscape and of the crafted andmanufactured world. This same commitment toinquiry is evident not only in its specialized classes,BART Charter Public SchoolTo support this vision, BART’s school day hasbeen expanded, running from 8:00 am to 3:35 pm,followed by optional after-school classes and activi-ties; the school also has a school year that is 190days—two weeks longer than surrounding publicschools. The net result is that BART students have30 percent more learning time than their peers inlocal school districts. Beyond its commitment to ex-panding learning time, BART’s physical facility—its clusters of former offices set around a centralatrium—encourages a sense of constant activity.There’s an open space at the core that doubles aslunchroom and public meeting space, and radiatinghallways filled with student work that culminatein creative, energized classrooms. Throughout thebuilding, the focus on the arts—from graphic designand photography to poetry and music—acts to bindthe students to one another, to reinforce their shareddedication to high achievement and high expecta-tions, and to generate excitement about exhibitingand performing their work for the larger community.Committing to Arts LearningFrom the start, BART’s founders took seriously theidea that their school could become a key lever inadvancing not only their students’ lives, but also thebroader community. This perspective then led theseMonday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday7:45 – 8:00 Homeroom Homeroom Homeroom Homeroom Homeroom8:00 – 8:30 Advisory Advisory Advisory Advisory Advisory8:30 – 9:00 Fitness Spanish Spanish Spanish Spanish9:00 – 9:309:30 – 10:00 Math Math Math Math Math10:00 – 10:3010:30 – 11:00 Englishlanguage arts(ELA)ELA ELA ELA ELA11:00 – 11:3011:30 – 12:00 Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch12:00 – 12:30 Science Science Science Science Science12:30 – 1:001:00 – 1:30 Virtual HighSchool ( course)Virtual HighSchoolVirtual HighSchoolVirtual HighSchoolFitness1:30 – 2:002:00 – 2:45 AdvancedDigitalPhotographyMusic Indep.Study –ProductionAdvancedDigitalPhotographyMusic Indep.Study –ProductionAdv. Photog.2:45 – 3:00 Music Indep.Study –Production3:00 – 3:35BART Grade 11 Schedule (Sample)
  19. 19. but also in BART’s more traditional academiccourses. For example, in a sixth-grade math class,students made videos, in which they “performed”geometric concepts like symmetry and rotation,against the grid of tiles in the school’s atrium, film-ing from the school’s second-floor balcony.Of particular note, BART secured funding fromthe National Endowment for the Arts for a multi-year project called “Asking Big Questions.” Duringthe 2011–12 school year, each eighth and eleventhgrader selected a local building or parcel of landand researched its history and uses over the last250 years. As part of the project, every student isdeveloping a set of investigative strategies matchedto their building or parcel. In the fall, students be-gan learning from visiting historians, architects,and librarians about how to unearth the history ofparticular places. They are learning to “read” theimplications of deeds, maps, and old photographs. Bypooling their findings in the second semester, eachclass then develops a deeper understanding of thehistory of the larger community of Adams and thesurrounding region.At the heart of the project stands an effort to en-gage young people in pursuing original questionsby tapping both their digital-arts and humanitiesskills. For BART students, their inquiries have led tolearning the region’s history, and also, because theseprojects are given the time they need to develop fully,multiple opportunities to reflect on their own capaci-ties as researchers and learners. An eighth graderdescribes the process:I’m researching a farm near my house where I alwaysplayed in the fields and the woods growing up. I wasalways curious about what it must have been like whenit was a real farm. To find out what I wanted to know, Iinterviewed a woman, now in her nineties, who is thelast living person to reside there. I also looked up oldmaps and realized how big the farm used to be.I walked all over the farmland. That’s how Idiscovered the heap of bricks that is now almostgrown over, which was the original brickyardthat made the bricks for the house. Doing this,I realized what kind of an investigator I am. Ilike doing things, like walking over the land,to satisfy my curiosity and to get a feel for howthings are.The process also works in what mightbe considered more traditional arts classes,where students are pushed to engage withcontent in ways that tap problem-solvingskills. Consider the class of Erin Milne, aformer music teacher at BART and now anadministrator and planner at the school, whoset out to prove that composing music is nota rare talent, but a universal form of humancommunication that is open to anyone whomakes the effort. In her foundations class, whichshe taught to all sixth graders, Milne introduced herstudents to world music, using the program “GarageBand” to help them analyze the music of differentcultures. For the culmination of the course, Milnedesigned an exploration of classical Indian music, in-viting students to work both individually—in “studiostyle”—and in small groups to develop their pieces.Reflecting on this project, Milne remarked, “Every-one composed a raga. No one quit or failed. I thinkthis demonstrates a key commitment at BART: Thearts are languages that, with effort and engagement,everyone can learn how to ‘speak’ well.” (See box,page 18, for “Indian Composition Assignment.”)Many BART teachers attest to the critical rolethat the arts play in making the case that effort canlead to excellence. This link is particularly strong forstudents who face major challenges to their achieve-ment and progress, either because of the lack ofpreparation they received in prior schools or becausethey have special needs. By helping them to developan academic identity and to see themselves as peoplewith experiences and ideas worth communicating,the arts enable these students to gain courage andself-awareness. Anna Bean, a BART high schoolEnglish language arts (ELA) teacher, recounts onesuch story:I have a student who is diagnosed with ADD and au-tism. His sometimes aggressive persona is not alwaysappropriate during the school day. But in drama class,I give him roles that tap into his rare ability to say andact upon what he feels. His last role was as Pozzo, thewhip-snapping, slave-driving master that Estragon andVladmir encounter in [the play] Waiting for Godot. Mystudent scared us all to death, which is exactly what thecharacter must do. And by venting appropriately duringthe scene, he was calmer afterward, almost to the pointof being serene.BBBB For many BART students, the arts provide thevehicles through which they come to strive for excellence.
  20. 20. 18 National Center on Time Learning Advancing Arts EducationFor many BART students, then, the arts provide thevehicles through which they come to understandand strive for excellence and the media that enablethem to express themselves with conviction.Staffing for the ArtsBART has a corps of highly talented individuals whowork with students as they participate in the arts.The school’s full-time faculty includes choral musicand visual art teachers who provide core instruction.Additionally, BART budgets annually for three orfour artists-in-residence who extend, particularlyat the high school level, the variety and sequence ofarts offerings the school can provide, including indigital photography and creative writing.BART educators also have found ways to thinkcreatively about part-time and composite positions tosupport an arts-rich curriculum.One of the English language artsteachers, for example, worksthree-quarters time in ELA andone-quarter in drama. Mean-while, the technology teacherwho maintains many of thedigital arts projects spends halfhis time in the classroom andhalf as IT director for the wholeschool. In addition to being cost-effective, this prac-tice enables many BART teachers to achieve balancein their educational and artistic lives. For instance,Curtis Asch, the sixth-grade mathematics teacherwho also offers slam poetry and writing for filmcourses in the after-school program, notes: “I movedback to the Berkshires and then into classroomteaching at BART because living here and workingat the school allowed me to be an educator, a work-ing artist, and a father all at once, without feelinglike I was skimping on any of those roles.” Not insig-nificantly, such arrangements also offer students anunderstanding of the role that the arts can play in anadult’s full life, whether that person is a professionalartist or a teacher with a creative side.Still, BART administration and faculty realize thatthe school’s emphasis on the arts and technologyitself must be balanced with the wide range of skillsthat young people also need to experience success inschool and beyond. Projects like “Asking Big Ques-tions” require skilled reading, close reasoning, andclear writing. Similarly, projects in math and sciencerequire calculation, number sense, and measure-ment. The arts and technology teaching positions,therefore, have important complements in a readingcoach, a mathematics tutor, special education roles atboth the middle- and high-school levels, and a direc-tor of instructional logistics (who designs and imple-ments the school’s internal and external assessments,including time for teachers to reflect on the implica-tions of results for instruction). In short, BART isBART Charter Public SchoolIndian CompositionAssignmentBy Erin Milne, (former) music teacherIn class this week, you will use Garage Band to composea piece of music in the style of a piece of classical musicfrom India. Follow the steps below:1 Open the starter file from Courses:• This file already contains the beginning of a dronepart.• BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING, immediately save thisfile as Last in your documents folder.2 Expand the drone tracks so they last for theentire piece:• You may have to go back and adjust the length of thedrones as you write the piece.• Let the drone play by itself for the first 10 or so sec-onds of the piece.3 Select and record your raga:• Begin on any white key on the keyboard, and go up thenext seven.• Play around to find one you like that works with thedrone.• Your piece should start with about 30 seconds ofslowly going up and down your raga.• You may use any instrument you like; there is no sitarpatch on Garage Band.4 Add a tala part using loops:• These should start about 40 seconds into the piece.• They should start off simple and repeating at the be-ginning—use one and stick with it for a while beforeyou change it.• Loop ideas: Bongo Groove, Ceramic Drum, CongaGroove, Dumbek Beat, Indian Tabla—all of these willwork well.5 Make the raga part and the tala part more complicatedand faster:• Use loops to make your raga more interesting. Sugges-tions: Exotic Sarod, Middle Eastern Oud• Add more or different drum parts.• Add more instruments. Suggestion: Medieval Flute(close to a venu)6 Go back and make sure all the elements of your piecework well and sound good together. As long as yourpiece follows this format, it does not have to sound“Indian.” See the rubric on the back to know how youwill be graded. Remember to save your work often, onyour own student account. Have fun!bbbb At BART,making musicis considerednot a raretalent, but aform of humancommunicationopen to all.
  21. 21. Advancing Arts Education National Center on Time Learning 19like a well-made watch, where every part iscarefully crafted and connects to every otherpart—curriculum design, schedule, staffing,and funding are all vital, interlocking, integralcomponents of the whole.Connecting Students to the Wider WorldBART faculty members are keenly awarethat as their students grow up in a small townsituated in the midst of a rural area, theysometimes doubt that they can make it in thelarger, “outside” world and may limit theirexpectations prematurely. Erin Milne, the formermusic teacher (and now administrator), provides anexample of how the arts have linked her students torising expectations and to additional opportunities tolearn. She recalls:A number of my choral students wanted to try out forthe regional choir. They came back from those tryoutsshocked by how poorly they thought they did in thesight-reading portion. So we decided to add that to ourpractices. Every week, I built in a sight-reading exercise,with [the exercises] getting harder and harder over time.The students grew as they practiced and tried out again,a number of them successfully. Now, they’re singingwith that bigger choir, which I think is great for studentswho aren’t attending their local high school. It putsthem in the mix.Arts-based field trips take students out of class-rooms and into the community, helping them to de-velop a sense that they can and will be fully capableadults and citizens. ELA teacher Anna Bean tells oftaking her students to see a production of the play“Urinetown” at the Massachusetts College of LiberalArts (MCLA). She describes the impact:They absolutely loved the musical, which was well doneand featured a talk back with the [MCLA] students, di-rector, and designer. For weeks afterward, I heard fromstudents how it was the best theater they had seen….The best takeaway from the experience is that they sawstudents who hailed from the same towns as they didproducing high-quality work.Using Time WellFrom its inception, BART had a longer school day(from 8:00 am until 3:35 pm) and a longer schoolyear (by two weeks), enabling its students more timefor academic mastery and the integration of arts intothe curriculum. Even though BART administrationand faculty had designed their daily and weeklyschedules carefully and had thought hard about howa small charter school staffs such an ambitious pro-gram, they did not immediately achieve their aims.It took an all-out effort to “reset” their model beforethey could maximize the time dedicated to theirschool’s full, enriched program.BART is like a well-made watch,where every part is carefully craftedand connects to every other part.Taking Stock, Making AdjustmentsBART’s early results from the Massachusetts Com-prehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests weresobering: Students underperformed when com-pared to state averages and even when comparedwith schools in similar communities. At that point,BART’s arts-enriched curriculum and expandedlearning time were not yielding the measurable dif-ference that the school had sought.And so, BART’s leaders and faculty rethought theirfundamental assumptions about the ways in whichtheir curriculum was being implemented. They re-alized that the projects and expectations they haddesigned assumed a mastery of basic skills and a setof learner behaviors that many of their incomingstudents had never had the opportunity to developduring their elementary school years. Moreover, theeducators recognized that the level of arts integrationthey had envisioned was not possible, if the schoolwas to help students to attain academic proficiencywhile also developing their higher-order thinking invarious disciplines through targeted use of the arts.With this new insight and understanding, BARTfaculty went back to the drawing board and rede-signed every major aspect of the school’s functioningto strengthen fundamental academic instructionwithout losing the school’s commitment to the artsand technology. Their rethinking—centered on ashared determination to use school time wisely andwell—yielded transformative, school-wide results.The five components of the redesign include:a Restructuring the school day to incorporatemultiple blocks of independent learning time(ILT) that allow for tailor-made tutoring and/orindependent work designed to meet each stu-dent’s talents and interests;a having BART’s full-time arts faculty teach thecore curriculum to middle school students andadvanced projects through high school electives,and hiring visiting artists to teach additionalclasses to augment the overall arts offerings atthe school;a Initiating teacher-developed projectswithin academic disciplines that combine higher-order thinking and creative learning;
  22. 22. 20 National Center on Time Learninga Establishing an after-school program, richin arts activities, that gives students and facultyadditional opportunities to pursue and teachtheir artistic passions in another setting; anda Offering three to four annual artist residen-cies, raising the school-wide investment in thearts to a new level.Together, these new structures and programs,along with the hires and residencies, have produceda more intentional and flexible schedule and calen-dar at BART. Principal Ben Klompus explains thatBART’s continued success since this restructuringtook hold is attributable, at least in part, to a con-scious cultural shift in the way that everyone at theschool now values time. He says:We work very hard to teach that time is a valuableand limited resource. Every minute shouldmatter. This is the way the faculty works andthe school works. As faculty, we make time fortargeted assessments that we study in orderto know what to assign for individual studentsand whole classes. We think hard about the de-sign of each trimester and the whole year.This considerable regard for time as aresource is evident throughout the school,down to the smallest details. For example,in each class, students get an overview ofthe purposes and goals of their assignmentsthat week, providing them with the build-ing blocks to complete larger projects. Then,within each class, teachers make and shareplans for how they will use every minute ofthe full period.A Day at BARTAt BART, each day is a successionof 90-minute blocks, across its7.5-hour day. The blocks rotatedaily, so that no one class alwaysgets the benefit of morning energyor is made to suffer through after-lunch slumps. Each day containsa block devoted to independentlearning time (ILT) that is carefullyused to meet individual students’learning needs (e.g., tutoring inmath, extra writing time for ahistory research paper, a groupcollaboration in biology, or anindependent animé project).All BART middle school studentshave a rotation of visual arts, mu-sic, and technology classes, whichguarantees that learners have thefundamentals in each arts area,irrespective of their individual aca-demic schedules. So, for example,even though an eighth grader might be taking ad-ditional support classes in math, she also would stillhave music for 150 minutes a week.For high school students, the BART school sched-ule includes electives in arts and technology (ratherthan required foundational courses) that rotateacross the school’s trimesters. By engaging schoolfaculty along with visiting artists, BART can providea wide variety of classes that allow older students topursue their arts interests in depth.BART’s school schedule does not end when thefinal bell rings each afternoon. The after-school pro-gram, taught by faculty and by local teaching artists,runs until 4:30. (About one-third of students par-ticipate in the after-school program at any one time,and almost all students end up participating duringthe year.) For students who need support, this extraFall 2011 ElectivesDrama 121:Intro to ActingTech 141:Communicating withTechnologyCreative Writing 152Poetry, Rap SpokenWordArt 211:Drawing IMusic 231:Music Listening AppreciationMusic 234:ChorusArt 441:AP Studio Art 2-DWinter 2012 ElectivesMusic 131:Intro to MusicNotation CompositionCreative Writing 151:Intro to CreativeWritingArt 212:Painting IArt 218:Exploring ThemeDrama 221:Intro to DirectingTechnology 341:Advanced DigitalPhotographyArt 441:AP Studio Art 2-DSpring 2012 ElectivesArt 111:Fundamentals ofDesign ColorDrama 225:An Evening of One-Acts by David IvesMusic 234:ChorusMusic 235:Intro to MusicNotationTechnology 241:Intro to Digital MediaCreative Writing255:From Script to ScreenArt 411:AP Studio ArtBART offers students a rich selection of electives in the arts:xBART Charter Public School
  23. 23. National Center on Time Learning 21time is mandatory. There, they have a chance to dohomework and keep up with assignments, pursueindependent projects, and/or take additional struc-tured classes. BART arts also flourish during thisadditional hour. In the second trimester of 2011–12,BART’s after-school arts and related offerings in-cluded bucket drumming, dance/movement, pottery,and Lego robotics.To make this schedule happen, BART facultywork from 7:40 am–3:35 pm three days a week; theother two days, they work until 4:40 pm. One of theseadditional longer days is dedicated to professional de-velopment; the second additional longer day is spentleading an activity in the after-school program’s aca-demic support, fitness club, or open studios hostingthe arts. Some teachers opt to stay on for more after-school days, for which they are paid an hourly rate.As BART Executive Director Julia Bowen notes,these dedicated and optional additional hours alsoreflect, and have a further impact on, the environ-ment at BART:The culture of the school is one of all-out effort.We actually have the opposite problem from manyschools. We have to urge our faculty to be careful aboutstretching too far. As school leaders, we find ourselvescoaching for balance.Toward the FutureBART is not yet a decade old. Nevertheless, in thatshort time span, the school has demonstrated how,with expanded learning time, it is possible to put to-gether a curriculum that offers ample opportunitiesfor rigorous academics, arts, and technology. Signifi-cantly, BART has shown that this triple combinationcan produce strong returns for students. Considerthe following achievements in 2011:a BART was ranked in the top 5 percent ofschools in Massachusetts for raising studentachievement in English language arts (ELA),and in the top 6 percent for math, as measuredby the state’s MCAS exams.a More BART students earned the rank of profi-cient or advanced on the MCAS exams in everytested subject (ELA, math, and science) thanstudents in the two major districts from whichthe school draws.a BART received national recognition for theacademic growth of its students from the U.S.Department of Education–funded New LeadersEPIC (Effective Practice Incentive Community)program. Only 18 charter schools of 5,000 na-tionwide received this distinction.a EVEN Though just 20 percent of BART parentshad the opportunity to attend college, 100 percentof BART’s 2012 graduates have been acceptedto college.BARTArts Education at the Core:BART faculty members seek opportunities within academic classesto use various art forms, like theater and music, to drive studentstoward excellence.Organizing to Support Arts Education:BART hires three or four resident artists each semester to supple-ment and enhance the full-time teaching staff.The Power of Arts Education to Engage:School Highlight—BART’s “Asking Big Questions” project, fundedthrough a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, is amultidisciplinary program through which students explore localhistory and draw upon a wide range of skills and interests.AdvancingArts EducationHaving proven its ability to enable high studentachievement, BART is looking ahead to its next setof challenges. Faculty and school leaders want tobegin to think hard about the “social-emotional”curriculum. They have seen how theater can giveusually quiet or emotionally challenged youngpeople a voice and a place in a community oflearners. These educators have witnessed howexhibitions and concerts can showcase youngpeople’s unknown talents and upend the acceptedperceptions of who is “smart,” “interesting,” or “cool.”Now, BART teachers and administrators are seekingto sharpen and intensify such learning in thesedomains.Members of the BART community are thinkingabout the role of the arts in the lives of teachers, too.As noted, many academic faculty also teach artselectives and after-school courses in the arts. Theyoften describe their arts teaching as personally vital,for it fuels their zest for teaching American historyor mathematics. Still, given the long day and year,the level of support provided to individual students,and the high academic expectations, a teacher’s lifeat BART is packed and demanding. The concernwith the current dual-role system is that teachers’arts activities might get sidelined by preparation,instruction, report writing, and/or meetingsassociated with their academic responsibilities.Standing as an additional worry is the possibilityof simple burnout. As a result, the administrationis working on streamlining the school’s systems forinterim assessments, grading, and reporting. Bymaking these systems lean and efficient, BART’seducators anticipate being able to leave moretime for the double-yield of arts learning—vitalengagement and positive outcomes for one and all. 
  24. 24. 22 National Center on Time Learning Advancing Arts EducationCASE2 Clarence Edwards Middle School❝The arts allowchildren toauthenticallyopen theirminds, expressthemselves,and produceachievementin many, manyways—beyondthe waysthat we canmeasure.”Leo Flanagan, Jr.,Principal, ClarenceEdwards MiddleSchoolThe“Sanctityof theArts”Connecting academics and enrichment tobecome a high-performing middle schoolBy almost any standard of measurement, before2006, the Clarence Edwards Middle School wasfailing. The long-struggling school, located in theCharlestown neighborhood of Boston, had postedsome of the lowest math scores in the city, while itsachievement in English language arts (ELA) alsowas far below the Massachusetts average. Inside theschool’s worn, red-brick building, faculty and studentmorale was low, and family engagement almostnonexistent. Concern grew that the Edwards, opensince the 1930s, was on the verge of being closed.Just three years later, however, this Boston schoolhad turned itself around. With test scores increasingin all subject areas, the school had raised its overallproficiency rates, narrowing and, in some subjectsand grades, even eliminating, achievement gaps withthe state, as it simultaneously delivered a far morewell-rounded education to every student. Quitesimply, by 2009, the Edwards stood as one of thehighest-performing middle schools in Boston. Aftertrying unsuccessfully for years to fill its classrooms,for the first time in its history, the Edwards had awaiting list, as families of fifth graders from all overthe city sought a slot in the incoming sixth-grade class.Boston, Massachusetts
  25. 25. Advancing Arts Education National Center on Time Learning 23BBBBFrom the diverseself-portraits that line thehallways to rehearsals forthe school musical, the artsare everywhere in evidenceat the Edwards.
  26. 26. 24 National Center on Time Learning Advancing Arts EducationHow did the Edwards Middle School galvanizethis dramatic academic turnaround and give rise toa new school culture that promotes excellence andengagement? The school facility had not changedsubstantially, nor had its student population seenmuch alteration to its basic demographic profile.Today, as in the past, a large majority (89 percent) ofEdwards students come from low-income families,while nearly 92 percent are minority. Instead, theEdwards changed by expanding its school day and,in so doing, was able to forge an innovative formulafor success—a steadfast commitment to providingstudents both a rigorous academic education anddeep learning opportunities in enrichment areas.The Edwards in ContextIn the fall of 2006, the Edwards became one of thepioneering Massachusetts public schools participat-ing in the state’s Expanded Learning Time Initiative(ELT). Motivated by strong new leadership and a re-invigorated teaching staff, and using the ELT grantof an additional $1,300 per pupil, the school beganto rebuild its day from the ground up, lengtheninginstructional hours until 4:20 each afternoon, fora total of 300 more hours of instruction time everyschool year. During SY2011–2012, the Edwards wasone of 19 Massachusetts ELT schools in 9 districtsacross the state, which togetherserved some 10,500 students. At eachMassachusetts ELT school, addition-al time during the school day opensa host of educational opportunities—more individualized, data-driveninstruction tailored to meet students’needs; greater teacher collaborationand the development of professionallearning communities; and an array of enrichmentprograms, often provided through partnerships withcommunity organizations and local artists. At theEdwards, expanded learning time has enabled theschool’s leaders to envision and implement a robustapproach to both academics and the arts—one thatredefines engagement and achievement in its classesand beyond.Practically and philosophically, the arts have beenan integral component of the Edwards expandedschool day since 2006. Citizen Schools, a nationalprogram that partners with middle schools in low-income communities to expand the learning day,was already offering a variety of after-school activi-ties to Edwards students. As Stephanie Edmeade,ELT Director at the Edwards, recalls, “When we be-came an ELT school, we decided that what we werealready doing in our after-school programs shouldbe integrated into the curriculum.” Today, CitizenSchools volunteer teachers, for example, lead a wideselection of 10-week “apprenticeships” for EdwardsDaily Schedule2011 – 20126th Grade7:15 – 7:30 Homeroom7:30 – 8:50 Specialty8:50 – 9:50 Core 19:50 – 10:50 Core 210:50 – 11:15 Lunch11:15 – 12:15 Core 312:15 – 1:15 Core 41:15 – 4:20 Academic Leagues/CitizenSchools (CS)7th Grade7:15 – 7:30 Homeroom7:30 – 8:30 Core 18:35 – 9:35 Core 29:40 – 11:00 Specialty11:00 – 12:00 Core 312:05 – 12:30 Lunch12:35 – 1:35 Core 41:40 – 2:40 Academic Leagues2:40 – 4:20 Electives w/CS8th Grade7:15 – 7:30 Homeroom7:30 – 8:30 Core 18:35 – 9:35 Core 29:35 – 10:00 Lunch10:05 – 11:05 Core 311:10 – 12:10 Core 412:15 – 1:35 Specialty1:40 – 2:40 Academic Leagues2:40 – 4:20 ElectivesStarting in2006, theEdwardsadded 300more annualhours ofinstruction.v
  27. 27. Advancing Arts Education National Center on Time Learning 25sixth graders—encompassing athletics, health andwellness, leadership, and science and technology, aswell as arts activities ranging from constructing andplaying musical instruments to yoga, a poetry slam,and a class on hip-hop and social change. Mean-while, dozens of other instructors, including schoolfaculty members and community-based providers,now offer to Edwards seventh and eighth graders anever-changing variety of arts-focused classes, plusadditional “specialties” in such subjects as physicaleducation, health, and computers.Today, arts education at the Edwards combineswith increased academic achievement as a vitalforce in the school’s rising reputation. During theEdwards winter recruitment event, for example,hundreds of Boston fifth-grade students and theirparents come to watch student cheerleaders, musi-cians, actors, dancers, and visual artists entertainthem. More than a performance, the event offersfamilies an introduction to the school and a chanceto assess how their own child might fit into whatis widely described as the Edwards’s “very positiveschool culture.” Every day, the energy of this culturereverberates through the classrooms, stages, stu-dios, and hallways of the Edwards. Born of a deepinstitutional belief in the multifaceted, educationalvalue of arts experiences, this culture also reflectsa wholehearted, enthusiastic commitment, on thepart of educators and students alike, to dedicate timeeach day to arts practice. Currently, the Edwards hasthree full-time arts faculty—teaching dance, theaterand chorus, and the visual arts, respectively—amongthe school’s eight “specialist” teachers.Committing to Arts LearningOver the two years he has served as the Edwardsprincipal, Leo Flanagan, Jr. has emerged as one ofthe school’s most passionate proponents of the role ofthe arts in education. He suggests the context for hiscommitment: “When you look at our standardizedtests, like the MCAS (Massachusetts ComprehensiveAssessment System), that have become so dominanta force, you see these tests only measure intelligencein a singular way.” In contrast, “The arts allowchildren to authentically open their minds, expressthemselves, and produce achievement in many,many ways—beyond the ways that we can measure.”The principal recognizes that it may be difficult todraw a direct connection between a commitment tothe arts and the school’s improving academic perfor-mance. For this reason, he believes, “It is courageousfor the school to dedicate such time and effort to ac-tivities whose benefits cannot easily be measured.”BBBB Everyday, the energy of this positive culture reverberates throughthe classrooms, stages, studios, and hallways of the school.
  28. 28. 26 National Center on Time Learning Advancing Arts EducationMaking Time for The ArtsOn a typical afternoon at the Edwards, the arts areeverywhere in evidence. In a visual arts classroom,where Top 40 music plays in the background, smallgroups of seventh and eighth graders are celebrat-ing Earth Day by collaboratively creating a flock ofgiant hummingbirds from recycled magazines andnewspapers. Down a hallway studded with studentart, step dancers are practically spilling out of twoadjacent classrooms as they hone the routines theywill present in a few weeks at a local college. At thesame time, in the school’s nearby basement theater,dozens of students are on the stage learning the lyr-ics and the choreography for “Good Morning Balti-more,” the opening number of Hairspray, the 1960s-style Broadway musical that they will perform forthe school’s other students, their own families, andmembers of the Charlestown community.Undergirding and framing this wide range of artsactivities is the Edwards Middle School’s expandedday. When, in 2006, the Edwards joined the state’sExpanded Learning Time Initiative,the school’s leaders envisioned a well-rounded education that would dedicatetime to both academics and to the studyand practice of the arts in many forms.Consequently, all Edwards students havea designated 80-minute period for arts“specialties” in the first half of the dayand then conclude each afternoon with a1 hour 40 minute perioddevoted to one electivepursuit. For this period,some choose to immersethemselves in sports likeswimming or tennis; oth-ers take classes in engi-neering, math, financialliteracy, or foreign lan-guages; still other studentsdo community outreachand service. Meanwhile, asignificant portion of students select fromthe array of visual and performing artsactivities—extending from animé, archi-tecture, and fashion design through con-cert and rock band, to ballet and breakdancing. Together, these arts and enrich-ment opportunities are woven into anacademic day that features an hour eachof English, math, science and social stud-ies, as well as the Edwards “AcademicLeagues”—the individualized, tiered aca-demic support all students receive.Edwards educators agree that theirschool’s meaningful embrace of the artswould not be possible without the ex-panded school day. In turn, many of theseeducators say their school’s significant commitmentto the arts has re-engaged their students in learn-ing and transformed their own teaching role. CindyMcKeen, who has taught theater, chorus, and musi-cal theater at the Edwards since 1999, paints compel-ling before-and-after pictures:Before the expanded day, theater was just the placewhere kids would come to vent and use their voice to saywhat they needed to say in a way that would make youlisten…. Now, with expanded learning, students have theopportunity to come to theater very prepared and want-ing to do well. As a result, I’ve had to change the way Iteach—my students now are ready to learn.Valuing Choice in the ArtsAlong with having more time, which enables a dailydouble dose of arts-oriented learning, the educatorshere claim the element of choice is fundamental tothe flourishing of the school’s arts program. Twice ayear, Edwards students choose which apprenticeship“Name that Beat”by Emily Bryan, English language arts (ELA) teachername that beat is a PowerPoint game in which students listen to popularhip-hop, rock, and pop music (beats only) while reading a few lines of thelyrics to the song. Each set of lines is presented on a slide with pictures ofthe artist and a countdown timer. Every slide contains multiple examplesof figurative language and sound devices that the students, working ingroups, must identify. They receive extra points for naming the artists. The music and PowerPoint slides play for two minutes each, duringwhich time students work with their peers to analyze the lyrics. When themusic stops, everyone must be silent, and a name is pulled out of a hat. Thestudent whose name is pulled provides all the answers the group hasgenerated, while also explaining his/her own thinking. For example, thestudent should say something like: “‘I’m an itch they can’t scratch’ is a lineby Eminem, and it’s a metaphor because it is comparing him to somethingelse—an itch—without using the words ‘like’ or ‘as.’”Because it engages every type of learner at every proficiency level, thisis a very effective classroom game. Students who are shy to contribute, orare hard to engage, become excited and contribute their knowledge of mu-sic to the group, while they listen to and learn from the more advanced stu-dents, who focus on tutoring everyone in the group when a name is pulled. Students are asked to identify similes, metaphors, personification, idi-oms, hyperbole, alliteration, repetition, rhyme, onomatopoeia, etc., for thefollowing artists/lyrics:% “Baby, you’re a firework, come on, let your colors burst, make ‘em go‘oh, oh oh,’”—Katie Perry% “Coming from the deep black like the Loch Ness, now I bring apoca-lypse like the Heart of Darkness”—Talib Kweli% “You’re my devil, you’re my angel, you’re my heaven, you’re my hell,you’re my now, you’re my forever, you’re my freedom, you’re my jail”—Kanye West% And many more….Clarence Edwards Middle SchoolCreatingpowerfulconnections,learning, andengagementthrough songsthat capturea moment orgive voice toa deeply-feltemotionv
  29. 29. Advancing Arts Education National Center on Time Learning 27or elective they will participate in during the after-noons. This selection process allows these studentsto discover, experiment, and pursue their passions.“The students are empowered by the arts choicesthey make,” explains Principal Leo Flanagan. “Somekids, who are particularly confident, will choose anactivity they’re not good at, because they want to tryit. Most will look for some way to shine during theday.” ELT Director Stephanie Edmeade says thathaving these choices, plus the longer enrichment pe-riods to develop their selections, nurtures a “pipelineof kids” who forge their own trails through the arts:While we will always have generalists, many studentsdiscover their niche when they find something theylove and that continues to attract them. This is how theylearn—being chosen for the play, getting really big parts,being named captain of the step team, being first chairin band, becoming the best in our school.Muñeca, an eighth grader who will join several ofher Edwards classmates at Boston Arts Academy(BAA), a prestigious audition-based public highschool, personifies this progression toward success.Although generally only older students are admittedto the Edwards band, Muñeca recounts, “Somehow,I sneaked into band class in sixth grade, and that’swhere my music passion started. Then I came intoconcert band, then rock band, and so I became abassist.” Her deep involvement with musichas brought Muñeca additional, perhapsunanticipated, rewards:I learned how to communicate by playing in anensemble. If you don’t communicate or knowyour part, you will clash with the others. Youalso get connected with other students and toyour teachers through music because you sharea passion…. Now, when I come home fromschool, I often practice the whole rest ofthe day.Cindy McKeen has witnessed first-hand how giving her students the timeand space to explore their passionsbuilds their self-confidence. In par-ticular, McKeen emphasizes the arts’special gift to students who are eager to com-municate and express their own ideas:When you teach students to use their voices—toconnect what they’re thinking to what they wantto say to make you listen—they begin to feelconfident in what they’re doing…. This takes a lotof courage, especially in middle school. Our step-pers, our cheerleaders, our poets, our singers, ourmusicians—they learn they can handle anything.McKeen’s words resonate when her stu-dents are asked about the pivotal role of theEdwards arts programming in their lives. AsYvonne, another BAA-bound eighth grader, attests:My favorite class is musical theater. Ever since sixthgrade, when I auditioned for Grease, musical theater hastaught me how to feel comfortable and communicatewith others. It makes me feel good just being there, likeI’m home. I come to school and do my work, but I can’twait to get to theater and express who I am and show myreal personality.Aubriana, an eighth grader who is captain of thestep dancing team this year and who also has partici-pated in musical theater, agrees:Musical theater has opened me up and made me moreoutgoing. Now acting is a safety net for me. When I getupset, acting or stepping helps me to overcome the angeror what makes me sad, and makes me feel better.Using Time WellOne of the secrets to the success of arts educationat the Edwards is a certain fluidity in the teachingapproaches and a readiness to share lessons learnedin the arts across all the disciplines. Indeed, theEdwards is a place of permeable boundaries—whereparticipation in the arts opens new possibilitiesin academic classrooms while the cooperative,collaborative learning that takes place in coresubject areas shapes and strengthens artistic andBBBBI don’twant prettypictures.... Iwant work thatrequires somethought.”