Planning an Arts-Centered School
Planning an
Arts-Centered School
A Handbook
The Dana Foundation
The Dana Foundation
Board of Directors
William Safire, Chairman
Edward F. Rover, President
Edward Bleier
Wallace L. Cook
Charles A. Dana III
Ann McLaughlin Korologos
LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr., M.D.
Hildegarde E. Mahoney
Donald B. Marron
L. Guy Palmer, II
Herbert J. Siegel
Clark M. Whittemore, Jr.
The Dana Foundation is a private philanthropic foundation with principal
interests in science, health, and education.
Planning an Arts-Centered School
A Handbook
2002 The Dana Foundation
Jane Nevins,
Editor in Chief
Walter Donway,
The Dana Foundation
745 Fifth Avenue, Suite 900
New York, NY 10151
Tel: (212) 223-4040
Please note:
Planning an Arts-Centered School: A Handbook is available in its entirety
on the Dana Web site in PDF format.
Planning an
Arts-Centered School
A Handbook
Edited by Carol Fineberg, Doctor of Arts
Prolegomenon by William Safire
“Music has kept me off the streets. I found
my talent. It is my music. That is the best
thing about me.”
—Everett Holland, student
The Levine School of Music
Washington, DC
“Whether you’re talking about an integrated curriculum or an integrated lesson
plan, it really goes back to that issue of
outcomes. You need to know at the end of
that lesson plan, at the end of the curriculum, what students know and are able to
do in both domains that you’re dealing
with. If you don’t do that, then it’s not an
integrated lesson because somehow one
has taken precedence over the other, and
the other was just a means and not really
part of the content.”
—Derek Gordon,
Vice President for Education,
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Table of Contents
by William Safire, Chairman, The Dana Foundation
A Template for Artistry
by Janet Eilber, Principal Arts Consultant, The Dana Foundation
Part l
Getting Started
Chapter 1: ABCs of DC Public Charter Schools
by Shirley Monastra
Chapter 2: Admissions and Governance at the Ellington School of the Arts
by Mitzi Yates
Chapter 3: Recruiting and Selecting Students for the Middle School of the Arts
by Teresa Stoupas and Elizabeth Perlman
Part ll
Choosing an Identity
Chapter 4: Developing the Drama Curriculum at the New World School of the Arts
by Jorge Guerra-Castro
Chapter 5: A Public-Private Partnership for Training Young Talent: The Special Music
School of America
by Lydia Kontos
Chapter 6: The Dance Education Laboratory’s Model for Professional Development
by Ann Biddle with contributions from Jody Arnhold and Joan Finkelstein
Chapter 7: Community-Wide Music Education at the Levine School
by Kenneth Hopper
Chapter 8: A Comprehensive Approach to an Integrated Arts Curriculum at
the Woodrow Wilson School
by Ron Treanor and Anthony Buscetti
Chapter 9: Integrating the Arts into the Wider Curriculum
by Carol Fineberg
Chapter 10: A Model for Drama in Education from the American Place Theatre
by Lisa Richards and David Kener
Chapter 11: Pointers and Pitfalls in Creating a Visual Arts Curriculum
by Emanuelle A. Kihm and Odili Donald Odita
Part lll
Making It Work
Chapter 12: Planning for Effective Collaborations with Arts Organizations
by Ellen B. Rudolph
Chapter 13: A Prescription for an Effective Dance Program
by Nasha Thomas Schmitt
Chapter 14: A Museum Educator’s Perspective on School Partnerships
by Radiah Harper
Chapter 15: A Parent’s Perspective on the Needs of Students, Parents, and the
by Leticia Barnes
Chapter 16: A Teacher’s Perspective on Life in an Arts-Centered Elementary School
by Lois Olshan
Chapter 17: Finding the Money for a School Focused on the Arts
by Lauren Katzowitz and Susan Cahn
Chapter 18: Options for Evaluating an Arts-Centered School
by Carol Fineberg
Appendix I:
Sample Planning Materials and Forms
Appendix II.
Resources for Planning an Arts-Centered School
Appendix III. Planning a School for the Performing Arts: Symposium Participants
Appendix IV. The Dana Foundation Arts in Education Program
On “Best Practices”
by William Safire
prolegomenon—rooted in the Greek prolegein, “to say
beforehand”—is another word for “introduction.” I use it
here because everybody skips introductions to get to the meat of
a book.
In planning a school that will use the performing arts to
enhance primary education, what are some of the best practices
that teachers and artists can draw on?
“Best practices,” a term of art, sometimes carries a pretentious connotation. Who dares decide which teaching techniques,
admissions policies, and types of schools are “best”? In this
handbook, outstanding educators examine some approaches to
the marriage of education and the arts that they have found to
be successful. The examples they study are innovative, exciting, and at least among the best. They present their hard-won
and varied experience herein to help point the way toward
effective use of the arts in teaching our children.
Tough challenges face communities trying to create an elementary or middle (secondary) school that integrates the performing arts as a central part of its curriculum and philosophy.
The views herein often present disparate ideas and different
conclusions. That’s as it should be; lively debate should always
be a part of educational planning. This handbook is designed to
help inform the discussion.
Our essays address some universal questions in planning an
arts-centered school. Among them:
Planning an Arts-Centered School
—Should the prospective students be those with already
defined talent, or those with little or no formal background in
the arts, but with a desire to learn? In that connection, should
pre-admission screening be a requirement for admission?
—Does the school seek an identity as a full-scale professional
performing arts school or one that integrates the arts for all students?
—What should be the relationship of an arts-centered school to
the larger public school system?
—What special training is needed for classroom teachers to
most effectively use the expertise and inspiration of arts professionals in their classes?
—What are the costs for such an innovation? Where, outside
the school district itself, can planners draw additional funding?
Difficult questions, but others have faced them and come up
with practical answers that are right for their communities.
The Dana Foundation’s interest in education has deep roots.
For the past decade, it has been known for its support of brain
research, with more than 300 leading neuroscientists, including
14 Nobel laureates, active in the Dana Alliance for Brain
Initiatives and the European Dana Alliance. Most recently, the
Foundation has expanded that support into basic research in
However, throughout our more than fifty-year history, support
of education has been an integral part of our grantmaking. Dana
buildings can be found on many college campuses. We have a
commitment to the mission of the Dana Center at the
University of Texas at Austin, which is working to improve
public school student achievement using innovative techniques.
We have moved from supporting mortar and brick to funding
innovative and replicable concepts in education.
Last year, Dana extended its education support to organizations bringing music, drama, and dance to the public schools in
Prolegomenon: On “Best Practices”
and around New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC.
These grants, relatively modest at first, are designed to help
innovative professional development programs that foster
improved teaching of the performing arts in public schools.
We were also asked to support a planning symposium to discuss the possibilities of a National Music Museum in Washington, DC, that would include an elementary or middle school for
the performing arts. We turned to Dana’s principal arts consultant, Janet Eilber, long associated with the Martha Graham
Company and a consultant on modern dance preservation for
the Library of Congress, and to Dr. Carol Fineberg, a nationally
recognized adviser in arts education who has had experience in
the planning and evaluation of arts-themed public schools.
Their first assignment was to organize a symposium to examine the difficulties as well as opportunities of creating an elementary or middle school that uses the performing arts both to
help teach academic subjects and to develop latent (or evident)
arts talents. Early in 2001, to prepare for that Washington, DC,
meeting scheduled for that October, they enlisted the help of
more than a dozen of the nation’s leading arts-interested educators in putting together a briefing book of promising practices.
This handbook is an outgrowth of that stimulating session, and
the papers presented there are enriched by the second thoughts
of many of the authors and studded with the comments of the
participants. Dana is distributing it to interested community
leaders, teachers, artists, school board members, and others.
We are aware that neuroscience research is just beginning to
help us understand how the arts might help young minds develop and learn. Planning an art-centered school anywhere in the
United States is an ambitious project, but one that carries with it
the opportunity to help children develop a lifelong interest in
the arts. Some of those children will develop specific creative
talents and make their contributions as professional artists. Both
results—creating appreciative audiences and developing talented performers—are worth the challenge to planners of an educational art-centered environment.
Planning an Arts-Centered School
This collection of papers, and the informed discussion it is
intended to stimulate, presupposes the value of an arts-centered
school; it aims to define the variety of teaching frameworks that
makes it possible to plan one intelligently. We hope it will facilitate the development of a promising infusion of the arts into education throughout the United States.
The New York Times columnist William Safire joined the
Board of The Dana Foundation in 1993 and started The Dana
Press, which publishes the newsletter BrainWork, the biweekly
Brain in the News, the quarterly Cerebrum, and a series of
trade books relating to neuroscience. He was elected chairman
of The Dana Foundation in 2000.
A Template for Artistry
by Janet Eilber, Principal Arts Consultant, The Dana Foundation
he 2002 Olympic gold medal in figure skating went to Sarah Hughes for a performance
of absolute skill, steely discipline, and most
important, total abandon. Her competitors—even
at this high level of artistry—all had varying
degrees of self-consciousness. They seemed limited, at times hesitant or overly controlled, and, as
a result, a step removed from the audience. Sarah,
thinking she had nothing to lose, risked everything and gained more than she thought possible.
“I didn’t know you could do that!” said her
coach. “I didn’t know I could do that!” came
Sarah’s exhilarated reply.
Sarah had achieved every artist’s ultimate goal:
the moment that you transcend your technique. In
that moment, you are so secure in your discipline
that you are freed from it, able to play, to risk, to
respond and react spontaneously, to be at one
with the audience. That is the moment of exceeding your own expectations—when you leave the
possible behind and embody the impossible. Even
the greatest artists have only a handful of performances that they will count as truly reaching the
center of the flame.
Watching the skater’s triumph took me back to
a memorable rehearsal I had with Martha
Graham. “What I want from you is very simple,”
she said with the weight of 80 years of relentless
choreographic creativity behind her, “I want
everything.” It went without saying that she
expected the highest standards of technical discipline and achievement, but I realized that she
expected the same level of commitment to the
intangible—the artist’s risk, the total vulnerability
of personal expression. She demanded that the
physical technique subserve the revelations of the
As one of the few fifth graders chosen to sing
with the sixth grade in my suburban Detroit public school, I was introduced at an early age to the
requirements of artistic achievement. These
requirements would be with me through a professional track education at Interlochen Arts
Academy and the Juilliard School, and through a
career that included dancing at international
venues, on Broadway, and at the White House. At
some point, the conceptual framework that
formed my approach to art became my approach
Educators know that the goals of
the arts—high standards and
personal expectations, exacting
discipline and creative risk—are
the elements needed for success
in learning and in life.
to life. It provides a template for everything from
career choices to child rearing.
Educators know that the goals of the arts—high
standards and personal expectations, exacting discipline and creative risk—are the elements needed for success in learning and in life. What does
all this have to do with Planning an ArtsCentered School? With my performing career
behind me, I am more and more involved with
arts organizations in other capacities—as a
teacher, board member, or artistic consultant. In
this new role, I have learned that the best arts
institutions are those that emulate the best in
artists. “Through discipline comes freedom,” the
virtuoso violinist Yehudi Menuhin once said. In
order to lead creatively, a school must be rooted
in discipline, secure enough in its basic goals to
be able to react to the ever-evolving field with
spontaneity. As much a part of the organization’s
mission as is maintaining a balanced budget, or
meeting state standards, is preserving a dedication
to risk that makes it possible for the organization,
or any of its students, to exceed all expectations—even their own.
Planning an Arts-Centered School
The purpose of this book is to guide organizations hoping to create an arts-centered school in
essential structural needs such as governance,
funding, physical facilities, and community participation. The questions, resources, and guidelines herein are like the technical routines that
any dancer or skater must master before
excelling. They are like scales to a musician—
challenging, but with practice and perseverance,
achievable. Just as Sarah Hughes secured her
triple jumps and released a new level of inspiration, the tangible foundations of an educational
institution can be secured, freeing limitless possibilities in learning and achieving. This book is a
template for those who believe in arts in education to dare what only seems to be impossible.
In her years as principal dancer with the
Martha Graham Dance Company, Janet
Eilber soloed at the White House, was partnered by Rudolf Nureyev, and starred in three
segments of Dance in America. She danced
many of Graham’s greatest roles, had roles
created for her by Graham, and since has
directed Graham ballets internationally.
Eilber has also performed in films, on television, and on Broadway directed by Agnes
deMille, Bob Fosse, and Tommy Tune. As cofounder of the American Repertory Dance
Company, she has received four Lester
Horton Awards for her reconstruction and
performance of seminal American modern
dance. Eilber is currently artistic advisor to
the Library of Congress Martha Graham
Collection and a Trustee of the Interlochen
Center for the Arts. As principal arts consultant to the Dana Foundation, she guides the
Dana initiatives in arts education.
Part I
Getting Started
Chapter One
ABCs of DC Public Charter Schools
by Shirley Monastra
n April 1996, Congress enacted legislation to
permit the establishment of public charter
schools in the District of Columbia. The basic
premise of the charter school movement is that a
critical mass of effective, independently operated
public schools will provide greater educational
opportunities for students, parents, and teachers
while promoting competition with traditional public schools—competition that will force the latter
to improve school performance. Currently, 37
states and the District of Columbia have charter
school laws, and as of fall 200l, 2,372 charter
schools were in operation in scores of school districts serving approximately 576,000 students. In
the District of Columbia, 36 charter schools serve
10,870 students.
What Is a
Public Charter School?
In the District of Columbia, charter schools are
independently managed, publicly funded, nonsectarian schools that are open to all students and
are not subject to the control of the DC Public
Schools (DCPS). They may not charge tuition,
nor may they impose discriminatory admissions
requirements. Charter schools must follow all
applicable local and federal health, safety, and
financial accounting/reporting regulations.
Unlike traditional public schools, charter
schools are public schools of choice. No one is
assigned to a charter school; parents, students,
teachers, and administrators actively select them.
The schools receive public funds based upon the
number of students in attendance. Charter schools
that are oversubscribed must hold a lottery to
determine who will be enrolled.
Persons currently teaching in a DC public
school may take a leave of absence to teach in a
charter school. These teachers retain their seniority and may continue to participate in the DCPS
retirement system. Charter schools may choose to
hire non-certified teachers with expertise in spe-
cific subject matter. Many charter schools offer
teacher training to their staff and/or establish professional mentoring with experienced, master
Accountability Through
Governance and Organization
Charter schools are accountable for the academic
results of their students. Accountability is based
on a performance contract between the chartering
authority and the governing board of the charter
school. The approved charter application is the
Unlike traditional public schools,
charter schools are public schools
of choice. No one is assigned to a
charter school; parents, students,
teachers, and administrators
actively select them.
basis for the contract and describes the student
outcomes that are to be achieved. The charter
school’s continued operation depends upon
whether those outcomes are accomplished.
Charter schools trade bureaucracy for accountability, regulation for results.
In return for this unusually high level of
accountability, charter schools are granted equally
high levels of autonomy. There is an up-front
waiver from rules regarding curriculum, management, and teaching. Charter schools also have
control over their entire education program, staff,
faculty, and 100 percent of their budget. While
the chartering authority may specify student outcomes (through the performance contract with the
charter school), it may not specify how the school
will operate. Those decisions are left to the persons who establish and operate the charter school
and the aforementioned governing board. The
Planning an Arts-Centered School
Shirley Monastra is Director, DC Public Charter School Resource Center.
A former public school teacher and elected school board member in New
Jersey, Ms. Monastra has had a variety of experiences working in urban
education, public health, long-term care, and public housing. She moved
to the District in 1991 and worked for the Congressional Commission on
Severely Distressed Public Housing. Subsequently, Ms. Monastra worked
as a consultant and later served as Interim Director of the DC Committee
on Public Education (COPE). In 1998, she successfully led the transformation of COPE into a free-standing non-profit organization, the DC
Public Charter School Resource Center, where she serves as Executive
Ms. Monastra has been involved in numerous community organizations
and was instrumental in planning and developing a countywide, homebased hospice program in New Jersey. She was co-founder of the Atlantic
County Women’s Center and completed a post-graduate fellowship in
Leadership Training at the Center for Human Development, Fairleigh
Dickinson University, in 1978.
ABCs of DC Public Charter Schools
board establishes policies to drive the implementation of the educational, financial, and operational activities of the school, (including the
school calendar and day).
Charter schools generally offer a low teacherstudent ratio. They actively seek the participation
of parents in their child’s education, sponsor
after-school programs, and provide a longer academic school day and year. Charter schools seek
to create a school culture that promotes an environment in which learning is paramount.
Teachers, parents, or community members may
organize new charter schools. An existing DC
public school can convert to charter status if twothirds of its teachers and parents petition to do so.
In addition to parents and teachers, other entities—such as a college, university, non-profit service provider, museum, theater, or other non-sectarian group—can sponsor a new charter school.
Charter School Funding and
Chartering Authorities
Charter schools in the District of Columbia
receive an allocation based on a per pupil formula
developed annually by the Mayor and City
Council. The allocation in FY 2001 was $6,786.
If a student has special disabilities, limited
English proficiency, or Title I eligibility, supplemental funds are added to the standard per-pupil
allocations. Charter schools may raise additional
funds privately to enable the schools to add to
their programs and offer specialized programming
whose cost may exceed the per-pupil allocation.
Each charter school is responsible for securing
an appropriate facility for its students. The
District includes a facilities add-on ($1,640 in FY
2001) in the per-pupil formula, and, in the past
three years, some charter schools have leased or
purchased surplus DC public schools.
The District has two chartering authorities. The
DC Public Charter School Board was established
by an act of Congress. While the Mayor appoints
its members, he selects from a group of nominees
submitted by the U.S. Secretary of Education.
The Charter School Board’s only role is to review
and approve/disapprove charter applications. It
also oversees those applicants once charters are
granted. The DC Public Charter School Board is
generally thought to be one of the best chartering
authorities in the United States.
Governance Structure and Organization
We found that when working with new schools
that there are a number of ingredients that
make a successful school:
Strong governance structure is in place.
Strong school leadership is critical to what
gets to happen in school.
Parents are involved in the planning process
from the very start of the seed of the idea of
the school.
Parents are committed to an articulated vision
and mission.
Strong professional staff is integral and
involved in every step of the design and implementation of the school.
—From the DC Public Charter School Web Site,
The other chartering authority in the District is
the DC Board of Education. Historically, this
board has been somewhat ambivalent about the
creation of charter schools in the District. The
District formerly had an 11-member, all-elected
school board that, the whole city came to agree,
was dysfunctional. That board was replaced in
2001 by a hybrid nine-member board made up of
appointed and elected members. Three schools
chartered by the previous school board have been
closed to date, and, at this writing, two more are
involved in closure proceedings. The new hybrid
school board is taking its responsibilities with
Planning an Arts-Centered School
respect to charter schools much more seriously
than its predecessor. However, it has yet to fully
staff its charter school oversight operations.
Establishing a
Charter School
Planners of an arts-centered charter school should
be prepared to develop the following plans:
Educational Plan
Mission and Purposes of
Proposed Charter School
Academic Design
Student Performance Standards
Support for Learning
Business Plan
Planning and Establishment
Governance and Management
Student Recruiting and
Marketing Procedures
Operations Plan
Student Policies and Procedures
Board of Trustees Policies
and Procedures
Human Resource Information
Arrangements for Meeting Local,
State, and Federal Requirements
Management Procedures
Public Charter School Accountability Plan
Measurements to Determine Progress Toward
Performance Based School Goals
Performance Indicators–Definitions
of Student Progress
Baseline Performance
Instruments–Including Those Used
in District-Wide Assessments
Education Plan—Management
Plan for Measuring, Analyzing, Reporting Assessment
Results for Parents, Students, and Boards
Timetable—Schedule for
Implementing Evaluation Plan
Insurance Coverage, Board of
Trustee Bylaws, School Contracts,
Copy of Incorporation Documents
Pre-opening–Building Inspection,
Fire Inspection, Environmental and
Safety Approvals
Compliance with Federal and Local
Health and Safety Laws/Regulations
Pre-Opening Expenses, Two-Year
Operating Budget, Estimated Five-Year Budget
Projections, Capital Budget, and Cash Flow
Projection- Year 1
Each state education department has its specific
requirements outlined in its applications packet.
Planners need that packet in order to work effectively.
What We Have Learned in the District
About Starting a Charter School
We offer the following advice, based upon our
work with the charter schools in DC:
1. Take two years to plan. It is extremely difficult to plan policies and procedures once
school opens.
2. Develop a cadre of like-minded individuals
(five to ten) who are interested in pursuing
the charter opportunity. They will be your
nucleus of planners.
3. Complete research to identify education
needs in the District to inform your school
4. Carefully develop your school’s vision and
Although it is tempting to break into groups to
work in discrete areas of the school plan, this
strategy frequently leads to a fragmented
approach to school design that will present problems later on in the application process, especially before an authority review panel. Each plan-
ABCs of DC Public Charter Schools
ning team member must be familiar with every
aspect of the school plan.
We Recommend the Following Actions for
Based on the identified mission, examine existing
academic and arts standards to select those that
reflect your school’s academic and arts goals.
(See Appendix I for information regarding how to
find published standards.)
• Review available research-based school
designs (e.g., New American Schools,
CORE Knowledge, Direct Instruction) and
curriculum options to assist in selecting an
educational program that can be easily
aligned with your mission and standards.
• Once the educational plan is drafted (including staffing requirements), begin focusing on
the “ins and outs” of running a school.
Identify characteristics of a great school
leader and teaching staff. Review materials
(and charter school law) to determine size
and make-up of the Board of Trustees.
• Research best business practices; If needed,
hire outside experts in this area to inform
your operations.
• Examine strategies to create sound budgeting structures and a solid financial plan.
Consider forming a separate foundation
board to assist in seeking external funding
• Research federal and local legal requirements, including English proficiency
requirements and health and safety regulations. Begin articles of incorporation and
obtain 501(c)(3) status from the IRS.
• Begin search for appropriate facility.
Predictors for Success
Based on its work with charter schools in the
District, the DC Public Charter School Resource
Center had identified a number of predictors for
success. A successful charter candidate:
• Seeks a charter from the appropriate source;
good Public Charter School Boards have a
rigorous process and work to weed out weak
• Enters into a partnership with a successful,
long established community organization.
• Ensures that each applicant puts together a
strong governing board that is prepared to
hold the school leaders strictly accountable.
• Chooses a leader who is the instructional
leader, one who establishes clear lines of
responsibility and authority and who can
work well with parents and the Board of
Trustees. Establishes a separate board or
foundation dedicated to raising additional
Crucial to the success of a charter school is, of
course, the quality of leadership. We have noticed
that in many urban school systems around the
country we are experiencing a kind of revolving
door in terms of school leadership. Principals of
high quality are becoming more rare to find and
more difficult to keep. We want to make sure
when we are creating a new school that whoever
the instructional leader is—and hopefully the
principal is the instructional leader—that person
is very involved in the planning process.
Successful charter schools that we have seen
bring the principal on board at least a year before
a school is scheduled to open. The principal is
not only committed to the mission, but also committed to making that mission happen on a dayto-day basis and finding the people to make it
The principal should not be in an isolated position. He or she needs to be closely connected to
board members, as well as networked with other
Planning an Arts-Centered School
We want to make sure when we are
creating a new school, that whoever
the instructional leader is—and
hopefully the principal is the
instructional leader—that person is
very involved in the planning
professionals in education, and be part of a
vibrant educational network. The trustees should
support the principal and be the mainstay for
what the principal needs to have happen.
A number of Web resources are helpful when
considering a plan for establishing a charter
school. The U.S. Department of Education site: gives an excellent
overview of the national charter movement,
including a description of some innovative charter
schools, a review of education management organizations that operate schools nationally, and
links to resource centers throughout the country
that have valuable information, regardless of your
geographic location.
The Charter Friends National Network is the
broad based, national organization for persons
interested in charter schools: This Web site includes
updates of pending federal legislation that
impacts charter schools and charter school publications that are informative and available on line.
Our own Web site, has
recently been renovated. It contains an updated
list of District charter schools, including their
Web addresses, as well as a variety of useful publications.
Chapter Two
Admissions and Governance at the
Ellington School of the Arts
by Mitzi Yates
grams in visual, performing, media, and literary
arts, and museum studies.
Ellington School: A Model for a High
School of the Arts
Established in 1974, the Duke Ellington School
of the Arts remains the only DC public school
that provides students with pre-professional arts
education and a rigorous comprehensive college
preparatory curriculum. Ellington strives to
instill in each student an appreciation of his or her
innate intellectual and creative potential, to develop the personal sense of discipline, cooperation,
and hard work necessary to succeed in professional occupations, and to teach the skills that
contribute to personal fulfillment and proficiency
in the arts and academic life. This is accomplished through pre-professional training pro-
At Ellington High School for the Arts, focus and sustained
concentration prepare students for both college and career.
harles Dickens’ novel, A Tale of Two Cities,
presents a picture of contrasts not unlike the
stories of the 77,000 K-12 grade students who are
enrolled in the District of Columbia Public
Schools (DCPS). Today’s students are faced with
complex tasks and problems to solve as they
negotiate their educational experiences.
Increasingly, arts-focused schools understand, and
are successful in adopting an approach to their
needs that combines academics and arts to prepare students for an intellectually and artistically
demanding world.
In the Class of 2001, our students
were accepted into MIT, Harvard,
Juilliard, New York University,
University of Michigan, Wesleyan,
New York State University at
Purchase, Howard University. We
gave out about $1.5 million in
scholarships to 124 students for
further study.
(Figures from the Ellington
School of the Arts)
Ellington’s students are expected to excel academically and artistically. Ellington can boast an
annual average of 95 percent of college acceptance of its graduates. Ninety-two percent of
Ellington’s 2001 graduates were accepted into
such post-secondary institutions as Juilliard,
Harvard University, New York University,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the
University of Michigan, Vassar College, and
Howard University. While some Ellington students are academically low-skilled, all are very
talented in the arts.
Planning an Arts-Centered School
Mitzi Yates is the Principal and CEO of the Duke Ellington School of the
Arts. She is the former General Director of the Greater Hartford
Academy of the Arts, a magnet arts1 high school, and the Center for
Creative Youth at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. She is
President of the Board of Directors of the International Network of
Performing and Visual Arts Schools, where she also held the title of
Nominating Chair, Treasurer, and First Vice President. Ms. Yates’s professional background includes senior level positions in corporate, nonprofit and municipal organizations. She served as a member of the Board
of Directors of the Connecticut Commission on the Arts for three terms,
having been appointed by the House Speaker of the General Assembly of
Connecticut. She has been a lobbyist, a community leader, and a dancer
and remains committed to providing quality arts education to adolescents.
1.The “magnet” appellation signals that this is a school that receives additional funding from the state or
federal government in order to promote voluntary desegregation of minority isolated populations.
Admissions and Governance at the Ellington School of the Arts
Ellington graduates must earn a minimum of
31.5 credits to graduate, compared with 23.5
credits required by the District of Columbia
Public Schools (DCPS). The graduation credit
variance is based upon Ellington’s requirements
of its students who focus primarily in one art
form—dance, theater, vocal and instrumental
music, literary media, visual arts, and museum
studies. As part of the DCPS graduation requirements, all Ellington students must perform 100
hours of community service. During the 2000-01
school year, students met these requirements
through more than 75 public performances and
exhibitions throughout the metropolitan area,
including the White House and the Kennedy
Center, as well as abroad, performing in Italy and
The racial make-up of the student body is as follows:
Asian/Pacific Islander
The socio-economic level of Ellington students
varies, although a great number of students reside
in the poorer sections of Washington, DC, and
travel by public transportation to Georgetown, an
exclusive section of Washington.
The financial cost of educating 500 Ellington
students in a curriculum composed of arts and
academics is between $11,474 and $14,261, at
least 20 percent higher than the average per-pupil
cost of students in traditional DC public schools.
Consequently, since the school’s inception, the
Ellington Fund, a non-profit organization specially created to support Ellington High School, raises additional revenue from foundations, corporations, the federal government, and special events
to complement the DCPS contribution. Perform-
ances by invited professional artists, artist residencies, travel expenses, and special events are
frequently underwritten by grants made to the
Ellington Fund.
So, how does Ellington achieve, grow, create
new opportunities, and meet the needs of students, with sensitivity to the realities of familyinfluenced issues and the economics of life in
DC? How does the school encourage a range of
demonstrated accomplishments, despite institutional and financial constraints, in an inadequate
facility built in 1898?
Admissions Process
The admissions process is one vehicle that drives
Ellington’s record of success. Ellington accepts
students based upon demonstrated artistic talent
and evidence of potential. They must submit an
application that includes past academic and attendance records and two letters of recommendation
by the end of January of the year before they
want to be admitted. Candidates are then scheduled for an academic placement test to assess
their current proficiency level in reading and
mathematics. Following the completion of the
How does the school encourage a
range of demonstrated accomplishments, despite institutional and financial constraints, in an inadequate
facility built in 1898?
testing, students are scheduled for an audition
date. Auditions are held before a panel of
Ellington staff. A meeting with individual students and their parents is scheduled approximately two weeks after the audition. At the meeting,
the principal, deans, and department chairs interview the candidate and family in greater depth.
They discuss Ellington’s curriculum, goals, and
expectations and answer parent and student ques-
Planning an Arts-Centered School
tions. Students are then notified of their acceptance status. In 2002, required student essays may
be introduced.
Criteria by Arts Discipline
Dance students must show a strong desire to
work diligently on technique and exhibit flexibility, a natural sense of movement, innate musicality, and an ability to follow directions. At the audition, candidates take a traditional ballet and a
modern dance class with improvisation. Students
also perform a self-choreographed dance piece. A
panel observes the audition and rates candidates
according to a rubric (scoring scale) devised by
the faculty.
Literary media students must submit at least
three writing samples: a personal 350-word essay
that states their goals as an artist and two other
forms of narrative writing (poems, short story,
fiction, non-fiction, plays, etc). At the audition,
students are required to write a sample passage.
The complete set of writing is evaluated by a
Museum studies students must write a 200-word
essay on a memorable museum experience. They
are asked to bring in three personal objects that
tell something about themselves, present them as
a display, and discuss the reasons for their selection. Students must also exhibit knowledge of the
arts, science, or history by performing a musical
piece or dramatic presentation or by presenting
five finished visual art pieces or a science or
social studies project completed during the past
year. A panel reviews the submissions and oral
Vocal and instrumental students take a music
theory placement test and perform a vocal or
instrumental selection that they have prepared. As
with the other disciplines, a panel rates performances according to a rubric.
Theater students must perform a monologue no
longer than two minutes from a play they have
read. Students are expected to answer the following questions: What was the theme? What was
the playwright trying to say? What devices were
used to articulate the playwright’s ideas? What
did you learn? Candidates’ performances are
scored based on criteria developed by the faculty.
Visual arts students must present a portfolio of
five or more works of art on 8 1⁄2 x 11 inch or
larger white drawing or watercolor paper. These
works must include a self-portrait, a drawing of
two shoes, a painting of an open closet in their
home using color, a drawing of the building they
live in, and a “free” choice of subject using color.
At the audition, students must be prepared to
draw a figure from life. Art faculty rate the portfolios and drawings completed during an audition.
Student Life at Ellington
Once a child is enrolled, Ellington ensures student learning and development through a unique
Shepherding Program, special education assistance, counseling, parental involvement, tutoring, mentoring, referrals to health services in the
district, community service, and an outstanding
On Governance
As of 2000, Ellington is a public independent
school in partnership with DCPS, the John F.
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the
George Washington University. This new creation is called DESAP, or the Duke Ellington
School of the Arts Project, a non-profit corporation. As such, the governance body of Ellington is
dual. The Board of Directors of DESAP meets
monthly and is charged with overseeing
Ellington’s fiscal, personnel, and curriculum policies and practices. The principal is hired through
the DESAP Board of Directors and reports to the
Admissions and Governance at the Ellington School of the Arts
Board. Board members include representatives
from the three partners, the Ellington Fund
referred to previously, and faculty.
As an independent public school, Ellington is
also governed by the Board of Education rules of
the District of Columbia. To that end, students
must meet the high school graduation requirements of DCPS. The principal is responsible for
adhering to all DCPS regulations, following the
Washington Teachers Union agreement, preparing
various reports, overseeing special education,
transportation, master schedules, the issuance of
report cards, enrollment figures, residency verification requirements, and generally attending to
the emotional climate of the school. Special
attention must be given to completion of reports
that affect future funding or court-order directives
related to special education, student hearings and
appeals, and other sensitive matters.
Ellington has both DESAP-employed teachers
and DCPS teachers. Consequently, two separate
payroll mechanisms are in place. The principal
oversees payroll for both DESAP and DCPS
employees. Ellington has two assistant principals,
an arts dean, an academic dean, and department
chairs in dance, visual arts, theater, museum studies, literary media, vocal music, instrumental
music, world languages, social studies, English
studies, math, and science. Faculty who are
appointed to these positions make up the principal’s cabinet and influence the direction of the
curriculum. All faculty are expected to embrace
the philosophy that a strong arts curriculum is
essential to a child’s education.
Chapter Three
Recruiting and Selecting Students
for the Middle School of the Arts
by Teresa Stoupas and Elizabeth Perlman
he Middle School of the Arts (MSOA)
opened in the Palm Beach County School
District, Florida, in August 1997. It is the only
magnet middle school for artistically talented students from ages 11 to 14 in Palm Beach County.
The school is centrally located in the district and
is situated in a coastal residential neighborhood in
West Palm Beach. The 35-year-old building has
historical significance as a former landmark high
school. The MSOA building also housed the
Dreyfoos High School of the Arts until that
school’s recent move into a new building.
MSOA is one of a limited number of schools
participating in a deregulation pilot program—
that is, Florida’s response to the charter school
movement. The State Legislature gave seven
counties the option to deregulate a limited number of schools through the 2003-2004 school year.
As such, MSOA receives financial support for
deregulation through the South Florida
Annenberg Challenge grant. A portion of this
funding was used to provide new science textbooks and support materials for the progressive
science curriculum that is offered.
As a district-designated magnet school, MSOA
strives to promote and maintain diversity, improve achievement, and focus on a unique arts
curriculum. During the first year of operation, the
school served students in the sixth and seventh
grades; an eighth grade class was added the following year. The current student body of 1,250 in
grades six, seven, and eight represents all geographic areas within the 2,578 square mile school
district. The current student population is 66 percent White, 19 percent Black, 10 percent Hispanic, 3 percent Asian, and 2 percent other ethnicity. Gender balance is 64 percent female, 36
percent male. Two percent of the students speak
English as a second language.
The school’s students come from 69 different
public elementary schools, 21 public middle
schools, and 34 private schools. They qualify for
consideration on the basis of a competitive audition in their selected art area. Students who qualify after auditioning are then selected through a
lottery process, which seeks to ensure a diverse
population reflecting the diversity of Palm Beach
County. Some 2,000 students audition for around
400 spots at MSOA. Once admitted, students pursue an art major in that auditioned discipline.
Acceptance into the Middle School of the Arts
for sixth grade students is based on the audition
score. Students scoring 80 percent or above are
automatically accepted into the program and form
Tier 1 in the application cohort. Students scoring
from 72 percent to 79 percent are in Tier 2. The
school district conducts a computerized lottery to
pull 80 percent of the remaining spots in a department from Tier 2 scoring students. Finally, the
last 20 percent of the spots are culled from Tier
3—those students scoring from 65 percent to 71
percent. The lowest score for eligibility is 65 percent. Students who have this qualifying score and
are not chosen through the lottery remain in a
wait pool.
The Curriculum
Students attend school for six and a half hours per
day, and, because of the long distances many
must travel, there are no “extended day” programs. The school offers eight arts majors:
Visual Arts, Dance, Theater, Vocal Music, Band,
Piano, Stringed Instruments, and Communication
Arts. The curriculum emphasizes a global perspective in both its arts and academic programs.
The Middle School of the Arts offers programs
to students at all academic levels. The school
population includes those with special needs.
There are high school level honors classes in
mathematics, and foreign languages, gifted,
advanced, and regular classes are provided for all
academic areas at all grade levels. Arts classes in
all eight art areas are offered at three grade levels.
Recruiting and Selecting Students: Middle School of the Arts
Teresa Stoupas is in her fifth year at the Middle School of the Arts. She
came to the school as part of the original staff and has worked in the area
of recruitment since her arrival. Ms. Stoupas is from a multicultural family
with roots in South America and Spain. She brings to her job a background
in elementary education, middle-school science, and educational media,
and now serves as an assistant principal and magnet administrator.
Elizabeth Perlman is the second principal of MSOA. A product of New
York City public schools, she began her teaching career in a Brooklyn
inner-city school and later moved to West Palm Beach, FL, where she continued her career in public education. Prior to her appointment at MSOA,
she taught elementary grades, reading, middle school math, and photography and served as principal of three other Palm Beach County Schools.
Planning an Arts-Centered School
All English language learners and students with
learning disabilities are included in regular class
settings, where they receive additional support
from professional and paraprofessional staff. A
wide variety of elective classes allow students to
delve into art areas other than their own specialty
for a wider exploration of the arts. In addition, a
Each year the school faculty
selects a school-wide theme that
embraces all the arts areas and
culminates in an integrated arts
In the communications department, students produce a school yearbook, newspaper, daily television program, and poetry anthology. The theater
department produces six full-length plays yearly
with students participating in all aspects of their
productions. They design and construct costumes, build sets, develop lighting schemes, and
run the box office. Dancers acquire skills as
choreographers; they select their own performance music and learn to design their own costumes.
Teachers in all arts areas are accomplished
artists themselves. Part-time artists in residence
augment the full time teaching staff. The artists
teach master classes in specific topics or work
one-on-one with students. Each year the school
faculty selects a school-wide theme that embraces
all the arts areas and culminates in an integrated
arts production. A recent example of such a production was “The Greedy Frog,” which was performed at a local professional theater.
Making art is a way of better understanding the social
studies curriculum at the West Palm Beach Middle
School of the Arts.
full sports program, clubs, and a wide variety of
extracurricular activities are offered.
In dance and all areas of music, pupils are
placed in classes according to skill levels, with
students moving to increasingly more challenging
classes as their artistic skills develop. In theater,
communication, and visual arts, students move
through a systematic progression of experiences
that take them from beginners to young artists
ready to pursue their art at the high school level.
Innovation is the rule in the academic classrooms at MSOA. Integrated arts programs have
led to special relationships with local arts organizations. In these instances, academic goals are
pursued through the arts. For example, students
built a popular outdoor mini-amphitheater in a
humanities classroom, working with a local artist
and their full time social studies teacher. The arts
are frequently used as a jumping-off point from
which to examine topics in mathematics, science,
or technology. Integration of the arts in this way
ensures student enthusiasm and participation.
In order to encourage love of reading, everyone
Recruiting and Selecting Students: Middle School of the Arts
reads for pleasure for 20 minutes each day at
MSOA—students, teachers, administrators, ancillary staff, and visitors. Students take life science,
earth science, and physical science during each of
their three years at MSOA. Credentialed specialists in these fields provide these classes.
Student achievement is assessed using a variety
of tools and procedures. Assessment rubrics are
widely used to ensure excellence in all forms of
artistic development. Students maintain portfolios, both electronic and reality-based, that are
periodically reviewed by students and teachers to
reflect upon progress and project next steps in
learning. Student progress is also assessed
through the administration of the Florida
Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) to
eighth graders. MSOA students score very well
in comparison to their peers at other Palm Beach
County schools.
MSOA values parental involvement. Parents
commit to volunteering for the school 20 hours
per year. Regular parent conferences are held in
the mornings. (After-school hours did not work
for this purpose.)
MSOA has gathered many awards since opening its doors. Students and teachers from all of
the arts areas have been recognized for exceptional skill. Students have received superior ratings
for band, strings, and vocal competitions. MSOA
students have won seats in the All-state Band,
Strings Ensemble, and Chorale, and they have
won first place in speech and debate competitions. Students have won first place in competitive math games and won prizes at the state
Science Fair and Odyssey of the Mind2 competitions.
Recruitment Process
The school engages in aggressive recruitment to
maintain diversity and encourage under-represented populations to participate in the audition
process. The recruitment process includes site visits to potential feeder schools, particularly those
with a high minority population. Recruitment
materials are printed in the dominant languages
spoken in the district: English, Spanish, and
Haitian Creole. Recruitment videos feature students from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.
Students are rated by adjudicators; those in the
80th percentile or above are eligible to be selected through a lottery system. In order to encourage
diversity, the lottery includes a number of spots
for minority students over and above those spots
that are gained as a matter of chance.
A unique feature of the school is its commitment to discovering and nurturing youngsters
with “raw” or “undeveloped” talent. The school
Student Achievement Rating/Interpretation
Achievement is consistent and uniformly present, high level of excellence
Achievement is often present, good level of performance
Achievement generally present, fair or average level of performance
Achievement unevenly present, below average level of performance
Achievement seldom present, poor level of performance
Behavior missing/does not have or does not perform
Source: MSOA Web site,
2. Odyssey of the Mind is sponsored by Educator Competitions,
Inc. (Web site:
Planning an Arts-Centered School
offers special sessions at targeted schools for
audition preparation in order to identify and
encourage under-represented populations.
Recruitment efforts tap local educators, business
people, clergy, and others to help identify and
gather students who may not yet see their own
capabilities. “MSOA scouts” help direct identified
students through the application and audition procedure.
Department of Program Options by the due date
and sign up for and attend an audition. While the
majority of students we seek will be incoming
sixth graders, the Middle School of the Arts
accepts students for all three levels. Students
interested in attending MSOA may audition in no
more than two art areas where they have an interest and talent. A timeline with important dates can
be found on the Web site.
Selection Process for the
Middle School of the Arts
The application and audition process involves
several steps. Each arts area has its own criteria
for admission that enable adjudicators to search
out the talent, raw or developed, necessary for
success at our school. The adjudicators comprise
professionals in each of the art areas. Many of
them are our own faculty. This group is augmented with local artists, dancers, and other professionals. Our arts teachers are trained to work with
special needs students during the audition and
have formulated certain accommodations that
allow them to audition on an even ground with
mainstream students. Language facilitators are
available for students who may require translation
during an audition.
All auditions are held on the MSOA campus
and parents are welcome to bring their student on
the scheduled date; however, they may not
accompany their child into the audition room.
Students are selected using a generic rubric
designed to refer to any of the eight art areas.
Each individual art area audition is keyed to the
numeric scale shown in the box above.
The final score is then tabulated out of a possible 100 percent.
The application and audition process in detail is
available to anyone on the Internet: The audition procedure is very
important because it helps prevent dropouts by
identifying students who do not really understand
what they are getting into.
To be a part of the student population at the
school, students and their families must submit an
application to the Palm Beach County Schools
An incomplete audition presentation will result
in a loss of points. Students who are well prepared with all audition requirements and motivated to attend MSOA will enjoy the audition
experience. (See Appendix I for simple MSOA
The student who successfully auditions for the
Middle School of the Arts will either be selected
through the lottery process or be held in a wait
pool until a spot is available. Students who are
offered a place at the school will sign a commitment letter stating that they will support the various requirements at the school.
Each student who joins MSOA majors in one
arts area, although they may take elective classes
in other areas. While many students choose to
continue with an arts education and proceed to
audition for the Alexander W. Dreyfoos High
School of the Arts, some choose other magnet
programs and are also successful in those pursuits. At the Middle School of the Arts, we feel
that not only does an arts education prepare students to develop their talents, but also it helps
them to perform better in academic classes and
enrich their lives.
Part II
Choosing an Identity
Chapter Four
Developing the Drama Curriculum
at the New World School of the Arts
by Jorge Guerra-Castro
he Florida Legislature created the New World
School of the Arts (NWSA) in 1984 as a
unique collaborative venture of the University of
Florida, Miami-Dade Community College, and
the Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The
school provides a comprehensive program of
artistic training, academic development, and
preparation for careers in dance, music, theater,
and visual arts to students age 14 to 20.
To attend New World School of the Arts, students are selected by audition for professional
programs in dance, music, theater, and visual arts.
We have 460 high school students, as well as a
college program. Students take a full academic
program in the morning and have a three-hour
concentrated arts block in the afternoon. Small
classes and an outstanding faculty contribute to
our students’ academic and artistic success.
New World School of the Arts is located near
major cultural, entertainment, and government
facilities in downtown Miami. All of Miami
serves as the campus for New World School of
the Arts students. Students have easy access to
Miami’s dynamic arts environment, both as audience and participants. Miami-Dade Community
College’s Wolfson Campus, adjacent to the
school, provides classroom space and a library for
the general studies curriculum as well as other
student services. The South Beach Art Deco
District, Coconut Grove, the beaches, and a wide
variety of urban and suburban neighborhoods are
just minutes away.
Criteria for Admission to the Drama
Department and Admissions Procedures
New World School of the Arts looks for students
with a passion for theater. As with many of its
kind, the school seeks students who evidence talent in acting and are seeking a career in the performing arts. While students must evidence an
ability to find and prepare material for the audition, the school is looking for the untrained individual as well as the student who has had prior
instruction in drama. Because the course of study
is rigorous and demands a great deal of time
beyond the usual school hours, the admissions
panel is looking for students who are ready to
assume the responsibilities that such a curriculum
The artist-faculty of New World School of the
Arts, drawn from a local, national, and international pool of talent, comprises individuals with
established artistic reputations, professional
expertise, and demonstrated commitment to the
creative development of young talent. The
student-faculty ratio promotes a high level of
individual contact and strong mentor relationships. Students are educated in a humanistic and
personal atmosphere designed to foster mastery of
traditional artistic forms while stimulating creativity and individuality. With an Executive
Board representing the cultural, educational, and
business communities of Miami, and with the
state’s encouragement and support, the school is
committed to the highest standards of excellence
in academics and the arts.
Students seeking admission to the high school
theater program are screened by a panel of theater
professionals. Students participate in a multi-
The school is looking for the
untrained individual as well as the
student who has had prior instruction in drama. Because the course
of study is rigorous and demands a
great deal of time, the admissions
panel is looking for students who
can assume the responsibilities of
such a curriculum.
Developing the Drama Curriculum at the New World School of the Arts
Jorge Guerra-Castro has been Dean of the Theater Division at New World
School of the Arts in Miami since 1988. He went to Miami after serving for
nine years on the faculty at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA,
from which he had obtained his M.F.A. in directing. Among the productions
he directed were The Greeks, Tales From The Vienna Woods and The
Odyssey, each chosen best play of the year by the critics. Jorge Guerra,
both a Fulbright and a British Council scholar, was associate editor of
Theater Three (Pittsburgh) and La Escena Latinoamericana (Berlin). In
1988, after winning the Critic’s Award for best play for the third consecutive year in his native Peru, he was invited to bring his production of The
Bacchae to the Fifth International Symposium on Ancient Greek Drama in
Delphi. Since then, he has returned several times to participate in the symposium and has taken three more productions to Greece. His latest production of Goethe’s Faust is being performed currently to great success in
Lima, Peru.
Planning an Arts-Centered School
phased process, which consists of the following
• A prolonged practical session under the guidance of NWSA teachers and students. The session includes physical exercises, theater games,
and improvisations. No preparation for this session is needed other than to be adequately
dressed in loose, comfortable clothing.
• A memorized monologue from a published literary or theater work, two or three minutes in
length, by a character who must be from the
applicant’s age range. The judges will be looking for naturalness, honesty, evidence of a true
understanding of both the character and full
context of the monologue, good vocal projection, clear diction, and body control. Accents
and dialects not the candidate’s own are to be
avoided at all costs. The applicant is also
advised to have a clearly defined focus. To
whom is the monologue being delivered? Where
is the imaginary person standing or sitting?
• Improvisation exercises where the emphasis is
As with many of its kind, the school
seeks students who evidence talent
in acting and are seeking a career
in the performing arts. While students must evidence an ability to
find and prepare material for the
audition, the school is looking for
the untrained individual as well as
the student who has had prior
instruction in drama. The course
of study is rigorous.
on imagination, creativity, flexibility, and concentration.
• An in-depth, confidential interview in which the
applicant is expected to be relaxed, honest, and
able to demonstrate a reasonable command of
language. The applicant is advised to be articulate about career goals in the theater.
The high school theater program offers a structured, pre-professional training program for
exceptionally talented and committed students
who seek a career in the theater through intensive
practice in acting, music theater, play writing,
design, and technical theater.
Emphasis is placed on individual growth, discovery of personal strengths, process-oriented
work, and the ensemble approach to theater.
Students learn their craft through classes in acting technique, movement, and speech. They train
on the classical texts and the principles of drama
as well as make practical incursions into the contemporary and experimental edges of theater.
Performance is an essential part of the training,
and it is approached in a sequential, progressive
manner to give the student vision, strength, and a
sense of purpose in the theater.
A high level of commitment is expected from
students, who are trained in a concentrated, threehour block each day by a staff of active theater
professionals. Courses on musical theater,
design, directing techniques, playwriting, dance,
and scene study are offered at the standards of a
college conservatory.
In addition to regular classes, all students are
exposed during the year to guest acting teachers,
directors, and theater experts of all kinds. They
make students aware of the standards and tendencies of the contemporary theater through
workshops, seminars, lectures, and individual
coaching sessions.
Developing the Drama Curriculum at the New World School of the Arts
Principles for the Curriculum
Theater is a humanistic activity, aimed at the betterment of the human race. Education in the theater is to produce art, but good art comes from
good human beings. We are interested in the integral growth of the individual, not just in polishing
a skill. Perfection in technique has a correlation
with spiritual aspirations, idealism in life. Beauty
is a gift of civilization; refinement is an endless
process. Art helps to give meaning to life. In theater, the collective is the source of individual
strength. With that point of view underlying all
curriculum development, here then are a few
guiding principles that should inform the preparation of a curriculum.
1. Theater, particularly in the adolescent years,
opens up important doors to discover and exercise our ability to deal with the world, to
approach problems, to have a voice, to be
someone, even in a fictitious way. Education
reflects a specific and complex cultural context
that includes a system of beliefs, habits, values,
language, and expectations. We try to ensure
that our teachers will have at least a minimum
involvement with that world, and, more important, the motivation to connect the “real world”
to real school processes. Theater must “make
sense” ultimately, to become an activity worthy
of a student’s respect and dedication.
This is an important premise to consider when
conducting a theater games session or an improvisation class. Keep in mind that what we create in a lab situation is—inevitably—a microcosm of something bigger: the real, scary
2. Theater is, by nature, the art of moving someone or something from one place to another; it
is also about the art of changing. If its object is
to communicate human action—getting characters from one place to another in virtual time—
it is important for the actor to develop a point
of view, an opinion, an attitude and readiness
to act in a certain way. When the game consists
of changing human behavior, we may start at a
simple but rewarding level, such as wanting to
make people laugh or to change them from
bored to sad or joyful. The process of change
can be captured by young people fast, and it
can be provoked though rudimentary exercises
or theater games. With the help of their drama
coach, students learn to develop criteria for
their performance.
3. The teachers need to model what they are trying to coach. The way teachers relate to each
Art helps to give meaning to life.
In theater, the collective is the
source of individual strength.
other and their teamwork is far more important
to the student’s education than what they say
theater is about.
4. Students need room to reflect about the self
and relationships to another. To be alone is as
important as to share. The artistic imagination
is a process that serves itself greatly from a
comfortable inner dialogue brewed in solitude,
as much as from the spark generated by interaction with different people.
5. Adolescence should be years of exploration,
playing, getting familiar with aesthetic rules or
principles and their importance in order to
obtain certain results. Students should spend
their time observing and learning about the
importance of precision, muscular control,
mental discipline, endurance in playing musical
instruments, and the importance of freedom, as
in modern dance improvisation. It is the time
to break traditional notions, not to create them;
it is a time to express one’s self through different means, tools, and methods.
Planning an Arts-Centered School
In sum, the drama curriculum should be broad
and encompassing, enlightened by specific principles, practiced by those who subscribe to those
principles. And it should help students prepare for
a professional role in theater, film, music theater,
or television. While most of our graduates continue to develop their talent in colleges and uni-
versities, some will decide to abandon their early
commitment to the arts and aim toward careers
and professions in other fields. They will take
with them, however, an understanding of the
human condition through the literature and practice of theater which in turn will enrich their
lives, whatever they choose to do.
Chapter Five
A Public-Private Partnership for Training Young Talent:
The Special Music School of America
By Lydia Kontos
he Special Music School of America is a public elementary and middle school that was
established as a partnership between the Elaine
Kaufman Cultural Center, a community-based
arts organization, and Community School District
3 of the New York City Board of Education. The
Kaufman Center includes the Merkin Concert
Hall and Lucy Moses School for Music and
Dance. The school is modeled on the Special
Music Schools of the former Soviet Union and is
the first of its kind in this country.
The school combines a full academic program,
meeting all state and city standards, with a musictraining program of equal weight. The entire academic program is funded by the Board of
Education, and the music program (costing
approximately $4,500 per child) is funded by the
Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center. The music program includes private instrumental lessons twice
weekly on piano, violin, and cello and gradeappropriate music classes ranging from Dalcroze
Eurhythmics to theory, solfege, musical dictation,
and chamber music. In later years, harmony,
musical analysis, vocal accompaniment, history
of art and music, and the study of other instruments will be added. All students have the
opportunity at least twice a year to perform for
their peers in a comfortable performance setting;
many have the opportunity to perform in more
public venues when they are ready.
As of September 2002, the Special Music
School has 125 students in grades K through 6.
Although the school is located within Community
School District 3 in Manhattan, admission is open
to qualified students from all five boroughs of
New York City. The school’s students are from
diverse ethnic backgrounds, including children
from African-American, Hispanic, and Asian families, as well as recent émigrés from the former
Soviet Union.
The school’s primary goal is to create the
opportunity for musically gifted children to receive
a high level of instrumental training, without compromising academics, that will enable them to prepare for careers in music.
The school originated primarily from the recognition at the Kaufman Center (through its Lucy
Moses School for Music and Dance) that musically gifted children lead double lives: they have
their academic life and friends and their music
life. If the music life is primarily lived through a
private studio, with little opportunity for collaborative work, there are often no music friends. A
At the Special Music School, only
musical ability must be exhibited for
admission to the early grades.
school in which children share an interest in and
dedication to music would give more cohesiveness to a child’s social development. In addition,
the prevailing model for music instruction—in
which parents must have either financial
resources or the “savvy” to navigate a scholarship
process—created barriers to entry for many sectors of the population. To be awarded financial
aid, a child must generally exhibit proficiency on
an instrument. At the Special Music School, only
musical ability must be exhibited for admission to
the early grades. In later grades, student applicants must show some mastery of vocal or instrumental music.
Before proposing the school to the Community
School District, the Kaufman Center ascertained
the District’s commitment to “alternative” schools
and partnerships and recognized that it is one of
the more forward-thinking districts in the system.
Particularly in music, the District has a long history of aggressively seeking out partnerships, and
has worked actively with service providers such
as Carnegie Hall, the New York Philharmonic, the
Planning an Arts-Centered School
Lydia Kontos founded the Special Music School of America, a publicprivate partnership with the New York City Board of Education, in 1996.
The School opened at the Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center where Ms.
Kontos has served as Executive Director since 1985. Under her leadership,
the Center has grown significantly in size and scope. Called the Hebrew
Arts School, Inc., when Ms. Kontos assumed her position, the institution
became the Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center in 1991, and its community
school of the arts became the Lucy Moses School. Since that time, enrollment at the Lucy Moses School has nearly tripled, and the School’s outreach programs to public schools have increased significantly. Ms. Kontos
received her B.A. in Anthropology from Hunter College, pursued additional
studies at Merton College of Oxford University and the Catholic University
of Milan and completed the course work for an M.S. in Nonprofit
Management from New York University. She has taught arts administration
at SUNY Purchase and various high school subjects at the Garden School,
a private college preparatory school where she currently is a Trustee. Ms.
Kontos also serves on the boards of the National Guild of Community
Schools of the Arts and the American Society for Jewish Music.
A Public-Private Partnership for Training Young Talent
Midori Foundation, and a number of community
schools of the arts, including the Lucy Moses
School of the Kaufman Center.
The Kaufman Center has a long history of
training gifted as well as recreational students and
a tradition of providing as much financial aid as
possible. It was natural to consider a training
school that would be, essentially, on a full scholarship basis. As to the use of the facility, the
Lucy Moses School operates primarily after
school hours, so a major program during the day
does not jeopardize other programs. The
Kaufman Center has added four classrooms to the
building to handle the additional numbers of students who have enrolled as the school increases
grade-by-grade, year-by-year. The Center also
recently completed other building renovations,
including the construction of a second elevator
and the reconfiguration of two floors to create
more usable space.
The awareness of the risks implied by that mix
led to an extensive collaborative planning
process. This process began internally (at the
Kaufman Center) as early as 1993, more than
three years before the school opened. In 1994,
the first queries were made to people on various
levels within the Board of Education bureaucracy
Support for the intensive music classes and
individual instruction is raised as part of the
annual fund raising efforts of the Kaufman
Center, and represents approximately 25 percent
of the Annual Fund campaign. Recognizing that
an economic downturn could jeopardize the program, the Kaufman Center maintains a Reserve
Fund for the Special Music School equal to the
amount needed to operate the music program for
one full year. In addition, it has begun to formulate a capital campaign for an endowment for the
school. A very small endowment (approximately
$60,000) exists already.
Making a Planning Partnership Work
The Special Music School brings together two
strong organizations: the New York City Board of
Education and the Elaine Kaufman Cultural
Center, with different though not opposing educational agendas, vastly differing cultures, and completely different budgetary timetables and
The Special Music School program includes private instrumental
lessons twice weekly on piano, violin, and cello.
to ascertain the potential interest and commitment
in this highly unique “alternative school.” In
1995, planning accelerated, and in December
Planning an Arts-Centered School
1995, the school was formally proposed to the
Board of Community School District 3 and
The staff from the Elaine Kaufman Cultural
Center was very clear about how the planning
process should proceed. Several principles guided their work that they felt were critical to the
school’s success:
1. Inclusion of the School District’s personnel in
the long range planning, despite the tendency
for that organization to plan for individual
schools on a much shorter time frame. Key
District personnel engaged in the process were
the Superintendent, the head of the Office of
Alternative Schools, the head of Curriculum
and Gifted and Talented Programs, the District
Arts Coordinator, and the head of the Office of
Finance. These individuals developed a sense
of pride and ownership about the projected
school. Having been well briefed about the
motivations and goals for the school, they were
ready to “go to bat” for it. It is important to
note that the District would not have to bear
any of the costs of the music program.
2. Inclusion of other organizations to inform the
planning process and give the as-yet untested
project greater legitimacy. The Kaufman
Center actively involved individuals from the
following organizations: Columbia University
Teachers College, the Leonard Bernstein
Center for Arts Education, which played a
major role in the development of the admissions process, and the New York Philharmonic.
3. Inclusion of faculty from the Lucy Moses
School for Music and Dance, many of whom
attended or taught at various Special Music
Schools in the former Soviet Union. They gave
invaluable advice about the models on which
we were to base our school in general, and the
music requirements in particular. Staff and
Board members from New Visions for Public
Schools and the Center for Educational
Innovation were helpful in guiding the planning process with their special expertise in the
alternative school movement.
4. Active involvement of board-level individuals
from both the Center and the School District.
While the Community School Board in District
3 has as its sole charge the schools within its
district, the Kaufman Center was already an
organization with two large and varied divisions: the Lucy Moses School for Music and
Dance and Merkin Concert Hall. The addition
of another entity (and another school at that)
caused the leadership of the Kaufman Center to
form “sub-level boards,” referred to as
Participating Boards. These combined
Kaufman Center Trustees and others as governing bodies for the school, albeit without the
ultimate authority vested in the Kaufman
Center Board. The Special Music School
Participating Board was formalized six months
before the school opened, but was loosely
operating prior to that. The existence of this
board made it possible to weather early crises,
such as the publicized departure of the school’s
co-founder and Honorary Chair, Vladimir
Feltsman, before the school opened. Three
members of Community School Board 3,
including its President, were selected as
liaisons to the Participating Board during the
pre-proposal period of roughly one year.
5. The formation of a large and diverse planning
committee that, despite its size, played an
active role in shaping the school. Seven members of the planning committee, each of whom
had some input that was incorporated in the
plan, reviewed the proposal that was ultimately
presented to the District.
6. Clarity on the part of the Kaufman Center as to
elements of the partnership that were “nonnegotiable.” Because the non-negotiable ele-
A Public-Private Partnership for Training Young Talent
ments were clear at the outset, they never had to
be stated in a confrontational way and became
part of everyone’s “sensibility” from the beginning. They included:
a) the Center’s complete authority over the
music curriculum and faculty;
b) unchallenged discretion over the admissions
c) authority over the allocation of space; and
d) co-determinant in the selection of the principal. The Principal of the Special Music
School, Melanie Schwartzfarb, was recommended, among others, by the District and
affirmed by the Kaufman Center. The District
was so committed to the establishment of the
school that it allowed Ms. Schwartzfarb, who
was selected more than a year before the
opening of the school, to assume a half-time
position in the District for the year before the
school opened, so that she could participate in
all phases of setting up the school.
7. It was clear that the Board of Education would
have its own “non-negotiable” areas. Chief
among them were:
respective staffs and advisors, to determine the
ideal schedule and sequence for the next year.
Then, the modifications begin. Availability of
specific spaces at specific times must be taken
into account. For example, Dalcroze
Eurhythmics classes can take place only in larger
rooms that may be available at certain times.
Because we have part-time classroom music
teachers, their schedules must be balanced to suit
the available time frame.
Another scheduling matter is the cycle of student performance evaluations. Since the testing
program of the public school system is fixed, the
music evaluations are calendared after the New
York City comprehensive testing schedule is published, generally in the early summer.
Many other processes also call for coordination
between the partners. This may range from helping students handle behavioral and emotional
problems to mollifying anxious parents. In fact,
the need for positive cooperation is so critical to
the school’s smooth operation that it is an accepted behavioral baseline for all involved.
b) complete authority over the hiring of academic teachers and aides.
Having said that, the most important lesson that
we have learned so far is that, despite extensive
planning and all attempts to define roles clearly,
the personalities of the leaders and their ability to
work together are the most powerful determinants
of success or failure. If a partnership is to be this
close, ensuring the compatibility of the two lead
implementers should be the first priority.
Clarity about the areas of authority released
both partners from the need to negotiate excessively during implementation. Because the
school started with a kindergarten and first grade,
and adds one grade each year, the baseline planning each year involves establishing an increasingly complex schedule that will fit all the
requirements into the time and space available.
In this process, the principal and music director
meet, having independently conferred with their
The school has brought into sharp focus the difference between the academic teaching and arts
teaching cultures. No structure in and of itself
should preclude the need to devote time to helping each practitioner understand the other’s goals
and methods as much as possible. This process
takes years, not months, and further emphasizes
the need to be aware of the ability of each participant to collaborate and be sensitive to the needs
of fellow faculty. In retrospect, we would have
a) complete discretion over the academic curriculum and the minimum amount of time and
money that must be allocated for it; and
Planning an Arts-Centered School
preferred to devote more time before the school
opened to professional development activities to
integrate the two cultures. To the extent that we
are a model for replication, we are prepared to
give advice about this to others. For ourselves, we
were just breaking ground and were not so aware
of the need.
Thematic academic units integrate math, science, music, the other arts, and social studies,
wherever appropriate. The music program is fundamentally skills-based, and the curriculum
includes chorus/musical theater, which encourages somewhat less-structured creativity.
One very significant difference between the
At this writing, the original principal of the
Special Music School has announced her impending retirement, and the collaborative process
regarding selection of her successor will begin
The most important lesson that we
have learned so far is that,
despite extensive planning, and
all attempts to define roles clearQuality of Teaching
ly, the personalities of the leaders
and Learning
and their ability to work together
The school is committed to extending the intellecare the most powerful determitual, musical, and social capabilities of each child
nants of success or failure.
using appropriate instructional materials, teaching
strategies, and grouping practices. A belief in
hands-on learning, the use of authentic experiences, and building on each student’s prior
knowledge underlies the school’s educational philosophy and practice.
The Special Music School’s music program is fundamentally
Special Music Schools of the former Soviet
Union and the Special Music School of America
is that in the original model, academics play a
minor role; a child who seriously lapses academically is excused if he or she is musically brilliant.
Such lapses are not acceptable here. Attaining the
goal of a secure career in music is more of a challenge in the United States. For that practical reason, and because of our general philosophy of
taking an interest in the whole child, the school
had to be structured with strong academics and
The academic program draws on curricular
models that the academic teachers have observed
or created at Bank Street College, Teachers
College, Columbia University, and Fordham
University, and in their previous teaching experiences. The school adheres to the New York State
Learning Standards in language arts, math, science, social studies, and the arts. Yes, the students receive the arts services that their peers in
other public schools receive. The complementary
New York City standards are adhered to as well,
A Public-Private Partnership for Training Young Talent
and progress in meeting those standards is constantly monitored.
The school uses the TERC Mathematics curriculum, which is one of three standards-based mathematics programs recommended by the National
Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The District
mandates the SMART Process Science program,
and the curriculum in reading and writing is
enriched by an alliance with the Teachers College
Reading and Writing Project. Studio in a School,
an independent arts education organization, provides a sequential visual arts program, and a
district-supported collaboration with the
Metropolitan Museum of Art provides children
with the opportunity to experience authentic works
of art while inquiring, creating, and reflecting.
These curricular guidelines provide a framework for connecting music and academic learning. We encourage curriculum crossovers that
make connections between music theory and fractions, and music repertoire with the language arts
canon. A recent language arts unit focused on
various creation myths that the children set to
music. In physics, students made musical instruments to reinforce a unit on sound. This year, the
fourth grade presented a version of Shakespeare’s
Midsummer Night’s Dream in performance, and
some children composed a musical piece to complement the dramatic piece. Much of that, we are
happy to say, resulted from informal, creative
interchanges between the academic and music
Because of the groundbreaking nature of the
school, there has been no unified curriculum to
draw on for instrumental study, so curriculum
development in that area is very much a work-inprogress. The music faculty meets regularly to
discuss curriculum and requirements in music.
The experience of those teachers who have
worked in the special music schools in the former
Soviet Union helps to guide the school towards
its model, and those who have other teaching
experiences add a valuable modifying influence.
Two years ago, the music department began to
document requirements for the music program.
The focus in the coming year will shift to the
One of the highlights of each school semester comes when
children perform for their parents and teachers at the
achievement recitals.
evaluation of specific repertoire, with the goal of
developing repertoire suggestions for each level
and for specific areas of skill enhancement.
Students are required to keep journals for both
their academic and music classes, enabling the
teachers to track each student’s understanding of
taught concepts. Teachers also use more formal
assessment techniques in their subject areas.
Academic progress is assessed using the standardized state and city tests. Music assessments occur
twice yearly and involve rating performances.
Parent and student conferences help faculty to
keep parents informed about students’ progress.
At the Special Music School, time is allocated
to help bring the vastly different music and academic teaching cultures together. Time is set aside
Planning an Arts-Centered School
for the following activities:
• Full faculty meetings at least once per month.
Teachers are invited to bring up very specific
issues and concerns. One pervasive problem in
the first year was the different view of time: a
classroom teacher must adhere to a schedule
that allows all subjects to be adequately covered, while each private teacher prefers to end a
lesson not by the clock, but at exactly the right
point for the student. When asked to yield, the
classroom teachers cited the disruption of children trickling in or going out one by one for
lessons, and the music teachers felt that the
integrity of the lesson was being compromised.
The only solution was a compromise on both
sides, rising from an understanding of the concerns of each.
• Parent-teacher conferences that enable both the
classroom teacher and the private music teacher
to be present. This helps the private music
teacher to take a view of the whole child,
including his or her academic challenges.
• Interaction between the academic and music
teachers to discuss their strategies for communicating with the children, particularly when a
child is having trouble. We have found that
many music teachers, particularly private
instructors, come to us lacking strategies for
communicating with children. Our training program in this area has paid off handsomely, generating more productive interaction between
children and their music teachers.
• Integration of music topics into the academic
curriculum. In the first year, we resolved to
downplay music in the academic curriculum. In
short order, however, we realized that we were
possibly depriving the children of important
learning opportunities and preventing a creative
collaboration between the faculties. This has
now changed dramatically.
We are very proud of the academic and musical
achievements of our students. However, we are
learning that a great deal more must be done to
identify students for the school whose families
have an understanding of the demands of a comprehensive musical training program and a real
desire for music to be a central pursuit in the
child’s life. Our academic success has, in some
ways, made this task harder. With small class sizes
and an outstanding faculty, this is a very desirable
school on many fronts. Unfortunately, one result is
that, particularly among those accepted in the first
two years, there are some very talented children
whose parents are more concerned about the lack
of a gymnasium and a science lab than about helping their children rise to the demands of the music
We are learning our lesson here, and, while our
criteria for admission have not changed, we have
found greater success in the more recent admissions. We have adopted an almost strident tone in
our description of the requirements of the music
program. The tactic of “scaring away” parents
who are more interested in the free aspect of the
music program than the training seems to be
We believe that projection of a stern attitude
will become less necessary as the students of the
school grow older. The mission and purpose of
the school will become more public and visible,
and prospective parents will be better able to
understand the commitment that is required of
them. It should be added, however, that this
observation takes into account that, with small
children, things can and do change, and a family
that has understood the school quite well from the
outset might find over time that it is no longer the
best school for their child. In the few cases
where the school no longer suits the child, the
family has done the appropriate thing and withdrawn the child.
A Public-Private Partnership for Training Young Talent
Our entire admissions procedure—including the
talent identification process—is something that
we are examining closely. We feel that we have
been very successful in identifying talented children, and we plan to disseminate this identification process as funding becomes available for
more systematic evaluation and documentation.
One of the highlights of each school semester
comes when children perform for their parents
and teachers at achievement recitals. From the
tiniest kindergarteners manipulating baby cellos
and violins to the big sixth graders who tackle
very advanced repertoire, the children remind
supporters of the Special Music School of the
purpose and meaning of the school. The students
enrolled at the school have indeed found both a
social and musical environment within which
they can thrive.
Chapter Six
The Dance Education Laboratory’s Model for
Professional Development
by Ann Biddle, with contributions from Jody Arnhold and Joan Finkelstein
he Dance Education Lab (DEL) was established at New York’s famous cultural institution, The 92nd Street Y, in order to bring dance
into children’s and teens’ lives and education. Its
stated mission includes:
• inspiring teachers to be lifelong learners;
• encouraging experimentation and observation in
• promoting the artistic development of teachers;
• empowering teachers to give students ownership
of the art form as a means of communication, a
key to understanding their cultural heritage, and
a medium for personal expression.
DEL was founded in 1995 as an institute for the
training and support of teachers of dance in
response to a need for sustained and philosophically consistent dance-teacher preparation. Its
immediate goal was to provide an alternative professional development program that would cater
to dancers who might not have access to or be eligible for a university graduate degree program in
dance education. The 92nd Street Y, with its historic commitment to dance and dance-teacher
training, offered the perfect home for the DEL
program. DEL’s long-range objective was to create a comprehensive dance education training
program for professional and non-professional
dancers, part-time or full-time dance specialists,
and classroom teachers interested in teaching
dance to children and teenagers. The current DEL
faculty comprises top leaders in the field of dance
education based in and around New York City.
DEL was designed as an interactive laboratory
experience that would balance dance education
practice and theory, while providing a supportive
collegial network for aspiring and practicing
dance educators. Initially, DEL began by offering
a one year-long course, “Foundations in Dance
Education,” designed and co-taught by Jody
Arnhold and Ann Biddle. Since then, DEL has
grown to include a comprehensive teacher education certificate program, a performance and workshop series for children, a Sunday workshop
series, a public school outreach program, and a
staff development program for the NYC Board of
Education. In addition, DEL offers a job network, dance education library, and mentoring network. A certificate program is available for graduate and undergraduate college credit through
Empire State College, part of the State University
of New York. Since its inception in 1995, DEL
has trained over 300 dance teachers, over a third
of whom are international students.
The Laboratory Experience
DEL’s laboratory environment leads teachers
through an interactive learning process that
emphasizes both the artistry and practical skills
needed to become an effective dance teacher.
DEL courses and workshops engage the adult
learner in the various processes in which students
will participate. DEL instructors model effective
teaching techniques and strategies as they lead
trainees through various phases of dance technique and choreography. Since the majority of
DEL students come from a technical dance background in modern, ballet, or ethnic dance, many
find the DEL creative movement approach both
liberating and challenging. Some dancers have
never before experienced improvisation and
dance-making opportunities in a dance class and
feel delight and fear at the prospect of sharing in
the creation process. It is DEL’s goal to help
teachers transform their teaching and become lifelong learners. DEL acts as a laboratory environment for DEL faculty as well; new approaches
and new courses are designed, taught, redesigned,
and retaught in a synergistic response to changes
in the students’ needs and current trends in dance
The Dance Education Laboratory’s Model for Professional Development
Ann Biddle was co-director of the Dance Education Lab (DEL) from 1995 to 1999. For
more than 15 years, Ms. Biddle has taught dance in many public and private schools of
New York City and abroad. A former Fulbright Scholar, she worked closely with ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax as a World Dance Analyst on the Global Jukebox Project at
Hunter College, NY. She is currently the Dance Education Curriculum Specialist
responsible for the overall design and implementation of the Empire State Partnership
Project with Ballet Hispanico and P.S. 166, Manhattan. Well known as a staff developer,
she works with dance teachers, artists wishing to acquire pedagogical skills, and classroom teachers who use dance as a means to teaching the academic curriculum. Ms.
Biddle was graduated from Kenyon College (B.A.) and Teachers College, Columbia
University (M.A.) in Dance Education.
Jody Gotfried Arnhold is a dance educator and advocate for the arts. In July, 1995, she
co-founded the Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) based upon her 25 years’ experience
as a dance educator and her interest in promoting an effective methodology for training
dance teachers. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate at Teachers College, Columbia
University. With a B.A. in English (University of Wisconsin) and an M.A. in Dance
Education (Columbia University), she is also a Certified Movement Analyst (Laban
Institute of Movement Studies). Ms. Gotfried Arnhold is Chairman of the Board of Ballet
Hispanico and serves on the boards of The 92nd Street Y and the Center for Arts
Education in New York City.
Joan Finkelstein has been the director of The 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center
since 1992. A former professional dancer who performed both internationally and on
Broadway, she is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts (B.F.A.,
M.F.A.). During her tenure at the Y, the Dance Center, founded in 1935, was named the
Harkness Dance Center and has grown to offer more than 100 classes per week to adults
and children, workshops and rehearsal space for professional dancers, 50 performances
annually, and weekly social dances, as well as the Dance Education Laboratory. Ms.
Finkelstein currently serves on the “Bessies” Performance Awards Committee and the
Boards of DanceUSA and The International Committee for the Dance Library of Israel.
Planning an Arts-Centered School
The DEL Model
The DEL Model is a holistic and multi-layered
paradigm of dance education. Teachers in DEL
receive dance education training through a variety
of different perspectives or “lenses.” These
• Laban Movement Analysis (LMA)—learning
how to describe the facets of dance in a comprehensible language.
• Dance Making—choreographic interpretation of
ideas and feelings.
• Dance Sharing and Recording—performing for
peers, eliciting feedback.
• Dance Inquiry—aesthetic inquiry involving
analysis of a viewed performance.
• Lesson and Curriculum Planning
• Child Development
• Classroom Management
• Multicultural Awareness
• Integrating Dance into the Curriculum
Using these different lenses, we view the components of successful dance teaching as a kaleidoscope. While each perspective is equally important, it is the rich intermingling of all the lenses
that produce a brilliant and meaningful dance program for all children in all contexts.
The foundation of the DEL model is the four
categories of Laban Movement Analysis: Body,
Space, Effort, and Relationship. These four pillars serve as the basis for structuring and designing dance lesson plans. The LMA vocabulary provides a coherent means of describing and analyzing movement and offers a strong link to the K12 Language Arts standards.
Encompassing the different DEL model lenses
are guiding principles that are basic to all good
educators: creativity, imagination, innovation, risk
taking, flexibility, humor, communication, empathy, respect, and concern. At the core of the DEL
model is an appreciation of the passion and commitment that draws each teacher into this challenging and rewarding profession. Teachers are
encouraged to discover their own way of applying
the DEL material to their unique teaching context.
The DEL model has been applied locally by its
faculty and students in a variety of contexts—
preschool, public and private K-12 schools, afterschool and studio dance programs, and internationally at the university level. More recently, the
DEL approach to professional development was
introduced by Ann Biddle into the Empire State
Partnership between a major professional dance
company, Ballet Hispanico, and a K-5 public
school, P.S. 166 in Manhattan, located just across
the street from the company.
DEL I: Foundations in
Dance Education
Students entering the first year of DEL enroll in
the Foundations in Dance Education course.
Designed to provide fundamental training in
dance education, this year-long course meets once
per week for two hours for 20 sessions. Included
in DEL I is the Sunday workshop series, six to
eight half-day workshops in specialized topics of
dance education.
DEL II: Advanced Courses
Second-year DEL courses were developed out of
a need to provide further training for DEL I students. Courses include:
• Planet Dance: Multicultural Dance Education,
designed by Ann Biddle
• Integrating Dance into Language Arts, designed
by Joan Sax
• Lesson Planning and Curriculum Design with
the Standards, K-12, designed by Kathleen Isaac
• Conflict Resolution and Community Building
The Dance Education Laboratory’s Model for Professional Development
through Movement and Dance, designed by
Martha Hart Eddy
For example, instructors of the course Planet
Dance lead teaching artists through several
approaches to integrating dance activities with
social studies lessons. Teaching artists (or in some
cases classroom dance teachers) learn how to
make cultural comparisions as they analyze
dances from historical or geographical settings.
They reconstruct historical dances and consider
interdisciplinary views of teaching history.
Influenced by the seminal work of ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, Planet Dance uses the
Choreometrics system of cross-cultural analysis
to help students draw connections across the
global dance continuum.
grating dance into their basic academic curriculum. The DEL team and the Arts Coordinator for
District 22 designed a comprehensive plan for
offering an intensive and sustainable dance education training program for the District’s
teachers. DEL provides a variety of full-day, halfday, and after-school workshops based on LMA
vocabulary and DEL curriculum. A mentoring
program for a select group of teachers has also
been implemented. New York City’s Community
School District created the success of the Dance
22 Network, where a common pedagogical
approach to dance education has been embraced
by dance specialists and classroom teachers alike.
Many District 22 teachers have been encouraged
to include more dance in their curricula.
Conflict Resolution and Community Building
Through Movement and Dance is a response to
current interest in schools. Teachers learn how to
apply innovative methods of movement and
dance in violence prevention work with youth.
Dance Partnerships Mentoring Program
DEL students often supplement their second year
of training with participation in the Dance
Partnerships Mentoring Program. DEL students
are provided with a DEL master teacher, who
serves as mentor for approximately ten contact
hours over two to three months. DEL students
may observe their mentors teaching, assist the
mentors in the classroom, or be observed and
evaluated by their mentors. Many DEL students
have gone on to become mentors at DEL sites
where DEL faculty teach or have gone on to
assist in the DEL I course. Some DEL mentors
conduct staff development workshops in response
to requests from schools. Many DEL graduates
who participate in the mentor program go on to
gain employment either at their mentor’s teaching
site or at a site referred by the mentor.
Additional DEL Programs
Dance Networks
DEL offers partnerships with community school
districts in New York City. In District 22 in
Brooklyn, for example, DEL provides ongoing
staff development in dance education for classroom teachers in the 34 schools interested in inte-
The DEL Job Network
The DEL Job Network is a service that lists available teaching jobs. Administered by The 92nd
Street Y Dance Center, current DEL students and
graduates have access to the job roster. Approximately 30 DEL students have been placed
through the network since 1996.
Integrating Dance into Language Arts helps
teachers learn how to use creative dance to support language arts learning. They develop dance
lessons for different age groups based on stories,
novels, and poetry. It is offered to teaching artists
and classroom teachers involved in the Empire
State Partnership programs sponsored by the New
York State Council for the Arts.
Lesson Planning and Curriculum Design helps
emerging teaching artists and dance educators
make best use of the dance standards and other
academic local, state, and national standards.
Planning an Arts-Centered School
phers. Student groups from neighboring public
schools are invited to attend performances and
participate in post-performance workshops led by
a former DEL student and current Program
Assistant at the Dance Center, Amy Kail. Ms.
Kail originally developed the post-performance
workshop model as part of her final project for
DEL I. Current DEL students often assist in the
Fridays at Noon workshops and mentor with Ms.
DEL methodologies strengthen children’s capacities to choreograph and
recognize stories through dance.
The DEL Library
The DEL Library, housed within The 92nd Street
Y’s library, has an impressive circulating and
non-circulating collection of dance education
texts. Many are out of print yet remain seminal
dance education texts by noted authors such as
Joyce Boorman, Mary Joyce, and Rudolf Laban.
DEL students and graduates have access to the
library, and others involved with the Y may have
access with special permission. In addition, students’ final curriculum projects for all courses are
archived here and available for student perusal.
The collection is frequently updated to include
the most current dance education texts.
Fridays at Noon
Fridays at Noon is an established performance
series of works by new and emerging choreogra-
Empire State Partnership:
Tina Ramirez’s Ballet Hispanico
and P.S. 166
Ballet Hispanico was founded by Artistic Director
Tina Ramirez in 1970 to reflect and exemplify the
traditions and cultural achievements of HispanicAmericans through professional dance. It has a
very active outreach program, “Primeros Pasos”
(First Steps), and in 1998 joined in partnership
with a neighboring elementary school, P.S. 166,
in a four-year Empire State Partnership1 (ESP)
project to create a comprehensive dance program.
The aim of the ESP project is to institutionalize
an integrated dance and Hispanic culture curriculum in the school. Its emphasis is on integrating
dance with language-arts and social-studies curricula, while also addressing higher standards in
dance. Begun as a pilot program offering dance
residencies for four classes, the ESP project has
grown to include year-long residencies for nine
classes, ranging from the second to fifth grades.
Ballet Hispanico recently received funding to add
another school to the project, P.S. 98, located in
northern Manhattan.
Development of Teaching Artists and
Classroom Teachers
Over the course of the four-year project, a DELinfluenced model of staff development has been
instituted that enhances dance instruction and
capitalizes on natural links between academic and
1. A grant conferring program initiated by the New York State Arts Council.
The Dance Education Laboratory’s Model for Professional Development
aesthetic domains. The teaching artists have been
trained at DEL and use the common language of
Laban to strengthen children’s capacities to
choreograph and recognize stories through dance.
The DEL model promotes teachers’ understanding
of the new curriculum, including the Ballet
Hispanico company repertoire, Hispanic cultural
dance styles (Spanish, West African, and
Indigenous dance), and the Laban creative movement vocabulary.
Ballet Hispanico’s teaching artists gather
together for pedagogical training eight to ten
times during the school year to discuss issues of
classroom management, choreographic process,
and curriculum design. Individual artists may be
helped to make the transition from performing
artist to studio teacher, teamed with an elementary school teacher.
Regularly throughout the year, teaching artists’
practices are evaluated using checklists to review
live or videotaped sessions. After each assessment, teaching artists meet with the project coordinator for feedback and suggestions on how to
improve the lesson. Overall teaching ability,
effective classroom management, and innovative
lesson planning have improved dramatically over
the course of the four years, and we consider the
incorporation of all of the DEL elements to be an
important contribution to that improvement.
The results of such extensive and careful training are that teaching artists have become superb
teachers, as well as effective mentors and staff
developers. Master teachers of this caliber are
rare. Ballet Hispanico is in the enviable position
of being able to train all new teaching artists in a
common and shared pedagogical approach that is
documented and proven to be extremely successful with elementary-age students. There is a direct
link between teaching artists’ preparedness and
excellence and the impact on student learning in
the dance class.
Staff development for classroom teachers consists primarily of a series of at least four two-hour
dance education workshops presented by members of the Ballet Hispanico staff, P.S. 166 master
teachers, and outside specialists over the course
of the year. Workshops vary from year to year
and generally focus on integrating dance into the
academic curriculum. Other topics include the
roots of Hispanic dance, dance assessment and
standards, and techniques for creating multimedia
dance portfolios for the Web. Teachers also attend
project team meetings and curriculum planning
sessions with teaching artists, and may attend an
ESP-sponsored Summer Seminar.
Classroom teacher buy-in has been quite high
in the ESP/Ballet Hispanico project; teachers
have developed over time a sense of ownership of
the project and involvement in the process. They
have gained new skills and an appreciation for the
connections between dance, and reading and writing by virtue of their presence and participation in
the dance studio with their pupils. Regular exposure to LMA vocabulary and the artistic process
involved in student dance making has helped
teachers incorporate dance vocabulary and content into student journal writing and other classroom activities. Equally important, teachers have
gained a new appreciation of Hispanic dance and
culture—particularly relevant in a school with a
50 percent Latino student population.
Teamwork Between School-Based Dance
Specialists and Classroom Teachers
The DEL model offers a coherent paradigm using
the LMA movement vocabulary as a common
language that can be shared among students and
teachers. The use of LMA vocabulary in a distilled form has proven extremely successful for
both classroom teachers and school based dance
teachers to help bridge the gap between disciplines. LMA is the foundation for the dance
class—the vehicle for all children and teens to be
Planning an Arts-Centered School
able to describe, record, and share their dances
with each other. Choreometrics, a system for
drawing cross-cultural comparisons between the
world’s dances, may be introduced to dance
teachers and classroom teachers as the ESP partnership continues to develop.
Continuing Supervision
Consistent and continuing supervision is an important factor affecting teaching artists, classroom
teachers, and administrators alike. In schools,
teaching artists and dance specialists often struggle
in isolation without adequate guidance. School
administrators are often unfamiliar with current
dance education practices and often make unrealistic demands on the dance teachers, such as recitals
without adequate time to develop a polished presentation. Dance teachers come from a huge range
of technical and educational backgrounds and need
to receive comprehensive yet individualized supervision to meet the needs of their students and to
match their own varied backgrounds.
In order for dance teachers to become proficient
in a variety of dance techniques, classroom management strategies, and integrated and interdisciplinary curriculum design, they need access to
continuing supervision or mentoring from a master
teacher. On average, this relationship needs to last
at least two to three years, including the training
period, and have access to dance education workshops or seminars. Additionally, in-class modeling of effective strategies and methods by a master teacher is vital. We can talk about good teaching in theory, but novice teachers need to see
exactly how master teachers teach.
Assessment and Evaluation
Assessment feedback is extremely useful in
improving teaching practices over time. Teaching
artists should be evaluated by a trained and experienced dance educator who has developed a sustained relationship with the school or cultural organization. Teaching artists should be observed periodically during the school year (number of times
depends on length of program) and given ample
time to self assess through access to video documentation and guided conversations with their
evaluators in order to reinforce good practices or
make adjustments to their teaching.
It is also recommended that as teachers develop
and master skills, they be acknowledged and
rewarded for their teaching excellence.
Leadership opportunities for dance teachers
should be created to enable these teachers to offer
staff development for other teachers or act as
mentors for novice teachers.
Student progress is measured through an analysis of checklists and notes derived from conversations between teachers, teaching artists, and the
project coordinator. Generally, evaluators look for
evidence pointing to increased understanding of
dance vocabulary in the classroom, greater appreciation of Hispanic dance and culture, growth or
continued self-esteem and pride, and increased
physical dance skills and techniques. In some
cases, the evaluation process has helped to identify talented students. Many of these students have
gone on to join Ballet Hispanico’s School of
Dance for more advanced dance training.
The Dance Education Laboratory’s Model for Professional Development
The most successful professional development
programs for teachers manage to balance theory
and practice. The best programs enable participants to reflect on their practice and understand
what dance has to do with the students whom
they teach. Courses, workshops, demonstrations,
mentoring, and assessment must all emerge
organically from a common view of dance as a
kinesthetic art form. Professional development
for dance teachers, teaching artists, and classroom
teachers is exceedingly important as dance
becomes an accepted part of the school curriculum. It is all the more important as planners consider time and budget allocations for an arts-centered school where dance is treated as a major
sequence of study.
Chapter Seven
Community-Wide Music Education at the Levine School
by Kenneth Hopper
ince its founding in 1976, the Levine School
of Music has been providing music programs
for all members of the community, regardless of
economic circumstance. To understand the perspective of the Levine School of Music, it is
essential to know that it is a community music
school, which means that its mission is to promote community-wide participation in music
study and performance. While our curriculum is
philosophically broad, pedagogically sound, and
based on sequential learning, our students are not
full time; they attend weekly classes or lessons
for varying spans of time after school and on
The Levine School believes that music should
be a part of every child’s education and that a
community steeped in music will be a happier
and more productive place in which to live. In
other words, we believe in lifelong education and
that music can transform lives, therefore creating
communities and cities with a high quality of life.
Levine’s programs are inclusive of all ages and
levels of musical ability. Students can begin study
as early as six months of age and can study
throughout their lives, engaged in a wide array of
classes, individual and group vocal and instrumental instruction, master classes, lecture demonstrations, workshops, and performances. While EuroAmerican classical music forms the core of the
curriculum, the Levine School believes sincerely in
the value of the classical and indigenous traditions
of all cultures and is expanding its curriculum
The Levine School Offers
Courses in Four Divisions:
• The Early Childhood Music Division (ECM)
emphasizes sensory learning as well as the formal
elements of music such as rhythm, steady pulse,
meter, pitch, tempo, and dynamics. Children also
work on language development, small and large
muscle control, body and spatial awareness, coor-
dination, and social and emotional skills.
• The Preparatory Division serves students
between the ages of 7 and 18 and offers com-
Participation in music helps
children develop...self-worth,
team-work, discipline, problemsolving, goal-setting, and
prehensive training to develop and enhance
music skills, understanding, and appreciation.
• The Adult Division meets the full spectrum of
adult interests, serving the novice as well as the
accomplished player.
• The Professional Development Division is dedicated to promoting the development of excellence in music instruction.
Through enrichment seminars and short-term
courses, the program addresses the musical, intellectual and professional needs of independent
music teachers, early childhood educators, church
musicians, and public and private school teachers.
A growing body of research substantiates that in
addition to the inherent value of music, participation in music helps children develop very important
social concepts and life skills, including self-worth,
team work, discipline, problem-solving, goalsetting and achievement, and leadership, as well
as the capability to take direction.
In 1994, the Levine School established its
Public Housing Orchestra program. The program
proved so successful that the Levine School was
encouraged to establish a permanent presence in
Southeast Washington, DC, with outreach to students in public schools and residents of public
housing. In the fall of 1998, Levine opened its
“Southeast Site” at the Garden Memorial
Presbyterian Church near the historic Frederick
Community-Wide Music Education at the Levine School
Kenneth Hopper served as Executive Director of the Levine School of
Music from January 1999 to February 2002. Mr. Hopper has a distinguished background as an administrator, arts advocate, music educator,
and performer. He was Associate Professor of Music at the University of
Wisconsin/Stevens Point and a professional accompanist in New York City
for ten years. For nine years, he specialized in symphony orchestra management. These positions allowed him numerous opportunities to plan and
implement a wide variety of innovative activities designed to increase community participation in the musical life of their cities.
Planning an Arts-Centered School
Douglass Home. The Levine School now provides young people with an after-school activity
in a safe location closer to home, serving as an
alternative to less productive activities during the
post-school-hours period.
The Southeast DC site has attracted the loyalty
of many residents, and operating the site has also
been highly instructive for Levine. We know that
all children benefit from early childhood music
experience, but, not surprisingly, children who
live in poor neighborhoods are especially in need
of a musical foundation prior to more formalized
study in all school subjects. Beginning in
February 2001, Levine began offering instruction
to early childhood classes in an after-school tutoring program also located at Garden Memorial
Church. In September, we added two more
venues, both of which are in public housing daycare centers in Southeast DC.
Also in September, we established a site at
Johnson Junior High School in another Southeast
DC neighborhood. This move has enabled
Levine for the first time to present substantial inschool, on-site music instruction in partnership
with a DC public school. In essence, Levine is
the instrumental music program at Johnson. We
also offer enrichment to the school’s now flourishing vocal music ensembles.
The move has introduced many more young
people to Levine. Currently, more than 200 students in Southeast DC—a substantially higher
number than we expected—take advantage of this
alternative to possibly less-productive behavior
by involving themselves in music activities that
build habits of discipline and nurture a sense of
mastery and self-worth. Thanks to underwriting
by several local foundations and corporations,
Levine is able to provide scholarships to 98 percent of the Southeast site students, making the
1. Early Childhood Connections, Summer 2001.
program very accessible to young participants and
their families.
At Levine, our youngest students (as early as age
six months) are engaged in a process that, as
described in a recent publication by Early
Childhood Music Associate Director Kaja Weeks,
is centered on “children’s need for spontaneous
play, (which) is enhanced by thoughtfully-conceived play environments and an improvisatory yet
supportive teacher presence.”1 Through songs, the
simple use of instruments, and movement exercises, the sequential classes teach rudimentary concepts of pitch (high/low), tempo (fast/slow),
dynamics (loud/soft), tonality, and rhythm. While
instruction takes place in group settings, every
attempt is made to serve individual needs through
developmentally appropriate activities.
An Ideal In-School Music Curriculum
As bodies and minds mature, different musical
activities are appropriate. Yet at all times, the use
of the body (through movement and song) is
highly important. This principle enhances students’ ability to be attuned positively to the enormous number of sensory stimuli that make for a
life of adventure and fulfillment.
With that in mind, even when a child decides
that instrumental music is his or her area of interest, the importance of participation in singing
activities can be highly beneficial, whether as a
member of a choral group or in learning the art of
sight-singing—singing a melody at sight without
the benefit of an instrument to provide pitches. At
the same time, the music education for one whose
“instrument” of choice is the voice is more nearly
complete with at least some experience playing a
wind instrument, for example, in learning to play
the recorder.
Community-Wide Music Education at the Levine School
Whether one’s lifelong participation in making
music is as a professional or as a creative amateur, the music-making will probably take place
with others. Knowing something about the skills
required to play an instrument significantly
enhances that experience.
Since rhythm is so basic to all music, experience on percussion instruments, which, early on,
do not require sophisticated physical skills, is of
great value to a complete music education. It is
not surprising to find that the best early childhood
music education includes substantial experience
in singing, physical movement, and rhythm
Gaining basic skills in keyboard playing can
also be extremely valuable. The keyboard is the
only instrument that can realize almost any musical idea aurally. Whether the music student is a
member of a budding rock band, hopes to write
great symphonic music, or becomes a world-class
jazz musician, the keyboard can produce an endless number of chords and melodies. With the
assistance of a computer, a keyboard can even
simulate the other instruments for which
music is conceived.
For those who wish to take up instrumental
music, the selection of an instrument is very
important. A prime consideration is to ensure that
a student not begin an instrument before his or
her physical development enables an ease with
the instrument of choice. Because string instruments come in different sizes, students can begin
studying the violin, viola, and cello much earlier
than they can start playing most woodwind and
brass instruments.
As the student continues his or her music education, the basic concepts learned as an infant and
a toddler begin to take on the form of elementary
musical language: melodies (linear structures),
harmony and texture (horizontal structure), and
notation (pitch and rhythm). In a sequential
music education, the complexity of music analyzed and performed and the theoretical knowledge underpinning one’s musical comprehension
grow in parallel. Along this more structured education path, students should be encouraged to
constantly create, whether in the form of composition (writing music) or improvisation (spontaneously creating variations of a written tune or
creating impromptu melodies and harmonies in
various classical and popular musical styles).
Two other components need to be included in
an ideal music curriculum: ensemble playing and
competitions. The Levine School believes there
Whether one’s lifelong participation
in making music is as a professional
or as a creative amateur, the musicmaking will probably take place
with others.
is great value in students working together.
Whether through a chamber music ensemble, a
chorus, a wind ensemble, or a jazz band, collective creativity and collaboration create a synergy
that is not possible through the private lesson.
Lastly, for those who want to explore the possibility of a professional music career, competitions
test the student’s mettle as a performer.
Competitions help students discover if their personal make-up includes the required level of
determination and initiative to “make it” as a performer.
Courses in music theory, music technology, and
music theater round out an ideal curriculum. The
curriculum described above combines elements of
conservatory type rigor with the joy of simply
making music for personal pleasure. Whatever
path students choose, it would be advisable for a
performing arts school’s music strand to include
both vocal and instrumental instruction and stu-
Planning an Arts-Centered School
dent recitals, as well as ample opportunities for
the students to attend professional concerts and
performances by peers and near-peers. In addition, in a partnership with the real and virtual
National Music Museum being planned for the
District of Columbia, there will no doubt be many
opportunities to explore the potential of
technologically-sophisticated media and the various archives that will be made available to teachers and students.
Chapter Eight
A Comprehensive Approach to an Integrated Arts
Curriculum at the Woodrow Wilson School
by Ron Treanor and Anthony Buscetti
n many ways, Woodrow Wilson School (Union
City, NJ) is a paradox: On one hand, it is typical
of many inner city schools of the northeast United
States. It has a largely Hispanic, immigrant population. Its teachers are, by and large, locally educated and from the area. It has a typical teacherstudent ratio and a very lean administrative staff.
On the other hand, it is an unusual school. Its
students, with their parents’ consent, elected to
attend Wilson and were selected because they met
the district’s rather flexible definition of “gifted
and talented.”1 Wilson’s youngsters are noted for
their industry, enthusiasm, and love of the arts.
The school includes in its population a fair proportion of English language learners and youngsters with learning problems. Bilingual and basic
skills instruction programs help to meet these
youngsters’ special needs. Special needs youngsters excel at Wilson, moving out of their special
categories at a rate exceeding the average for the
Wilson School was designated as a TEN STAR
(that is, outstanding) school by the New Jersey
Department of Education, recognized for its
cutting-edge educational merit. It was also designated as one of four Arts Create Excellent
Schools (ACES) demonstration sites for its exemplary arts in education program by the New
Jersey Council for the Arts and the New Jersey
Alliance for Arts Education.
Union City, New Jersey, is a small municipality
in Hudson County, just across the river from New
York City. It is the most densely populated city
in the United States. More than 67,000 people
live in just over one square mile. The city faces
many of the problems of major urban areas,
including intensive land use, a large and needy
population of Spanish-speaking immigrants, and
aging housing stock. The Brookings Institution
determined Union City to be one of the 92 most
economically depressed areas in the United
States. The median family income in Union City
ranks among the lowest in the state. The current
unemployment figure is much higher than both
state and national figures. Because of lack of
space in Union City, our school is actually located in the neighboring town of Weehawken. Many
of our youngsters witnessed the horrible destruction of the World Trade Center from their classroom windows.
The school encompasses grades one through
eight but does not usually accept new students
after grade six. Many of the children’s parents
immigrated to Union City from Cuba or other
Caribbean islands. Spanish is spoken on the
playground as often as English. The children are
truly rainbow children—with skin tones reflecting
their European, African, and Native American
ancestors. They are, at the same time as
“American” as apple pie, loving the same goofy
TV programs and cultural icons as their peers
across the nation. In other words, they are not so
different from other youngsters in urban schools,
making their outstanding performance at Wilson
so very interesting.
Built in 1932 as a high school, the building is
old, but not unattractive. Like many schools in
the nation, our flexibility is challenged by the
lack of a single purpose auditorium. Nonetheless,
we have a large multi-purpose space the size of a
gymnasium, with a viewing gallery above, that
serves as an “all purpose room.” It is both a performing space and an exhibition space to show
the work of student painters, sculptors, writers,
and photographers. The space is also used for
staff development sessions and a spare space for
rehearsals and various small group activities. It is
beautifully maintained, clean, and well lighted.
1. For example, non bilingual students in the 1999-2000 2nd grade
class all tested in the fourth quartile (76 – 99 percentile), a far wider
band than found in many gifted and talented programs.
Planning an Arts-Centered School
Ron Treanor, Principal of the Woodrow Wilson School in Union City, NJ, has been a
school administrator for nine years. He is a graduate of New Jersey State University,
with a B.A. in Elementary Education and has an M.A. from Fairleigh Dickinson
University as a Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant. He earned his
Principal/Supervisor Certification from Montclair State University. Mr. Trainor has
been employed by the Union City School District for the past 29 years, and has been
the principal of Woodrow Wilson since its founding in 1995. He was the recipient of
the National Talent Network’s Golden Apple and Golden Acorn Awards, as well as The
PTA Enrichment Program Award in recognition of his performance as an outstanding
educator. He has served as a consultant for enrichment programs in Philadelphia, PA,
and Old Bridge, South River, and Secaucus, NJ. He has also been selected to serve on
the New Jersey State Commission on Environmental Education and is listed in Who’s
Who Among America’s Educators.
Anthony Buscetti, Edison School vice-principal, was, until two years ago, the ACES
(Arts Create Excellent Schools) Grant facilitator at Wilson. Mr. Buscetti began his
career as an art teacher, having graduated from New Jersey City University as an
Art/Elementary Education major. He joined Ron Treanor at Wilson during its planning
stage in order to provide expertise in developing an artist-in-residence program there.
Mr. Buscetti was promoted to vice principal in 1999 and assigned to Edison
Elementary School with a population of 1,900 youngsters, also in the Union City
School District. He is currently in the process of replicating a piece of the magic
established at Wilson by addressing the arts through an extensive artist-in-residence
program and cultural outreach through assembly programs. As a consultant to the New
Jersey State Council on the Arts and the State Education Department’s Art Assessment
Committee for three years, he helped formulate the New Jersey Core Curriculum Art
Standards and developed the arts component of the Elementary School Proficiency
A Comprehensive Approach to an Integrated Arts Curriculum
Classroom furniture has to be moved in order to
accommodate dance sessions, but there is a separate music room, and the art classroom is big,
airy, and flexible. An outdoor yard begs to be
transformed, but the school is just a temporary
headquarters for Wilson until a new building is
made available in Union City.
Wilson has developed a school culture that is
unique in many ways. Our staff is always willing
to explore new ideas in curriculum, instruction,
and assessment. They have created a dynamic
learning environment for our students. The tone
of the school is defined in the building’s entryway
by ever-changing exhibitions of student artwork
and confirmed by both the laughter and seriousness of learning in the classrooms. Wilson is a
joyful and effective school by any measure. This
claim is substantiated by the common measures
of our time: performance on standardized tests
and the various alternative forms of assessment
initiated at the school. For example, in recent test
results, we were awarded the New Jersey State
Best Practices Award for our MIADs (Multiple
Intelligences in Arts Domains) Program, a schoolwide effort to help children develop their capacities to solve problems in more than a
mathematical-verbal fashion. Our eighth grade
scores are outstanding. We were told that our
eighth graders’ test scores were the best in
Hudson County and the best among the New
Jersey State Districts. The results from standardized testing show that our school is ranked above
the 90th percentile in language arts, mathematics,
and science. We went up 37 percentage points in
math after instituting new instructional strategies.
Introducing MIADs:
Tony Buscetti Remembers
(MIADs was coordinated by Tony Buscetti from
2. See Frames of Mind, by Howard Gardner. (Basic Books. New York: 1983,
1985). This volume launched the discussion of multiple intelligences as
well as a whole “industry” related to performance assessment as an augmentation to standardized verbal and mathematical testing.
1995-2000; Coordination is now by Mimi Behr.)
Seven years ago, the Woodrow Wilson Integrated
Arts School was founded to meet the needs of the
Union City School District’s intellectually and
Part of Wilson’s dance training prepares students for dance
recitals and “Broadway” musicals.
artistically ambitious children. The school is very
much influenced by the multiple intelligences theory of Howard Gardner2 and research regarding
different approaches to learning and assessment
of intelligence. The idea behind the school’s formation was to provide a challenging program
whereby instruction in all the “basic” subjects
such as language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and technology would be enhanced
by the integration of the visual and performing
Planning an Arts-Centered School
arts. (See “Sample Arts—Integrated School
Course Options” in Appendix I.) In addition, students would be taught a full sequence of studio
arts including music (instrumental and vocal), the
visual arts (photography as well as painting and
sculpture), and drama.
From the beginning, the Wilson planners
embraced Gardner’s findings. He argued for a
multidimensional assessment process that would
enable youngsters to show how they could fashion solutions to various real-life and academic
problems using domains or frameworks that
became known as the seven (now eight) “intelligences.” We shared Gardner’s frustration with
verbal and mathematical testing as the sole methods of determining intelligence. We too had
observed that humans excel in multiple domains
and that problems can be solved using strategies
embedded in visual, kinesthetic, and musical disciplines as well as in multiple choice items on
verbal and mathematics standardized tests. While
not eschewing the verbal and mathematical
domains—quite the contrary—Gardner found six
other domains where the brain’s capacity for
problem solving was located. He encouraged
educators to nourish these intelligences as well as
devise ways to measure intelligence, taking the
fact of multiplicity into account, and we heard
him. Now a template for instruction at Wilson,
the eight kinds of intelligence that Gardner
defined are:
• Verbal-Linguistic
• Musical-Rhythmic
• Logical-Mathematical
• Visual-Spatial
• Bodily-Kinesthetic
• Intrapersonal
• Interpersonal
• Natural Science
We instituted a multi-faceted system for assessing student progress that augmented the traditional standardized math and reading tests. Only
teachers with dual backgrounds in the arts and
their subject specialties are hired to teach at
Wilson. Professional development time is allocated for the refinement of instruction strategies
and development of curriculum content in alignment with the New Jersey Department of
Education content frameworks. We use that time
to help teachers recognize the importance of giving students alternative languages and protocols
to represent and solve problems in verbal, mathematical, scientific, and arts domains.
At the time of its founding, Wilson was invited
to become partners with the New York City
Ballet, the New York City Opera, and the New
Jersey Performing Arts Center because of our
clearly defined plan to infuse the arts into the curriculum. These partnerships—requiring students’
intensive study and resulting in student performances as well as attendance at specific professional performances—enabled teams of professional artists and teachers to nourish the individual abilities in each student and help students
understand their uniqueness as creative beings.
The partnerships also enabled the teachers to further understand and sustain a rigorous, artsinfused curriculum. Currently, Wilson has partnerships with the New Jersey Council of the Arts,
the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the New
York City Ballet, the New York City Opera,
Project Impact New Jersey, and Young Audiences
of New Jersey. These organizations either offer
their regular student outreach programs to Wilson
or develop special programs in collaboration with
the Wilson teaching staff.
While the partnerships have been invaluable,
key to the success of Wilson has been the devoted
staff of young energetic teachers.
A Comprehensive Approach to an Integrated Arts Curriculum
Planning a School With Vision:
Ron Treanor’s Story
When the Superintendent of Schools Thomas
Highton assigned me to co-chair a committee to
establish a new elementary school for Union City,
he humorously explained the job: “You do not
have any students. You do not have faculty. You
do not have supplies. Heck, you don’t even have
a building. And the building I am thinking of
using is not even in our district. And the residents
don’t even want us there. But what you do have
is educational vision.”
With this in mind, I moved forward, and my
first objective had nothing at all to do with the
structure of a building, but with the complete
development of our potential students. My most
important task was to identify my vision of students in this school. What would my expectations
be of a student as he or she completed each grade
level? What qualities, skills, and characteristics
should graduates of our school possess before
moving on to the next phases in their lives?
Above all, I knew that the school had to offer a
child-centered environment where a student’s
maximum potential is nurtured. The planning
committee concurred, and so we were able to
move forward.
We believed students leaving our school should
be well-rounded, thoughtful human beings. They
should be critical and independent thinkers, aware
of their own uniqueness, willing to be contributors to our society. This would be achieved
• An activity-enriched curriculum that embraces
critical thinkers working to their maximum
• Instructional materials specifically designed to
accommodate various learning styles;
• Learning activities that encourage independent
• Active parental involvement in planning;
• Individualized education;
• Intensive and continuous staff development;
• Options to students and teachers regarding what
MIADs (Multiple Intelligences in Arts Domain)
to teach and learn;
• Educational partnerships with industry, arts
institutions, colleges, and universities.
It was our vision that all students should have a
full range of academic and non-academic experiences in order to reach their maximum potential.
Our planning committee and I analyzed the educational objectives of many districts throughout
the United States. We concluded from our research that an arts-integrated approach would best
encompass all the individual abilities of our students. Cognizant of the various differences in
What qualities, skills, and characteristics should graduates of our school
possess before moving on to the next
phases in their lives?
learning styles, we decided to adapt Howard
Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. In so
doing, our staff could customize all students’ educational goals according to their unique needs and
We introduced a nomination process whereby
students wishing to enter our school were considered based on their success or interest in one of
five categories: academics (humanities, math, and
science), music, drama, creative movement, and
visual arts. The Board of Education notified residents of the admissions process, which was opened
to all students in the district. Screening committees
were appointed who interviewed and reviewed
their portfolios. This system is still used.
Planning an Arts-Centered School
The Board of Education gave us its full support
in establishing an interviewing committee for
teacher selection. In addition to myself, the committee consisted of a Union City school administrator, an educational supervisor, the district
supervisor for fine- and performing-arts, and a
coordinator of a gifted and talented program from
outside the district. We were looking for a faculty with diverse talents—people who were noted
for not only being exceptional educators, but who
also exhibited diversified backgrounds in one of
the above mentioned disciplines. We were looking for individuals who demonstrated a willingness to create a syllabus of instruction that would
enrich the educational experiences and help students to identify and develop their own uniqueness. We put together a series of questions to help
us determine the applicant’s commitment to, and
understanding of, arts integration, and we spent
many hours of conversation with the finalists just
to make sure that we were all on the same track.
Most of the teachers whom we hired five years
ago are still with us. They say they stay because
they love teaching at Wilson. I believe them.
To help teachers help students reach their maximum potential, we enabled teachers to attend staff
development workshops on the implementation of
an arts-integrated approach to the core curriculum, as well as numerous sessions on assessing
student work. The faculty is united with a common goal that is evidenced in the harmonious and
stable school environment.
Our MIAD concept was developed in the early
days of Wilson as a way to give children more
than a typical once-a-week encounter with music
and art. From its inception, Wilson has maintained a schedule where Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each school week are reserved for the
presentation of MIADs—Multiple Intelligences
Arts Domain mini-courses in the arts and selected
academic areas. Applying Gardner’s theories, the
faculty introduced these courses to augment the
standard curriculum and provide a combination of
art-making studio courses and interdisciplinary
workshops. Each session of a MIAD is scheduled
for approximately 60 to 90 minutes, depending on
the grades served. The topics change each
Most of the teachers whom we
hired at the beginning are still
with us. They say they stay
because they love teaching at
trimester, and students can program themselves
for a sequence in the same arts domain, or they
can sample a different discipline in each trimester.
Sometimes sequences increase in their level of
difficulty as students progress. These elective
courses enable every student in Wilson to explore
and begin to develop expertise in numerous areas
of interest: instrumental music, vocal music,
painting and drawing, sculpture, dance, drama,
and interdisciplinary studies in the arts through
the performance of well-known operas and musical theater. Students apply skills and acquire
knowledge of ancillary subjects when they develop “wrap arounds” for performances, such as
advertising and publicity campaigns.
MIADs provide our teachers with opportunities
to explore their own special interests and expertise as professional or amateur artists with children. They develop MIADs that suit their artistic
backgrounds and current interests. Teachers who
previously may have been actors work on the
craft of acting with their students. Teachers
trained in graphic arts offer MIADs that focus on
advertising and design. They help students apply
knowledge and skills acquired in regular classroom instruction to aesthetic problems and offer a
multidimensional approach to learning history,
A Comprehensive Approach to an Integrated Arts Curriculum
geography, computation, and reading, as well as
analysis, synthesis, and evaluation (from the
famous Bloom’s Taxonomy of Higher Level
Thinking Skills). Selected faculty members are
frequently invited to experiment with new course
content and new instructional intentions with
“outside” partners.
Studio explorations in the arts always culminate
with a sharing and reflection process. Students
from various MIADs share their learning with
other students by performing and explaining what
they have learned. These sessions, dubbed “convocations,” conclude each MIAD and stimulate
students to further study. The faculty assess the
growth of students in particular arts domains over
time using specially constructed assessment
Currently, schools in other districts throughout
the state visit us to broaden their understanding of
how an arts-enriched curriculum can enhance student learning. We are happy to have visitors, but
meanwhile, the work of inventing Wilson and its
integrated arts approach to learning is never done.
Thanks to an extraordinary faculty and constant
exposure to new ideas and practices through our
Wilson students perform a scene from Smetana’s The Bartered
Bride. A yearly partnership with the New York City Opera
Company culminates with a production of an adaptation of one
of the operas in the Company’s repertory.
involvement with various state and national networks, including the Coalition of Essential
Schools, we can safely predict that we will always
be a work in progress.
Chapter Nine
Integrating the Arts into the Wider Curriculum
by Carol Fineberg
What does it mean to be an educated person? It
means respecting the miracle of life, being
empowered in the use of language, and responding sensitively to the aesthetic. Being truly educated means putting learning in historical perspective, understanding groups and institutions,
having reverence for the natural world, and
affirming the dignity of work. And above all,
being an educated person means being guided by
values and beliefs and connecting the lessons of
the classroom to the realities of life. These are
the core competencies that I believe replace the
old Carnegie units.
—Ernest Boyer, Education
Leader and Reformer
ne of the key features of most arts-centered
schools is the systematic effort to infuse arts
knowledge and skills into other aspects of the
curriculum. Integrating the arts into the basic education of every child emerged as a strategy to
combat escalating cuts of arts programs nationwide during the late 1960s and ‘70s. As advocacy for integrated arts programs gained momentum, the idea of infusing the arts into all curriculum areas developed a life of its own under the
moniker Arts in Education. Coined during the
Johnson administration, it is used now as a synonym for a curriculum that is heavily laced with
arts-related activities usually requiring the services of cultural institutions, resident artists,
musicians, playwrights, dancers, and actors and
dependent on “outside funding,” such as grants,
awards, and partnerships with corporate and private sponsors.
In response to various advocacy efforts, the
U.S. Office of Education and its successor, the
U.S. Department of Education, along with state
education departments, state arts agencies, and
the National Endowment for the Arts, began to
1. Appendix II includes references to the most prominent studies.
fund innovative projects that promised excellent
learning results when the arts and academics were
combined. Local arts organizations, such as notfor-profit theaters, opera companies, symphonies,
museums, community-based settlement houses
and guilds, and neighborhood ateliers, discovered
the opportunities Arts in Education programs presented as a desirable and fundable goal for their
organizations. They began to provide arts and culture professionals to public schools and demonstrated how professional artists can complement
certified teachers in the classroom, studio, or
stage. As experiences with an integrated arts curriculum multiplied, hundreds of publications surfaced that described student activities combining
art-making and art history with themes found in
social studies, math, science, and English language arts syllabi. With the advent of the Internet,
these publications, plus program ideas, exemplary
curriculum units, and all kinds of chat rooms,
became available to practitioners and dreamers
As research caught up with practice, several
studies on the impact of an integrated-arts curriculum on learning were released and more
schools have opted for arts-rich social studies,
language arts, math, science, and technology curricula.1 Efforts to train teachers in the processes
and content of arts integration have sprung up in
hundreds of rural, urban, and suburban school
districts. Partnerships, or at least long-term relationships with arts organizations—once a risky
proposition that only the audacious would try—
are now standard in many school districts. Whole
schools, such as those described in this publication, are dedicated to the systematic infusion of
arts activities and resources to heighten understanding and application of knowledge across the
curriculum. In many of the pre-professional conservatory schools, there is an additional effort to
integrate the arts into their academic programs
Integrating the Arts into the Wider Curriculum
Carol Fineberg has spent the past thirty-something years administering,
designing, evaluating, and writing about arts education and arts in education programs. A former history teacher at the famed High School of Music
and Art, from which she graduated as a music major, Dr. Fineberg entered
the arts education field when enlisted by the New York City Board of
Education to direct a number of school improvement efforts. The first
director of the New York City Arts in General Education network of schools,
Dr. Fineberg went on to complete her doctorate in aesthetics and cognitive
development and establish her own consulting service, C.F. Associates. She
has designed several arts-centered schools—including the Westchester Arts
Program at SUNY Purchase, the Webster Arts and Humanities Magnet
School, Barnard Early Childhood School based on the Reggio Emilia model
(New Rochelle, NY), and the Teaneck High School Arts Magnet (NJ)—and
was on the design team for Studio in a School, a New York-based organization that sends professional visual artists to schools for long-term residencies.
Dr. Fineberg’s published research studies are available through ERIC
(Educational Resources Information Center). Her doctoral dissertation is
summarized in Schools, Communities, and the Arts, a juried compendium
of arts education research sponsored by the National Endowment for the
Arts. A graduate of Smith College and New York University, Dr. Fineberg
advises graduate students and faculty at various colleges in the New York
City area (St. John’s University, Bank Street College, the College of New
Rochelle) and continues her role as an independent scholar.
Planning an Arts-Centered School
with as much energy and dedication as to teach
the arts directly.
A variety of national and regional models have
emerged, such as the Annenberg Foundation arts
education initiatives, the Kenen Institute’s A+
programs in North Carolina, and the Galef
Institute’s DWOK (Different Ways of Knowing)
program. The U.S. Department of Education
recently awarded 10 integrated arts programs for
their intentions to develop arts-integrated curriculum. One of these programs is Tucson’s “Opening
Minds Through the Arts,” a consortium consisting
of the Tucson Symphony Opera, the University of
Arizona, and the Tucson Arts Connection. This
program’s purpose is to expand an integrated curriculum for teachers and artists focused on music
through all grades. Other recipients of this recent
round of grants from the U.S. Department of
Education, ranging from around $500,000 to $1
million each, were the Rockford, IL, Public
Schools, the Mississippi Arts Commission (a state
arts agency), and ArtsConnection in New York
City for “Investigating the Arts and Literacy
• Art-making is a form of active learning, combining research with demonstration of knowledge (the project);
• Arts education gives students opportunities to
manipulate ideas and materials to engage more
effectively in intellectual inquiry;
• Students who are regularly and intensely
engaged in the arts tend to be the same students
who score well on standardized tests, regardless
of their family income.4
• When the arts are allied with basic skills
instruction, the arts are less likely to be removed
from the school during budget crunches;
• When artists work in schools, they contribute
real-world expertise while maintaining the skills
of their profession; and
• Learning through the arts helps students acquire
skills that may be transferable to the workplace.
• The arts make the textbook study of a topic
come alive; children therefore learn more and
with enthusiasm;
Integrated arts education should not be confused with sequential instruction in music, art,
dance, drama, and media. The arts subjects that
we are used to seeing listed in school curricular
or extra curricular catalogs usually are taught separately from those efforts where arts integration is
the goal. That said, it is not unusual for art teachers—especially in the elementary grades–to consult with teachers and introduce projects that
somehow relate to what is happening in the “regular” classroom. While at one time arts teachers
feared that the integrationists would supplant traditional instruction in the arts, this fear seems to
be mostly unsubstantiated. A common misconception persists in some quarters, however, that,
for example, when children are given an opportunity to “illustrate” the various highlights of
American history in elementary school, they will
2.These grants signal an expansion of the federal government’s recognition of the potential of integrated arts programs to motivate and
enhance student achievement.
3. Funded by the GE Fund,The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation, and Binney & Smith.
4. See Champions of Change, a compendium of research regarding the
relationship of arts education to academic achievement, and Schools,
Communities and the Arts, a juried collection of other research studies
investigating various effects of arts education on students and teachers.
The recent publication, Gaining the Arts
Advantage,3 adds to an ever-growing list of artsintegration projects of merit in school districts
throughout the nation. Other sources of information on models of arts education may be found in
the Appendices of this Handbook.
Rationale for ArtsIntegrated Curricula
Arts education advocates cite many substantive
reasons to integrate the arts:
Integrating the Arts into the Wider Curriculum
learn the fundamentals of painting and drawing as
well as they would in an art class. Arts education
advocates know better.
In the practice of integrated arts, we must confront not only the central educational question
(“What should students know and be able to do at
various stages of their intellectual and social development”) but also aesthetic questions related to
producing and analyzing the arts. Teachers and
teaching artists must explore the hallmarks of quality. They need to develop curricula that maintain
the integrity of arts processes and content while
being true to the goals of the “other” domain. This
is probably the most serious question with which
arts-centered schools must wrestle.
Here is a case that illustrates the challenge:
Fourth-grade students make a canoe during their
social studies class under the leadership of a
Native American artist. The canoe is a scaled
down, beautiful replica of one used to float on the
Hudson River during the 17th century. Students
develop control over unfamiliar tools related to
creating three-dimensional objects. They work on
the aesthetic aspects of the canoe as well as its
functionality. They apply what they have learned
in math about scale. Students casually discuss
the use of canoes as a form of transportation
while making the object. The canoe is mounted
in the foyer of the school building as an example
of an integrated arts experience.
If, in the process of making the canoe, students
also have an opportunity to read related literature
regarding life in the 17th century Hudson Valley,
and they demonstrate that they can make accurate
comparisons between life then and now in regard
to transportation, it may be that more students
will be able to analyze general and specific transportation issues, an important aspect of the
required social studies standards. The teacher
needs to probe for this understanding through
tests, quizzes, or other assessment efforts. If, on
the other hand, the social and economic issues
related to transportation are not explored and
learned within the reach of fourth graders, then
the experience of making the canoe was a good
one, but it cannot be used as a substitute for covering the required social studies material.
Examples abound of art, music, dance, and theater projects that enhance students’ understanding
and handling of the arts as well as the linked academic area. Some are models of synergy, where
the artmaking complements and even extends students’ understanding of academic material. In
some instances, however, the product will have
been a fun thing to do or make, but does no service to either the art or academic disciplines. The
trick is to give parity to both the arts and academic content. If parity is not reached, there is a dual
danger: Teachers will devote the hours building
the canoe during their class time instead of covering what they are accountable for. Worse yet, students may be deprived of learning other aspects
of the required curriculum because of lack of
time. The problem of parity becomes more serious in the upper grades, where high stakes testing
continuously calls the tune.
Most integrated arts efforts are dependent upon
a team of teachers and teaching artists, working
together within their specialties to help students
express ideas and understandings with accuracy,
proficiency, and aesthetic effectiveness. Most
efforts to integrate arts education successfully
emerge from well thought-out, written teaching
units that are very specific and ensure a high
degree of personal and group accountability for
the information and skills embedded within them.
The integrated arts unit approach should promote
a process of rigorous inquiry, research, and report.
The best units of instruction seem to be those that
are prepared by teachers and artists together.
These units usually have a theme that functions as
a kind of lens through which the student can
investigate various kinds of subject matter.
Planning an Arts-Centered School
The best themes have some “need to know”
built into them; they are more than topics. A
need to know should generate questions and
hypotheses as opposed to “right answers.”
Inherent in the material there is a tension
between two goods, such as the need to protect
people’s rights to privacy and the need to protect
people from terrorists. If an actor helps lead stu-
The best units of instruction seem
to be those that are prepared by
teachers and artists together.
dents through a dramatic scene where such tensions are acted out, it is a safe bet that the process
will result in not only epiphanies regarding acting
a character in a situation, but also a grasp of the
conflict between two goods, a powerful curriculum theme.
With the guidance of a playwright-in-residence,
students might create original dramas that relate
to a theme. They might attend performances of
plays that focus on issues related to the theme.
Advanced music students might study musical
compositions that contain within them musical
analogies of conflict and resolution. Dance students might compose movement narratives that
illustrate real or imagined conflicts between two
goods. Students could accompany their creative
work with research essays articulating the background of conflicts explored through drama,
dance, and music and an explanation of how the
unit required students to focus on specific learning standards (i.e., national, state, local).
Units generally include an end-of-unit presentation and a check to see whether knowledge and
skills have been internalized. As presentations
emerge from the above activities, the checkup on
learning may be in the form of a teacher-made
test. Or the performance could be rated using a
well-defined scale (sometimes called a “rubric”).
Or students and teachers could rate the writing
according to pre-established criteria. Whatever
the process of evaluating results, it should be
developed with the same care as the written curriculum unit.
Cautions to Temper Enthusiasm
In an effort to proselytize potential supporters,
arts education advocates, especially those who
advocate an integrated arts curriculum, sometimes
promise more than can be delivered.
Enthusiasts are likely to say that studying music
will raise SAT scores, a perversion of the data
that merely points to a link, as opposed to scientific proof that this is so. If it were true, would
not all members of the school band score well on
these important tests? The same arts education
advocates might promise in proposals to funders
that a once-a-week choral class will lead to better
scores on the standardized reading test. This
cause-and-effect relationship has yet to be proven.
(Friends of arts education might better suggest
that, even if there is no “hard data” regarding the
arts and high stakes testing, the experience is nevertheless invaluable.)
As teachers are asked to “turn over” their class
to artists, the former sometimes become anxious
because, in their minds, time that should be
devoted to test preparation has been set aside for
some “arts and crafts” activity with no value to
test results. Artists get frustrated when teachers
are afraid to depart from test preparation for a
truly creative experience that challenges youngsters’ (and their own) imaginations. When an
integrated arts curriculum is taught well, both the
aesthetic and academic standards are maintained,
and children profit. Clearly, there is no such
guarantee when the teaching is weak.
For an integrated arts curriculum to deliver both
excellent arts education and excellent academic
education, several conditions must be in place.
Integrating the Arts into the Wider Curriculum
These include:
1. Clarity regarding what students are expected to
learn in both the artistic and academic domains
because of the integrated curriculum unit.
Teachers, students, and artists must be clear
about the knowledge and skills that students
will acquire in these described activities.
2. Clear pedagogical procedures that help students organize their work (research, criticalthinking procedures, preparation of findings in
an appropriate arts-related format, development
of supportive documentation) toward welldefined outcomes.
3. Knowledgeable teachers and expert artists who
introduce students to challenging work that
results in high levels of cognitive process as
well as aesthetic product.
4. Adequate time to plan and implement an integrated arts unit—neither too little, nor too
much time to go through the unit from statement of theme, engagement in various kinds of
activities, and arrival at conclusions.
5. Appropriate assessment tools integrated into
the teaching design to determine students’ mastery over content and skills.
6. Awareness that all subject matter is not always
appropriate for integration.
7. Understanding that direct teaching of subject
matter is a requisite for integration. For example, an integrated curriculum does not teach the
times table; but you can use multiplication
skills in an integrated unit that requires calculation.
To carry off this assignment well, teachers and
artists, as well as administrators of schools and
arts organizations, need to heed the guidelines for
effective teaching and protect the value of a genuine intellectual and aesthetic pursuit. Students
will then get their just rewards—a stimulating
learning experience that emphasizes the role arts
play in enhancing knowledge, skill, and comprehension of the world we live in.
Chapter Ten
A Model for Drama in
Education from the American Place Theatre
by Lisa Richards and David Kener
he American Place Theatre finds that many
arts-centered schools focus on training students to pursue careers in the various art forms
but miss the opportunity to use the arts to engage
students while fulfilling their academic obligations.
An arts-integrated education does not degrade
the idea of teaching students to become career
artists, but rather it integrates the arts with the
requirements of the standard academic curriculum. That said, we strongly advocate an artscentered school plan that emphasizes learning
through the arts as well as in the arts. Research
has shown that “the arts have the potential to aid
learning in specific areas such as reading, writing,
math, and creativity.”1 Thus, arts integration is,
and will continue to be, vital to educational
A Drama in Education Model
Since 1993, The American Place Theatre has produced three successful arts-in-education programs: Literature to Life, Teacher’s Place, and
Urban Writes, each of which continues to expand
its outreach. These programs are offered to New
York City middle schools and high schools, and
each demonstrates an innovative approach to integration of theater arts with other academic
Literature to Life is a literacy program with performances tailored for grades 7-12. In a 90minute session, students experience a dramatic
adaptation of a work of literature chosen from the
New York City Board of Education’s recommended reading lists or an original play that is based
on primary sources documenting an historical
theme. Professionally staged performances, adapted from the texts and performed by professional
actors, captivate students’ imaginations as ideas
and scenes leap from literature to live theatre,
1. Eloquent Evidence. Published by the Arts Education Partnership and the
President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
hence the appellation Literature to Life. Students
work within their classrooms on the texts either
before or after attending the performance and participate in pre- and post-show discussions with
artists. In-class workshops with their teachers
further explore the themes of the featured book.
When students write essays reflecting on these
books, they write with greater appreciation for the
works and demonstrate a higher level of understanding of the works than if they had merely
read the text. Students also tend, on their own, to
read other books by the Literature to Life authors
after this experience.
Teacher’s Place is a professional development
program for classroom teachers who wish to
explore the use of drama-based techniques in
their non-drama classrooms. The aim of Teacher’s
Place is to provide teachers with practical techniques for employing various theater exercises as
a tool for promoting reading, prompting writing,
and inspiring critical thinking. Workshop themes
are carefully chosen to reflect the Teacher’s Place
mission, and they are in continuous development
with consideration to teachers’ input and ideas, as
well as new trends and concerns emanating from
the field of education. Teachers enroll for a series
of workshops throughout the semester focused on
three topics: drama as a catalyst for exploring literature, conflict management through drama, and
creating original dramatic work from literature.
They claim that the workshops provide them with
tangible skills that they are able to apply to their
daily lesson plans. Among the teachers who
attend Teacher’s Place, several are from schools
where performing arts majors are available.
Urban Writes is a 12-week residency (one- to
two-sessions per-class, per-week) in city middle
schools and high schools. It is designed to
encourage student self-expression through playwriting, theatrical production, and consequent
A Model for Drama in Education from the American Place Theatre
Lisa Richards is Associate Director of Arts Education at the American Place Theatre. She earned
her B.A. in Drama and English from Spelman College in Atlanta and M.A. from New York
University in Educational Theatre with a concentration in Performing Arts Administration. As a
theater education consultant, Ms. Richards has conducted professional development workshops for
the New York City Board of Education and the New York City Department of Corrections (Rikers
Island Prison). As a teaching artist, she conducts semester-long residencies with various middle
schools and high schools around New York City.
David Kener is the newly appointed Associate Artistic Director at the American Place Theatre. He
is also APT’s director of arts education and has recently expanded the Literature to Life program
to include partnerships with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, and
the New York Historical Society, Early Stages, PENCIL, and the Brooklyn Public Library in New
York. Mr. Kener has extensive experience in creative drama and educational theatre as a program
director, teaching artist, and educational consultant. He was a member of New York University’s
Creative Arts Team (CAT), where he designed participatory drama workshops exploring cultural
and social issues for both elementary and high school students. He has conducted staff training
and conflict management workshops both in New York and Los Angeles for organizations including
the Henry Street Settlement (NYC), Living Literature/Colors United (Watts, South Central LA), and
Values Education Through Arts and Humanities (Northport, Long Island, NY). Most recently he
was the Education Director at Firezone, the FDNY’s fire safety learning center at Rockefeller
Center. As an actor, Mr. Kener was trained by Wynn Handman and has appeared Off-Broadway at
the Public Theatre, the Signature Theatre, and the American Place Theatre. Recent film and television credits include feature roles in Someone Like You, Law and Order, and American Playhouse.
Planning an Arts-Centered School
interpersonal communication. A team of two
teaching artists works to build a safe and stimulating environment for artistic risk-taking involving critical thinking, writing, and open discussion
of issues at the heart of the students’ experience.
The initial models for writing are Literature to
Life performances. Each semester’s work culminates in a performance of the students’ writing at
The American Place Theatre for families, friends,
and guests. This program offers a unique and
exciting chance for students to use their imaginations to write and to experience theater as a catalyst for creativity and learning.
Constructing a Curriculum
Using Drama in Education
The Literature to Life, Teacher’s Place, and
Urban Writes programs can be successfully integrated into a middle school or high school curriculum format. To envision this type of integration, it is necessary to isolate the skills taught and
practiced in these programs. Also, it must be
shown how the activities can be done in a classroom setting, as well as how the skills presented
correlate to any number of academic standards
and objectives that middle school teachers are
expected to meet.
The American Place Theatre believes that artsin-education programs work best when English
and history teachers are trained in the arts in education models and are continually encouraged to
try new methods for integrating the arts into the
curriculum. After all, arts education program
providers may see a student over a short period of
time or only once a week, but the classroom
teacher sees that same student at least 180 times a
Literature to Life exposes students to professionally staged performances of books that often
are part of the high school English or humanities
curriculum. Program evaluations have shown that
as teachers and students are exposed to Literature
to Life, they readily and enthusiastically integrate
the arts into teaching and learning processes.
Academic and artistic learning objectives of
Literature to Life performances and workshops
include discovery and analysis of themes, characters and conflicts; author’s motivation for writing;
and the student’s personal relationship to the
Teacher resource guides contain suggestions for
exercises that can be implemented into the classroom before or after the performance. The guide
includes activities that explore theme and character, writing exercises that ask students to extend
meaning, and suggestions for scene work that
enable students to try out their discoveries.
Students are engaged in a type of learning that
uses all faculties of reasoning and taps into their
“multiple intelligences.” Teachers have reported
that the guides are helpful adjuncts to their classroom lessons.
Literature to Life is most effective when teachers understand that the theater experience is a catalyst for revealing and enlivening issues that may
appear to be dense and out of reach to students.
It also gives students a non-threatening forum to
examine emotional issues that are too close to
home. Our Literature to Life performance/workshop of Dreaming in Cuban, a novel by Cristina
Garcia, presents the struggles of an immigrant
family living in Miami and New York. It provides a unique perspective and understanding of
historical events, social movements, and pivotal
iconic figures such as Fidel Castro and Che
Guevara. The workshops that complement the
performance further reinforce the student’s understanding of both the novel and the social studies
curriculum. At the time that news headlines were
filled with stories of Elian Gonzalez, students in
the post-show workshop realized that their understanding of the book influenced their interpretation of the events that were unfolding regarding
the Elian case and the issues surrounding his
A Model for Drama in Education from the American Place Theatre
story. They began to recognize how art, history,
personal experience, and current events are all
The Teacher’s Place program hires professional
artists who train teachers in six-hour, one-day sessions on how to use drama as a catalyst for reading and understanding literature, developing original writing, understanding historical issues and
documents, and developing social and interpersonal strategies for managing and resolving conflict. Using drama in education techniques—such
as “teacher in role,” “hot-seating,” and
“tableaux”—teachers are empowered with the
tools necessary to stimulate students’ interests in
working through a multitude of ideas through
drama. With Teacher’s Place, drama becomes the
driver, and teachers become the vehicle.
The Teacher’s Place staff development component trains teachers how to support their students
as they examine their thoughts around very difficult issues. Research2 has confirmed what we
have experienced: Students feel comfortable
using drama because it provides them with the
liberty to pretend and frees them to create new
personas. Drama helps students promote ideals
that they dream of making tangible.
We invite teachers who feel they need more
skill and background to attend the Teacher’s Place
staff development program so they can bring this
type of arts integration into their classrooms.
Teacher’s Place becomes an important support as
they practice these new teaching techniques.
Urban Writes, as it is structured for the New
York arts education program at The American
Place Theatre, is designed for a semester-long
classroom partnership. The program provides a
rich opportunity to study playwriting that builds
on students’ personal experiences and includes a
2. Gaining the Arts Advantage: Lessons From School Districts That Value Arts
Education. 1999. Washington, DC: The President’s Committee on
the Arts and Humanities. See also Edward B. Fiske, ed. 2000.
true investigation of the historical, political, and
social realities that make up the students’ perspectives. Plays that they construct are grounded not
only in the imagination, but also in an analysis of
the world around them. Unlike Literature to Life,
which is designed for audience response, Urban
Writes is about playmaking and is taught by professional teaching artists—actors, directors, and
playwrights—who use playwriting and production
techniques as a catalysts for exciting learning.
From theater games to in-depth playwriting activities, students learn how to use their bodies and
their minds to create a reasonable statement in
play form that communicates well and uses language in thoughtful and meaningful ways.
Urban Writes is a wonderful platform for profound discussions of issues at the heart of the
adolescent experience, including peer pressure,
drug and alcohol experimentation, and interpersonal relationships. Guided by their teaching
artists, students feel safe in exploring these issues
in role-plays and improvisations, which often
form the frame for the eventual script.
One or two teaching artists lead each Urban
Writes class. Classroom teachers, however, are
also integral to the experience. They assist artists
and students during the Urban Writes workshops.
They support the completion of Urban Writes
homework and apply information and techniques
from the workshops to other classroom work.
Generally, schools in the Urban Writes program
produce original plays that are given a full production in a festive culminating event. The
young people perform their plays for an audience
usually composed of fellow students, teachers,
school administrators, parents, and invited guests.
The rush of accomplishment and audience appreciation reminds them that in writing about their
lives, they can write their dreams into reality.
Champions of Change. Washington, DC: The Arts Education
Partnership & The President’s Committee on the Arts and
Planning an Arts-Centered School
As a classroom tool, drama in education has the
ability to inspire in students the formidable power
of communication and critical thinking that are
keys to creating strong performers. When most
of us think of the great artists of our time, we
often think of the famous entertainers or the aweinspiring technicians. The truly great artist,
though, is one who has the ability to communicate beyond the mundane, who can make us think
about our own sensibilities, remind us of our
place in the world and our responsibility to it, and
waken us to beauty and illuminate truth.
At the American Place Theatre, we believe edu-
cation through drama strengthens both teachers
and artists as they try to connect the academic
curriculum to students. Our experience with students shows how eager high school students are
to discuss weighty ideas once they observe these
ideas played out on the stage. Moreover, our
artists get a tremendous boost from interacting
with and ultimately transforming a skeptical audience into enthusiastic learners. Drama education
belongs in all classrooms and classes of students
belong in the theater.
Chapter Eleven
Pointers and Pitfalls in Creating a Visual Arts Curriculum
By Emanuelle A. Kihm and Odili Donald Odita
lanners of arts-centered schools, especially
where the visual arts are concerned, need to be
mindful of the needs of time and space, as well as
instructional expertise. They need to understand
that, without a budget for adequate materials and
equipment, their effectiveness is limited.
Students, regardless of age, need time to develop
an idea and determine how to express it; they
need time to consider various options regarding
tools, techniques, and media. From a logistical
standpoint, they need space to work large, that is
to create paintings or drawings on large surfaces,
experimenting with size and scale, as well as with
shape and pattern. Working large also creates the
possibility of working in teams to make a commonly defined visual statement. Ideally, art classes are provided in airy, well-lighted studios that
enable youngsters to make art as well as talk
about it. There needs to be a sink with running
water! Young artists need to work not only with
the traditional tools of 19th century artists, but the
new tools of the 20th and 21st century: computers, power tools, and the like.
Other requirements for a full art program
should include sufficient electric power for a kiln
and space for printmaking equipment and the
development of photographs. Planners need to
consult with professional artists and art educators
regarding what a state-of-the-art learning studio
should contain. Planners should consult the
NAEA Web site,, for
advice regarding establishing and maintaining
outstanding art education programs, including
establishing a safe, toxin-free environment.
Most important, planners have to determine
what kind of art program they want to initiate.
Who should be the beneficiaries? Is it a program
for all students or just those who are art majors,
or is it a two-tiered program, one for everyone,
and one for art majors? What teaching and learning objectives should be stressed? What kind of
scope and sequence of art instruction best reflects
• Define the purpose of art in your school.
• Hire the best instructors, who, in turn, will help
refine courses and other experiences.
• Enable instructors to develop the outlines of
courses, seminars, and experiences that all children
or youth should have in your school, providing
time and money for the purpose.
• Review courses to ensure that they speak to the
purpose of the school.
• Create a schedule of classes that allows enough time
on tasks in studio courses so that the work reflects a
complex thinking process, as well as growing mastery
over tools and materials. Consider such options as
double periods, six day weeks, and block programming; invent new paradigms of instruction.
• Set aside a sufficient budget so that students can
explore wider dimensions of art than that offered
in traditional schools. Include funds for field trips
to local and regional art museums and galleries.
• Incorporate the art resources within the school’s
community. Take trips to local artists’ studios.
Establish a gallery for exhibition not only of student work, but the work of local artists as well.
• Investigate various options and venues in the community and the state capital for exhibiting student
and faculty work.
the philosophy of the school? What should be the
pedagogical foundation for all art class offerings?
Different arts-centered schools have developed
programs that respond to distinctive philosophies.
Consider the following choices (none of which is
exclusive of others):
1. Art as a window on the world: All art instruction
should be geared to exploring how different
civilizations and societies have created and
interpreted visual language to record the values
and narratives of their societies.
Planning an Arts-Centered School
Emanuelle A. Kihm is the founder of the Open Classroom Collaborative
(TOCC), an arts-in-education organization based in New York City. Ms.
Kihm was born and educated through her early school years in
Switzerland. She completed her college education at Bennington College
in Vermont and is currently matriculated for her Master’s in art education
at Florida State University. A co-founder of an arts-in-education organization in New York City, Ms. Kihm has designed numerous programs that
integrate the visual and literary arts with social studies, language arts, science, and math. Open Classroom Collaborative sends professional artists
to schools as resident artists where collaborative projects are developed
that link teachers, students, and artists in a 15- to-20 week process of art
Odili Donald Odita is an internationally renowned and long-time teaching
artist for TOCC. He has gained enthusiastic critical response to his recent
exhibitions in New York City, San Francisco, Ontario, and Johannesburg.
Born in Nigeria and raised in Ohio, Mr. Odita is a professor of art at
Florida State University, where he continues to paint. He follows in the
footsteps of his father, who teaches African art at Ohio State. Mr. Odita is a
graduate of Ohio State University (B.F.A.) and Bennington College
(M.F.A.) and exhibits at the Florence Lynch and Ronald Feldman galleries, among others.
Pointers and Pitfalls in Creating a Visual Arts Curriculum
2. Art as an alternative means of expressing ideas,
feelings, and events: Art as another language of
expression, the domain that best indicates a
kind of intelligence not measured by the traditional instruments of western culture: verbal
and mathematical tests.
3. Art as an entrée to understanding the physical
and cultural world: Art as an expression of the
life and times of past and present societies and
individuals. Art as a way of exploring history,
art as a way of applying knowledge in science
and mathematics.
4. Art education as a preliminary step to developing
a career: Development of techniques and skills
that apply to both commercial and fine art.
5. Art as an opportunity to explore the cultural legacy of one’s own community: Community traditions as expressed in making art.
6. Art as a means of developing literacy:
Coordinating art with reading and writing,
speaking and listening.
7. Art as a means of developing expertise using the
tools of technology: Introducing the art of making and responding to art via information technology, smart tools, and newly fabricated materials.
Sometimes planners will encounter some contradictory goals. Some planners view art education as a noncompetitive sport—in which everyone exhibits and everyone’s work is valued.
Others envision arts as a preparation for the competition of the marketplace and everyone struggles to develop marketable art. Still others view
art as a means of realizing imaginative visions
and as a means of stoking the fires of creativity.
Planners need to work through the various competing goals and develop a consensus that reflects
not only a view of art but also an understanding
of what best fits the students who will be served.
Of course schools need to hire good art teachers
who understand art and are able to teach. What
should arts-centered schools look for when hiring
teachers and teaching artists? Certainly they
should look for those characteristics that are common to all good teachers—enthusiasm, pedagogical expertise, and good time management skills—
but they should also look for artistic expertise,
access to the artistic community, and a commitment to educating new generations of artists and
those who value art created by others. Fortunate
are the art-centered schools that have the opportunity to choose their teachers.
The Curriculum:
Considerations and Pitfalls
What should be taught in the classroom? Children
should have the opportunity to draw, paint, and
work in three dimensions with paper, clay, and
found materials with appropriate tools. The art
program should include a strong component of
computer graphics. We live in a very visual culture, and providing instruction in computer graphics will make the students more literate about
images with which they are bombarded in their
everyday lives. It will also teach them skills that
can be applied to enhance work in other classes.
The visual arts, whether sculpture, painting,
architectural design, or computer graphics, have
to be taught in a way that makes them relevant
and meaningful to students of different ages.
After all, art is a means of expression, and art
teachers should focus on helping students formulate ideas they want to express. Students need to
be introduced to the fundamentals and techniques
of art. They need to be shown what can be done
with certain materials and by manipulating unfamiliar and familiar tools. But the purpose of the
instruction is to help students say something
meaningful, not just to show technical expertise.
Students must be given the opportunity to see
art. Museum trips and gallery visits should be
arranged by the school so that students have a
Planning an Arts-Centered School
chance to see real art, not just reproductions.
Professional artists should be invited to school to
share what it is they do, how they make art, and
why they make it.
It is important that students not develop a
notion that there is a hierarchy of art, with
Western art at the pinnacle. An art curriculum
should integrate styles and traditions from around
the world without signaling that the art of one
culture is more developed or superior to another.
Students need to learn that “different” does not
necessarily mean “better” (or “worse”) and that a
comparison of traditional folkloric art with “court
art” of any culture should not lead to false valuations of one over the other. The art students’ study
should span the world, affording both students
and teachers a chance to compare, contrast, and
analyze within each culture’s aesthetic framework. An art teacher might ask, for example,
“What concepts do we apply to judge Western art
that suggest it is more advanced than art from
other places in the world?” as a provocative art
criticism question. We need to help students discern the subtle ways by which cultural hierarchies
are created and sustained.
For example, we observed an art instructor who
asked first graders to draw African masks as a
form of African sculpture. He had a well structured curriculum: Black and white visuals of
African masks were displayed on the blackboard,
and he encouraged the students to look closely at
the masks to identify patterns. He introduced the
concept of symmetry.
The instructor gave a little introduction (essentially art history) about African sculpture. But
then he said that African masks, like the rest of
African sculpture, are almost always made out of
wood. He was wrong. In Africa we find some of
the earliest and most intricate bronze and metal
sculptures. The Benin people traded their metal
sculptures with the Portuguese even before
Columbus set foot in the United States. So this
teacher, even though his aim was to introduce
African art to the students (during African
American history month), ended up promoting a
prevalent stereotype about Africa as a place that
has only wood around (next deduction could easily be that people in Africa run around in grass
skirts because there is a lot of grass there). We
need to take art instruction much more seriously
and provide teachers (future as well as present)
with strong backgrounds in world art training so
they can produce intelligent, well-educated people.
One final pitfall: In some art-centered schools
there is insufficient emphasis on art making, with
the least amount of time assigned to creative
work. These schools err in thinking that art history and art criticism are more “serious” subjects
than the art making. These people do not understand that art making requires children to think
and to apply concepts and ideas, and gives them
the actual experience of solving problems that are
historic in art.
A fair amount of art instruction should result in
finished products. Good art instruction will allow
children to engage in learning processes that
result in making something of value. An end
product should not be the final goal of art instruction (learning must be the ultimate goal), but the
products will be the results of good art instruction. Special exhibitions should be held of students’ work, where the whole school and parents
come to look at what students have produced.
This will give the students a sense of accomplishment and esteem, and it will allow the school
community and parents to engage in conversation
about art.
Lessons From Experience
If one is to teach art in relation to a theme that is
related to social studies, language arts, math, or
science, one has to take several precautions. First
Pointers and Pitfalls in Creating a Visual Arts Curriculum
of all, the art making should be taught by an
artist-educator, not just a project teacher. Artists
can rely on their inner experiences and use their
years of training in the visual arts to inform their
choice of processes to use. The teaching artist
knows how to break an art-making project into
doable parts, and how to help children or youth
put the parts together to form an aesthetic whole.
They do not need to follow a recipe.
Those of us who are artists and teachers need to
understand how awesome what we are bringing to
the kids is. We have to learn how to communicate with students and know how to speak in a
way that will encourage them to experiment,
despite their fears. We have to learn to provide a
safe way, a controlled way, to be able to proceed
that is structured and progressive and helps young
people learn, step by step.
Teaching helps us keep current with pop culture. We ask kids about what they watch on TV
(wrestling, musicians), and we try to connect their
art-making with something that they care about
outside, something they want to discuss in visual
language. We try to show them a way that they
can do the work, and then our job is to help them
along the way. Part of our job is teaching them to
think like we think (not what we think), to be
open to many different art experiences. If we are
leading a project that relates to a larger theme, we
like to avoid the teacher’s desire to “illustrate” a
theme, but, rather, stay close to the art making
process. We teach the making of an art object that
relates to the theme. We are not about to teach
the theme itself. That is for our classroom
teacher-partner. If the class is studying transportation, and we all decide to teach the children
how to design and build a bridge, our job is to
help kids do that; our teaching partner will
explore the meaning of bridges in history, how
bridges have influenced social and economic
development, how transportation has been
enhanced by the creation of bigger and better
bridges. Our job is to help youngsters design a
beautiful bridge, while learning about many
options bridge designers have at their disposal.
We believe in teaching children the discipline
of art and art making, like the making of bridges
in a city, but not subverting the arts as mere illustration, because then the art really suffers.
There is a kind of myth that students see art as
something far away from them. What we need to
present to them is that art can be done every day.
And while it is in some ways magical, it is not
magic. We need to make it real. If you bring in a
canvas, the kids are often almost afraid to touch it
with brushes. Once they become familiar with
the canvas and how paint works on it, they
become less tentative, bolder, and more imaginative. Sometimes teachers overstress the seriousness of art, and the kids get intimidated, especially as they grow older. Curriculum development is
deceptively easy in art. We tend to teach the same
principles and fundamentals of art all the way
through. Our approaches to the subject become
more rigorous over time, and we introduce more
complex applications over time. But the nature
of art remains the same. It is just a matter of
adjusting the form and style of communication
and understanding.
In art, we note that instructors rarely take the
opportunity to show students “the tricks of the
trade.” Thus, those who think they “can’t draw”
never learn, and the art making process becomes
more and more the province of “the talented.”
We need to share our tricks, and we need to help
students get their hands dirty. Art is a physical
activity, and to practice making art with these
techniques and tools is to encourage kids to find
newer ways to make objects. We want to stress
to our students to believe not only that they can
hold a brush, but also that they have the potential
to do almost anything—if they believe in themselves. In the perfect art school, with great facilities, they need to see the reality of artmaking as
within their grasp.
Planning an Arts-Centered School
We advocate that drawing be the basis of art
instruction, introducing history at the middle or
the end. We want our students to get their hands
working and then begin to think about what other
hands have created. Hands, think, then hands
again: This is what educational psychologists call
going from the concrete to the abstract.
“negative” bad? Is “positive” good? We like to
get students to think about the usual in an unusual
way. We want the students to think about the
value of bringing some objects forward on the
canvas, using what they have learned about negative and positive space, dark and light colors,
overlapping, and other techniques.
The same basic principles apply to a sequential
art curriculum, regardless of the ages of the students. The curriculum should be structured, and
mindful of the need to start with the concrete and
then move to the theoretical, to give kids a
chance to then see in history how others have
tackled an aesthetic problem. The art curriculum
should start with drawing as the basis of artmaking skills. With drawing, one gains control of the
image and develops one’s capacity for observation. We advocate next moving from drawing to
painting, introducing traditional and nontraditional tools and materials. We teach painting as an
extension of drawing, although others might take
exception to this point of view. We want painting
to be understood as of the moment and also full
of time. We want students to see that they can
make a painting in an hour, but that it can exist
and change day to day. The painting becomes a
signpost for culture of a certain moment, a mirror
of the culture. Painting, unlike drawing, is layered, active; it has a life. Paintings are like fingerprints—uniquely the work of the artist.
Finally, observation is absolutely key, the way we
see and make things and understand. Detectives
or doctors approach their work by making careful
observations. They have to be awake to see the
subtle changes that occur. When students look at
people or things and begin to realize that there is
so much information, they need to find the point
where they can engage on both a physical and
mental level.
We want them to visit museums and artists’ studios and see how artists use these concepts in
their own works. Where schools seem to be distant from centers of fine arts, it may be useful to
organize a trip to the nearest cultural center in
order to introduce students to levels of professional art beyond that found in the community.
We also, of course, advocate that students visit
local art where it is exhibited, and understand
about the life of an artist in the community.
It is important to consider the power of the
words we use. For example, positive and negative space is always discussed in an art class. Is
Arts in Education:
Different World Views
In Switzerland, every public school must provide
at least two hours of art instruction a week to its
students. Because it is mandated by the government, schools (whether the principal happens to
like art or not) have to meet certain standards in
art education, and, furthermore, the government
provides necessary funds for art programs,
including money for teacher training as well as
materials. The quality of art instruction is quite
high, although it is often focused on technique
rather than expressive skills.
In the United States, there is more emphasis on
self-expression. There is a certain pressure in this
country to be original and inventive, and this
push can produce some great art. Frequently,
however, the balance between self-expression and
technique can get a little lopsided. Certain skills
are necessary to be creative and inventive, and
lacking fundamentals in technique and skill will
prevent American children from expressing themselves in a satisfying way, translating their ideas
into art. In Switzerland (and Europe in general)
Pointers and Pitfalls in Creating a Visual Arts Curriculum
the focus is much more on respecting art history
and acquiring traditional skills and conventions of
the past. Society is perceived as a collective, and
the focus is on the individual fitting into the
whole. Consequently, much art shows the stu-
Four books that we find very helpful
when preparing for our work with students are: Emphasis Art, by Frank
Wachowiak and Robert D. Clements;
Teaching Meaning in Artmaking, by
Sydney R.Walker; Art and Fear:
Observations on the Perils (and Rewards)
of Artmaking, by David Bayles and Ted
Orland; and ARTWORKS for Elementary
Teachers: Developing Artistic and
Perceptual Awareness, by Donald and
Barbara Herberholz.
dents’ mastery of techniques and skills, but sometimes less “original” ideas.
Another big difference between Switzerland and
the United States is the training and education
required to be a teacher. The requirements are
much more rigorous in Switzerland. To be a
high-school teacher you need (as a minimum
qualification) what would be the equivalent of a
Master’s Degree in the subject you are teaching.
Teachers’ salaries in Switzerland are much higher
compared to here. Teachers in Switzerland are
paid two to three times more than here.
In Nigeria, art instruction is also important but is
seriously hampered by the lack of sufficient materials—from paper and paints to fine arts books
and videotapes of artists and their work. Few
schools are hooked up to the Internet, but those
that are, of course, have access to most of the
museums in the western world. The expense of
running a computer, plus the equipment and software, is daunting, and villages are frequently
reduced to working within the limits of what their
village and the state can afford. Nonetheless, students create work that is complex and incorporates many of the contemporary as well as traditional techniques of artmaking.
We have tried to describe the features that our
various experiences as learners, artists, and teachers tell us make the most powerful and truthful
curriculum in art. We understand that in many
ways we are affirming values that have been promulgated by outstanding art educators for generations. But we also understand, to our regret, that
often our ideas are honored more in the breach
than in the practice. It is our hope that planners of
an art-centered school will pay close attention to
the dangers of a hierarchical curriculum and
encourage a curriculum that embraces the globe
and honors the best of all cultures.
Part III
Making It Work
Chapter Twelve
Planning for Effective
Collaborations with Arts Organizations
By Ellen B. Rudolph
he Surdna Foundation’s National Arts
Program, launched in 1995, focuses on a specific aspect of arts and education: helping teens
create art—in all disciplines—through highimpact, long-term experiences with accomplished,
professional artists. Our funded programs help
contribute to the ability of teens to explore their
own identities and their relationships to the
world. Several kinds of institutions collaborate to
provide teenagers with artistic training in various
venues. At times, artists, as well as students, create works of art.
Surdna is working to increase the quality of
resources and circumstances in which artists and
teens come together. In May 2000, we engaged
the consultant firm Emc.Arts, led by one of its
principals, Richard Evans, to evaluate the design
and impact of our programs. A public version of
the evaluation is available on the Surdna Web
site, The evaluation was intended to be a mid-course look at the design, effectiveness, and impact on young people of extended
art-making experiences with artists of stature.
As part of the evaluation, we asked Emc.Arts to
provide the Surdna staff and board with criteria
for helping practitioners raise the quality of their
work with teens. In response, Emc.Arts prepared
for us a Framework for Effective Programming,
which is described in this chapter. It identifies
fundamental qualities seen in outstanding youth
arts programs for teens, based on interviews, surveys, and site visits with 39 grantees. In addition,
Emc.Arts prepared a Program Self-Assessment
Instrument to assist organizations interested in
raising the quality of their work in the field. For
Surdna, the Instrument was intended to assist
selection and internal reporting, and to help us
learn more about the needs of the field.
Overall, the evaluators found that the best work
“takes a holistic approach to the creative development of young people, combining a search for
significant artistic advancement with purposeful
development of individual life skills.” Soon,
Surdna intends to test the utility of the
Framework and Program Self-Assessment
Instrument. Will their use help us to identify and
encourage the best work? Will applications yield
information that helps us identify the most
promising work? Will their use help us learn
more from grantees in the middle and at the end
of the funding cycle? Will the Framework and
Program Assessment Instrument help guide practitioners to better work? Will it lead to more useful programmatic introspection?
Evaluators found that the best
work “takes a holistic approach
to the creative development of
young people, combining a search
for significant artistic advancement with purposeful development of individual life skills.
If school planners plan to partner with arts
organizations, here are the qualities of good youth
arts programs they might want to consider before
launching a collaboration.
A Framework for Effective Programming
The following framework identifies consistent
fundamental qualities seen in outstanding youth
arts programs for teens. The three sets of guidelines that appear below define vital tiers in the
design of programs: a clear underlying philosophy, implemented through a strong set of programming essentials that inform the mix and
sequencing of activities, and a thoughtful, responsive approach to content and style to fit individual
Planning an Arts-Centered School
Ellen B. Rudolph has provided program and administrative leadership in
education and the arts for over 25 years. Her work often links individual
and institutional arts resources to school and community needs. Currently,
Ms. Rudolph is Program Officer for the Arts for the Surdna Foundation.
Prior to joining Surdna, Ms. Rudolph served as a consultant to various
cultural institutions, foundations, schools, and educational and policy
agencies. Formerly Executive Director of the Cultural Education
Collaborative, Ms. Rudolph also served as Theatre Program Specialist for
the New York State Council for the Arts. She has also served as Executive
Director of ART/NY (formerly the Off Off Broadway Alliance), Program
Director for The ArtsConnection, and as a teacher of high school and college theatre and interdisciplinary courses. Ms. Rudolph earned an M.A. in
Drama at the University of Maryland as well as a certificate in arts
administration from Harvard. She completed her undergraduate work at
Queens College, City University of New York.
Planning for Effective Collaborations with Arts Organizations
The five-point philosophy given below appears
non-negotiable in the development of highly
effective work.
1. The program is central to the overall mission
and vision of the organization and compatible with its institutional culture and ethos;
2. The program maintains high expectations of
students at all times and emphasizes the continual stretching of students into unfamiliar
artistic territory. Measurement of student
“excellence” balances the rate and extent of
individual progress with the achievement of
quality artwork;
3. The program is holistic in its approach to the
creative and expressive development of participants—its design intentionally combines a
commitment to artistic advancement with
recognition of the intended impact on personal growth;
4. The program employs artist-teachers with a
secure professional grasp of their discipline;
work with young people is personally important and they want it to form a significant
aspect of their practice;
5. The program is built on small-group interaction that includes sustained, intimate contact
among students, artists, and staff, and among
students themselves.
If any aspect of this five-point philosophy is compromised, the quality of the program is likely to
fall dramatically. Each aspect of the philosophy
has major practical ramifications:
— Mission and organizational culture: If the
program is episodic, or peripheral to the
mission of the host organization, and operates at a tangent to the dominant internal
culture, it will not be able to provide appropriate opportunities for participants nor garner sufficient resources. The program will
likely wither when funding becomes scarce.
Affirmation of the importance of the program, notably among board members and to
the general public, plays a significant role in
its success.
— High expectations and measures of
progress: If expectations of students are
low, or work is confined to artistically
familiar territory, the creative breakthroughs
seen in high quality work are unlikely, and
program energies will dissipate. Conversely,
if measures of student success are limited
exclusively to either process or product,
rather than a combination of both, the maintenance of absolute standards will either fall
away (too much emphasis on process alone)
or overwhelm the focus of the program (too
much emphasis on the quality of product).
— Holistic approach and attention to life
skills: No matter how powerful a program’s
commitment to artistic growth, if the participants’ need to develop life skills (such as
self-awareness, confidence, self-discipline,
and critical thinking) is not addressed, the
longevity and usefulness of the artistic
learning will tend to be shorter-term and
— Practice of artist-teachers: Employing artists
with an advanced professional understanding
of their art form is essential. But artists also
need the ability to teach. They need flexibility in their approach to groups of teens and a
preparedness to learn and change through
their teaching work. If artists see their teaching as no more than an occasional activity
without roots in their own artistic journey,
their interaction with students is likely to be
relatively shallow. Making use of artistteachers for whom this form of work is integral to their artistic practice enormously
increases program effectiveness.
— Sustained small-group interaction: If a pro-
Planning an Arts-Centered School
gram operates solely through individual
teaching, or fails to be sustained over a reasonable length of time, the processes of
group interaction and student bonding that
are so important to confirming the experience and addressing life skills will be
absent. The bold risk-taking that is needed
for the evolution of individual artistic voices will not develop if the “serious play”
possible in small groups does not exist. In
effective programs, the flexible design of
activities illustrates the careful mix of clear
boundaries with play and risk-taking.
Programming Essentials
If the philosophy above provides the foundation
on which effective programs are built, then certain essential elements in program implementation are equally important in achieving quality
and lasting impact. We identify nine of these,
from a program’s initial conception and preliminary planning through implementation to followup activities. In effective programs, these elements work together to form the appropriate environment for the most creative advancement. We
see the third element, the quality of interaction
that is developed between artists and students, as
the lead strategy in program implementation. The
nine essential elements, or program effectiveness
indicators, are:
1. Extensive planning and monitoring by staff
and artists together to ensure a strategic fit
between artistic leadership, overall goals, and
program activities;
2. A high ratio of teachers to students, allowing
personal attention to each student;
3. Consistent (rather than occasional) work
together, enabling a rich interaction between
artists and students;
4. Artistic literacy fostered by connecting students with art-making and art work outside
the program (peer and professional);
5. A high level of staff support provided by
individuals with sophisticated artistic understanding and advanced people skills;
6. The development of a safe environment that
promotes trust on all sides;
7. Devices to build real student ownership of
the program grounded in the students’ own
8. A careful balance of varied short-term student achievements with coherent long-term
goals; and
9. Means to re-engage with students (after participation in the program) in a variety of
roles where their responsibilities can increase
over time if they desire.
Like the five points of the philosophy, these nine
essential elements are also grounded in reality:
1. Ensuring a continued strategic fit: The development of a productive environment starts
with earnest advance planning between program staff and artist-teachers, aimed at ensuring a common understanding among key personnel around program goals, and appropriate alignment between those goals and proposed activities. It is at this early stage that
program staff can assist artists whose understanding of the work may be poor, or whose
approach may not be fully appropriate (in
some such cases it may be necessary for an
artist’s involvement to be declined). This
work continues during the program, when
monitoring is needed to adjust the match
between artists, students, and the emerging
2. High teacher-student ratio: Distinguished
programs are characterized by an unusually
high ratio of artist-teachers to students. While
the optimal proportion varies by art form and
circumstance, it will generally allow for a
degree of personal attention to each student
Planning for Effective Collaborations with Arts Organizations
that exceeds students’ previous experience.
For participants, this intensification of focus
on their individual work contributes strongly
to generating the raised expectations and
“hothouse” atmosphere that are central to
accelerated creative advancement.
3. Rich and consistent interaction between
artists and students: The heart of outstanding
programs of art-making with experienced
professional artists lies in the quality of the
interaction between the artists and the students. This we see as the core strategy in
highly effective programs. Indeed, the word
“teaching” is scarcely adequate to describe
these relationships. As the work unfolds,
more and more of the personality and inner
life of each student is made available to the
artist, vulnerability increases, and, in situations of mutual trust, an intense fellowship
develops in addressing ideas and aspirations.
Formal guidance is increasingly complemented by informal counseling on many subjects,
and the two-way street that develops in terms
of artistic influence leads on into the wider
relationship. “Mentorship” is probably the
best word to describe the nature of these
artist/student interactions. For many teens, at
an age of extreme emotional sensitivity when
the key impressions that will shape identity
and live in the memory are being seen, heard,
and felt, this relationship is itself the “crystallizing experience” of which Howard Gardner
writes. Its impact can be lifelong.
Visiting artists—the gifted, often wellknown, “occasional” teachers—can have a
powerful impact, but it is short-lived if it is
not complemented by consistent local
engagement with students. The burden of
providing strong and continuous on-site support rests with resident faculty and permanent staff, who maintain the intensity, as well
as flexibility, of a program. Without this,
momentum is typically lost, the close mentoring relationship fails to develop, and students become disinclined to take artistic
4. Fostering artistic literacy: Young people
making real progress in developing their
individual creative voices receive powerful
reinforcement from the opportunity to come
into contact with the process of art-making
by others and its finished results. Experiencing this among their peers as well as with
established professional artists is important.
Program leaders who enable these kinds of
exchange are likely to contribute to the selfconfidence of students as they later complete
their work.
5. Resourceful program staff: No matter how
frequent the interaction between the artistteachers and participants, the role of program
staff is of paramount importance in maintaining an environment that fosters creative
development. These staff members, while
they may not be program directors or actively involved as faculty, are much more than
merely administrators or support staff. Our
nomenclature (“program staff”) does not do
full justice to their critical role. They are
artistically knowledgeable (and frequently
artists themselves), effective educators and
communicators, powerful organizers, and
skilled in relating positively to both young
people and professional artists. They play an
unusually wide-ranging role that is not easily
definable as “teacher,” “facilitator,” or “management.” In Europe, they would be dubbed
“animateurs.” In small programs, this key
role is often played by the resident artistic
leader of the program, who is thus stretched
to cover a particularly extended terrain.
6. A safe environment promoting trust: This
final essential aspect of the work environment complements the accent on intensity of
Planning an Arts-Centered School
learning and the maintenance of high expectations. Alone, these characteristics would be
understandably “scary” to many participants—effective in drawing out high-fliers
who thrive on pressure, but likely to bewilder
and intimidate those who learn best in other
ways. It is therefore crucial to create an
atmosphere of mutual trust and support, in
which the uncertainty and self-questioning
that accompany artistic exploration are not
allowed to undermine self-confidence and
students are encouraged to take risks in discovery. This atmosphere will develop only
where young people also feel physically safe;
achieving this can be especially critical when
it is a quality absent in students’ daily lives.
In the right circumstances, with daily contact
and exciting shared challenges, bonding
among young people in the teen years can be
extraordinarily intense and productive. It can
contribute strongly not only to artistic growth
but to the forging of deep friendships that
long outlast the programs and keep their
impact alive. The bonding phenomenon that
occurs in a safe environment promotes trusting relationships between students and their
artist-teachers, enabling both to take artistic
risks related to both form and content.
7. Student ownership: In creating an atmosphere of mutual trust that fosters student
commitment, outstanding programs pay close
attention to building student ownership of the
program, so that it becomes at least as much
something generated by them as something
done by them. By “ownership” we do not
mean final control over the program, but a
sense of being deeply vested in the program
activities and their outcomes. In highly effective programs this goes far beyond artists and
staff being responsive to student work.
Student involvement is invited for the actual
design of activities, such as individual students directing their peers in their own choreography or string players leading an entire
string ensemble through the interpretation of
a string quartet. Overall, devices to achieve
this sense of ownership vary widely in type
and formality. Student ownership makes a
substantial difference in the quality of a program, recruitment to it, and its impact on participants.
8. Balancing the short- and long-term: The
design and sequencing of the activities need
to be geared toward the accomplishment of
multi-faceted long-term goals articulated by
artists and students. Otherwise, the effect of
the activities will be diffused, and expectations of student creative development will
tend to plateau. However, program design
should also ensure that students accomplish a
sufficient number of short-term achievements
for them (and their peers) to see progress and
for creative momentum to be sustained.
Without reinforcement through periodic
success, morale will naturally fall, and the
intensity of many programs means this can
happen in the course of a single week.
9. Integrated follow-up and student reengagement: Programs of quality acknowledge the importance of integrating student
feedback into the design. Staff provide students with guidance on personal and career
development. Staff also offer opportunities
for past students to re-engage with the program in new capacities. This strategy gives
alumni the benefit of new levels of learning
and, in the long term, also serves to recruit
faculty and staff with experience in and profound sympathy for the program.
Approach to Content and Style
It is in the nature of the medium we are dealing
Planning for Effective Collaborations with Arts Organizations
with—artistic expression—that the body of
knowledge the students acquire has to be filtered
through the aesthetic convictions of each artistteacher. The curriculum, therefore, takes on highly personal qualities reflecting the artist-teacher’s
experience and point of view. Furthermore, this is
not a one-way street. In complex games of creative “call and response,” the artist’s practice
strengthens the student’s own individual artistic
voice. As the programs progress, those individual
voices increasingly become the content of the
programs. In effect, the artist is the curriculum,
and the more students respond to the artist, the
greater likelihood that the student will “change
places” with the artist.
In effect, the artist is the curriculum,
and the more students respond to
the artist, the greater likelihood that
the student will “change places”
with the artist.
Here, therefore, we identify qualities that
should inform the approach to choosing program
content and adopting a style.
As content ideas are established, it is essential
to maintain a nimble, highly responsive approach
to the evolution of the activities. The ability to
change course, to explore an unexpected new
avenue, or to go off on a creative tangent are all
vital challenges to program management. The
judgments needed here to ensure, on the one
hand, that overall program direction is maintained
and, on the other, that fruitful artistic and personal
risks are taken, make the work of the program
staff so demanding and so necessary. By the word
“risk” in this context, we mean choices of program content or style that encourage students to
go beyond merely keeping busy with formulaic
tasks or activities that fail to stretch their artistic
skills. Calculated risk is also needed in addressing
the issues of identity, race, sexuality, family relationships, and social engagement that are often of
profound importance (and profoundly challenging) to young people in their teens. The content of
these programs is the stuff of life itself, including
difficult and demanding personal issues.
1. Be true to the core philosophy and use the
programming essentials in building program
content that genuinely and idiosyncratically
relate to the students’ experiences and the
local situation.
2. Maintain a high level of responsiveness to
unfolding activities day to day.
3. Be flexible in changing course, without losing overall direction.
4. Address challenging artistic, personal, and
social issues as they arise.
It is important to relate the content both to relevant experiences of the students at the current
stage in their lives and to the cultural and community context in which the work is to be carried
out. In the visual arts, this may mean relating the
physical environment of the students’ local communities to people and places they consider special. In choreography and theater, it may mean
exploring life issues and relationships with which
they are dealing and expressing their ideas and
feelings in dance compositions. Even in performing music programs, the student can make effective repertoire choices by including music with
relevant emotional appeal. At the same time, content selection needs to go beyond merely reflecting students’ knowledge of themselves in order to
open up a larger emotional world through their
The Emc.Arts team took the above statements
of belief and created the chart (in Appendix I of
this Handbook) to guide program planners and
evaluators as they check for quality indicators.
Chapter Thirteen
A Prescription for an Effective Dance Program
By Nasha Thomas Schmitt
n November 2001, the Alvin Ailey American
Dance Theater (AAADT) opened its 43rd season in New York. Noted for its inventive, multicultural repertoire, the Company, with Judith
Jamison as artistic director, features world famous
choreographers and an ensemble of dancers second to none. Many current company members
began their dance careers as students in the Ailey
School, a conservatory style dance school, as well
as a place for people who love to take classes to
continue to develop their skills in a professional
atmosphere. Many members of the Ailey
Company are themselves graduates of artscentered schools in such diverse places as New
York, Baltimore, Atlanta, Washington, DC, and
The Ailey School was founded in 1969 by
Alvin Ailey in Brooklyn, New York, with an initial enrollment of 125 students. No account of
the dates, however, can tell the story of the dramatic impact that the school and the company had
on the minds and hearts of the American people.
For, with the establishment of the school, Mr.
Ailey was making a statement that the company
had become the incubator for future professional
African American dancers, as well as dancers
from other ethnic groups. When, in 1970, Mr.
Ailey joined forces with Pearl Lang to establish
the American Dance Center (as it was known
then) in Manhattan, enrollment at the school
increased at a dramatic rate, including youngsters
from the age of six to post-professional dancers
who wanted to keep their bodies and minds in
Today, under the direction of Denise Jefferson,
the Ailey School’s prestigious faculty trains
approximately 3,500 students annually, offering
more than 160 classes weekly. Located in New
Kathleen Isaac reviews dance making instructions with Ailey Campers
working on the meaning behind the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre’s signature
piece, Revelations.
A Prescription for an Effective Dance Program
Nasha Thomas Schmitt gained national and international attention as a
principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater with whom
she danced for 12 years. She performed two of Alvin Ailey’s most famous
ballets, Cry and Pas de Duke, which were originally created for the company’s current artistic director, Judith Jamison, and Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Ms. Thomas Schmitt has had extensive experience as an educator (she currently teaches modern dance at the Professional Performing Arts High
School) and administrator of dance education programs for Alvin Ailey
Dance Foundation. She has taught master classes at various universities
throughout the U.S. and Europe. Ms. Thomas Schmitt is a graduate of the
New York High School of the Performing Arts and Southern Methodist
University. A 1980 recipient of the prestigious Presidential Scholar of the
Arts award, Ms. Thomas Schmitt is currently Director of Arts in Education
Programs for the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, and artistic director of a
young showcase company of dancers created by Foundation. In addition to
overseeing numerous school residencies in the New York area, she is
National Director of Ailey Camp, a summer dance program for middleschool youngsters residing in some of the nation’s largest cities.
Planning an Arts-Centered School
York City’s Lincoln Center area, the Ailey School
houses nine spacious studios, student and faculty
lounges, dressing rooms, a library, an Ailey boutique, and administrative offices. Students are
drawn from every part of the world, representing
a diversity of racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Unique among dance academies, the School
offers a comprehensive curriculum, including ballet, Dunham (Afro-Caribbean), Graham-based
modern, Horton, jazz, and tap. The School
rounds out its curriculum with classes at the
barre, body conditioning, yoga, partnering, repertory workshops, repertory and performance,
music improvisation, dance composition, dance
history, and theater arts. Guided by the belief that
An arts-centered school allows adequate time and space for rehearsal.
Students fuse expression with technique as they rehearse for their
final performance of the season.
dance instruction should be made available to
everyone, the School has designed a number of
programs that offer professional training at all
In addition to the Ailey School, the Alvin Ailey
Dance Foundation runs a year-round Arts in
Education program that includes lecture demonstrations for students in school auditoriums and
residencies, where Ailey dancers work with
youngsters to understand aspects of American history through various styles of dance, with particular emphasis on the Ailey Company repertoire. In
addition, the Foundation sponsors Ailey Camps—
rigorous, multifaceted summer dance programs
for inner-city children enrolled in middle schools.
Ailey Camps have been established in Kansas
City, MO; New York City; Bridgeport, CT;
Chicago; Boston; and Berkeley, CA, where the
Ailey presence is punctuated by tours of the first
and second companies.
In 1995, the Ailey School and the Professional
Performing Arts School (PPAS), a public, artscentered school in New York City’s District 2,
formed a unique partnership in which the Ailey
School provides the school’s entire dance program. Seventy-five middle and high school
dance majors at this New York City public arts
magnet school take dance classes with Ailey faculty, in addition to studying the required secondary school curriculum with Board of
Education teachers. This program fits into one of
the Ailey School’s missions of making diversified
dance training of the highest caliber accessible to
pre-professional and other students who ordinarily would not be able to afford classes.
As with many arts-centered schools, PPAS
attracts two kinds of students: those who love the
arts but only flirt with the notion of turning professional, and those who are determined to prepare for careers in the arts. The Ailey organization, therefore, provides PPAS with two kinds of
dance strands: one for students who love to
dance avocationally and the other for those who
plan to make careers as dancers. The Arts in
Education Department of the Alvin Ailey Dance
Foundation supervises the former and the Ailey
School supervises the latter.
A Prescription for an Effective Dance Program
With our extensive experience teaching youngsters, both in our studios and at various school
sites, we have learned a lot about teaching and
learning, as well as how to work in partnership
with cooperating teachers and administrators. We
have identified what we think are the critical conditions needed to be in place in order to make a
difference in young people’s lives, whether they
are pre-professionals or simply interested in dancing for personal pleasure.
For those considering the creation of a rigorous,
popular dance education program, the next sections describe some conditions that we suggest
are necessary in order to ensure successful learning for children and youth.
One of the most important elements needed to
begin and maintain any type of successful program is a strong commitment to the work from all
parties involved. Dance teachers need to commit
themselves not only to the talented few, but to the
enthusiastic many. Because they have a tremendous influence on their students, they should
demonstrate the same kind of professional commitment that is expected of their students.
Students need to commit to the hard work and
long hours required in order to make an artistic
presentation. This is not easy, because, as students grow older, their interests in things social
and academic sometimes clash with their commitment to dance. Our dance teachers try to help
students find a balance among competing interests.
Commitment to the work involves observing
certain basic rules on Ailey turf as well as school
turf. Ground rules regarding student behavior,
class participation, and attendance are discussed
between students and teacher, and, when necessary, parents are informed. It is the job of faculty
to maintain an atmosphere where the rules are
observed consistently, to the point where they are
integrated into each student’s habits of mind and
Both the Ailey School and the Arts in Education
program look for teachers who can establish and
maintain a trusting relationship with their students. Trust is enormously important and helps
create a positive and productive work environment. We also look for teachers who can establish and maintain open and positive communication with their students. We like instructors who
know how to praise the student’s hard work and
encourage improvement. Instructors should have
state certification or at least ten years of professional experience performing and teaching.
Instructors should know about the physiology as
well as the aesthetics of dance, and they need to
know what is appropriate for the various developmental stages that children go through. When
working in partnership with public schools, dance
instructors should know and have experience
using the National Standards for Dance as a guide
to their planned studio sessions.
Recruitment, Application,
and Screening Process
The Ailey organization is involved with recruitment for a variety of programs ranging from its
own Dance School, to programs run in partnership with public schools (such as PPAS), to programs run in partnership with Ailey Camp sponsors. We have found that our best recruitment
process begins with a full performance or dance
lecture-demonstration aimed at potential applicants where they are found: in school auditoriums
or at after-school programs. Watching a performance, youngsters develop a sense of what all the
training leads to. They see young dancers striving
for perfection. Inevitably, there are young people
who make themselves known who want to sign
up for dance class immediately!
Planning an Arts-Centered School
We distribute written material about our programs that explains the purpose of the Ailey
School and its dance program or Ailey Camp and
describes how the audition process will be conducted. Printed materials that accompany the
application indicate what children should wear for
an audition and how long the audition will take.
Information also includes how children will be
evaluated for entry into the school.
Any formal application to an arts-centered
school should require:
• Student transcripts;
• Information regarding prior training; and
• A short essay on why they want to study
The reason for transcripts is obvious. It helps
staff to determine program placement if they
know about prior training. And a short essay
gives some further indication of a child’s motivation, personality, and command of English, which
may also be helpful in class placement.
Screening dance students during the admission
process will allow the staff to see the students’
proficiency in dance and their level of concentration and ability to work and can give insight into
possible instructional or behavioral problems.
Most important, staff will be able to measure students’ growth and development in dance through-
out their careers at the school, using the audition
notes as a baseline for making later comparisons.
We at Ailey believe that students should learn the
basics in all dance techniques. Concentration at
this age should be on posture, body placement,
increasing student capacity to focus, and coordination. We prefer classes no larger than 20 students. Similarly, we think the ideal class period
should be one hour in length, including time for
youngsters to dress and re-dress before and after
formal instruction.
We believe that ballet is the base technique for
all dancers, and all dancers in a pre-professional
track must master the basics. In addition, we
advocate classes in modern, jazz, and creative
movement. We want our students to understand
and articulate the similarities between the various
dance forms and know the scope of dance history
in the United States and other parts of the world.
We ask our instructors to challenge students to
develop both their cognitive and physical skills,
as well as to express emotional content through
the creative process. The goal should be for them
to reach their maximum potential intellectually
and artistically.
Regarding what is appropriate content for
dancers by grade, we think the following schedule of classes works well:
Techniques in Sequence
Grades 5-6
Modern (Horton or Limon)
Creative Movement
Grades 7-8
Modern (Horton or Graham)
Dance History or
Grades 9-12
Modern (Horton or Graham)
Dance History or
* add in grade 8 (alternate per school term)
A Prescription for an Effective Dance Program
Part of every dance class is ongoing attention to
matters of personal hygiene. Most schools do not
have shower facilities, so we like requiring each
student to have a personal hygiene kit containing
powder, deodorant, soap, and shampoo that can
be used at a sink if a shower is not available.
Where there are showers, we like to plan a schedule of classes that includes an adequate time for
post-class washing up before going to other destinations.
In order to provide a good balance between the
academic and dance scheduling of classes in an
arts-centered school, we advocate placement of
academic classes in the mornings and dance
classes in the afternoon or vice-versa so there is a
consistency of activity day by day. Two samples
of schedules of a student’s typical week are
included in the appendix of this book. (See
Appendix I.)
Class Attire
What children wear for dance can contribute to an
esprit de corps in the school. We think that when
a different color leotard distinguishes each grade,
the morale of each group is affected positively.
The children can build up a group identity where
everyone is responsible for everyone else in the
group. Separation of grades by color helps to differentiate classes while promoting responsibility
and creating a look of an orderly environment.
We have found that local corporations are often
helpful when it comes to purchasing dance outfits
for students who cannot afford a complete set of
clothes and shoes. Uniform dance outfits also
encourage kids to separate dance clothes from
regular school clothes or even gym uniforms. By
providing dance attire to Ailey students, we avoid
problems related to economic disabilities.
Everyone looks like a dancer.
The ideal set-up would be to have several spaces
for dance classes as well as a space for dance performances. While we can provide that ideal in
the Ailey School, we recognize that public
schools are not usually that well-endowed. We
do feel that it is essential that schools offering
dance as a featured aspect of the curriculum
should set aside an appropriate space for a dance
• Dance studios (one or two) need to be
equipped with ballet barres, mirrors, and a
marley (sprung) floor to avoid injuries.
• Dressing rooms are needed (one for boys, one
for girls) with lockers to store personal
• An auditorium with a stage would be the most
practical space for performances. However,
either the gym or cafeteria with a proper
sprung floor could also be suitable.
Parental Involvement
We try to hold semi-annual parent-teacher conferences and parent observation sessions of students
Class Attire
Grade 5
Leotard (black)
Tights (pink/suntan)
Ballet slippers (pink)
Grade 6
Leotard (burgundy)
Tights (pink/suntan)
Ballet slippers (pink)
Grade 7
Leotard (navy)
Tights (pink/suntan)
Ballet slippers (pink)
Jazz shoes (black)
Grade 8
Leotard (green)
Tights (pink/suntan)
Ballet slippers (pink)
Jazz shoes (black)
Planning an Arts-Centered School
in their dance classes. Parents should be prepped
by dance instructors regarding what the students
are learning, how classes are conducted, and what
they can do at home to support the program.
Parent meetings need to be scheduled to accommodate the availability of those who work during
the day. Sometimes it may be necessary to have
two meetings—one during the day and one in the
early evening. If a parent meeting includes a student recital, there is a better chance it will be
Evaluation and Assessment
Whether the dance program is designed to prepare students for conservatory or simply as a
means to enhance the public or private school
curriculum, care needs to be taken to ensure that
the promises inherent in the program are delivered. Our programs are regularly monitored by
staff to ensure quality. Periodically, we undergo a
comprehensive evaluation process where we
engage an outside evaluator to assess program
elements and processes as well as records of student achievement. With positive evaluation
results, we can disseminate convincing information regarding the impact of the program on the
young people we serve. The results are also helpful as we make our case for further funding from
our supporters.
Ailey dance education programs are costly.
Fortunately, we have a network of supportive corporations and foundations who help us defray
tuition or underwrite the cost of residencies in
schools. Seeking funds is a non-stop process, and
the Ailey Foundation has an extensive development department that prepares proposals and
scouts out new sources of support. Consequently,
there is no money barrier for children and youth
who wish to pursue the joy of dance.
Chapter Fourteen
A Museum Educator’s Perspective on
School Partnerships
by Radiah Harper
hat makes a partnership work? Successful
partnerships between schools and cultural
institutions are really about building relationships
between teachers and museum educators, and
between museum administrators and school
administrators, as equal partners in developing
on-site and off-site activities. If we think of the
relationship like an algebraic expression (invested
school administration + dynamic museum leadership x planning and reflective time = good
partnership in education), it is clear that the
administrative teams on both sides must fully
support and approve the partnership by providing
time and money, enabling committed teachers and
museum staff to work together to enhance what
children are learning in the classroom.
Establishing a Partnership:
A Matter of Relationships
Partnerships are sometimes formed at the behest
of museums searching for effective ways to serve
their communities. Sometimes they are initiated
by schools that are eager to enhance the teaching
of academic subjects through contact with museum collections. Frequently, museums look for
partners in their continuous search for grants to
support their education departments. Regardless
of the origin of the idea, a successful partnership
Invested school administration +
dynamic museum leadership x
planning and reflective time =
good partnership in education.
depends upon the quality of the relationships
established for planning and implementing longterm, mutually satisfying activities. Years of
involvement with partnerships have encouraged
my own reflection regarding what elements contribute to the best partnerships. Certainly, the
school administration needs to consider who best
can make the most of a museum-school partnership. Should all the teachers of a grade, or who
teach the same subject, be required to participate
in a school-museum partnership? What does a
museum do with the reluctant teacher? What if a
teacher “sits out” when the class is working with
museum staff? Some schools have problems
determining who will participate in a schoolmuseum collaboration and at what level of
involvement. Planners of an arts-centered school
that features partnerships with museums need to
formulate priorities in order to forge a relevant
and lasting bond.
One of the most difficult considerations has to
do with whether the partnership should involve
all teachers or only those who are interested in
working with the museum. Clearly, if only the
interested teachers are involved, students in other
classes will not be served. Is this fair? Yet, is it
not a waste of time and money to provide
resources for a teacher who disdains the project?
How collaborative should the work with a
museum be? Part of the answer depends upon
whether the museum-studies program—as, for
example, at the Heritage School in New York (see
Chapter Seventeen) or the museum-centered
school in Yonkers, New York—is the focus of the
total curriculum design. In that case, the collaborative process would call for all hands on the
planning deck. Partnerships are more likely to
thrive when those who will work intensively with
museum staff have the opportunity to help determine the details of the program.
If an arts-centered school includes collaborations with a museum, it may be that an interested
and excited teacher will seek out or respond to a
particular museum initiative. It is common for
that first teacher to help drive the project and
become the de facto link with museum staff. He
or she is looking for a creative way to reach the
students and links up with the museum educator
to try out new and different approaches to learn-
Planning an Arts-Centered School
Radiah Harper has been involved with cultural institutions for over 20
years as an artist and educator. A graduate of Marymount College (B.A.
in Fine Art) in Tarrytown, NY, and Bank Street College of Education (M.S.
in Education: Museum Leadership) in New York City, she was most recently Deputy Director for Program and Education of the Museum for African
Art in New York. Previous assignments include posts as Executive
Director of the Museum of African American Art, Tampa, Fl, and Director
of Program, Historic Hudson Valley, Tarrytown, NY. Ms. Harper is currently consulting with the Center for Art and Spirituality in International
Development, Chicago, IL. and the Sierra Leone Gift of Limbs Coalition
in New York.
A Museum Educator’s Perspective on School Partnerships
ing. Each appreciates what the other has to offer.
They will be in constant communication with each
other in the early stages, meeting to plan lessons,
tours, and activities while keeping administrators
abreast of the progress. The principal, whose prior
approval is assumed, will need to facilitate continuous planning and evaluating of the program by
providing release time or per-session payment for
teachers to meet with their museum counterparts.
An enthusiastic teacher can show colleagues how
the partnership enriches classroom instruction and
recruit others to join in the partnership. If the program proves to be effective, there is usually an
opportunity to expand it to serve more teachers
and more classes.
Planners of arts-centered schools need strong
relationships with museums. Art programs cannot
flourish without time spent studying art in its own
frames. Students need first-hand encounters with
both the traditions of art and the iconoclasm that
is part of art’s history. Students of theater, dance,
and music need art museums in order to expand
their knowledge base and to see that art is rarely
created in a vacuum.
Many museums collect artifacts of the performing arts as well as the visual arts, and, more and
more, contemporary and traditional art museums
are also sites for performances during and after
school hours. Museums with specialties other than
art are found all over the country, paying homage
to different collections such as Rock ‘n Roll (in
Cleveland), the Underground Railway (in
Cincinnati), and dolls (The Museum of the City of
New York). The National Music Museum, when
opened, will enable Washington, DC’s schoolchildren, and children hooked up by virtue of distance
learning, to engage in various activities that help
make the collections work for them. Planners will
want to consult the Web site for the Institute of
Museum and Library Services, a
government agency that provides grants and technical assistance to its constituencies.
Building a school-museum partnership is different
from the usual method of museum operation.
Oftentimes, the museum educator develops a
school program that relates to the museum’s mission and exhibitions. The museum educator will
take the national and local learning standards into
consideration, but he or she usually invents programs without benefit of any school-based
teacher’s expertise. This method allows more
children to experience the museum in a costeffective, less labor-intensive manner. While the
result can be a valuable experience for the students, going about it in this way may leave the
teacher less invested in the experience. Consequently, the museum visit may be an isolated
experience that may or may not have lasting
While every school may not be able to afford a
Planners of arts-centered schools
need strong relationships with
museums. Art programs cannot
flourish without time spent studying art in its own frames.
partnership, for arts-centered schools such a relationship, it seems to me, is essential. The museum
needs to work over an extended period of time to
create a program that supports the arts-centered
curriculum. This means finding the wherewithal
for teachers and museum staff to work together
during the summer or after school for a semester
planning and creating instructional materials and
processes. The planning team may target one
grade level that will make multiple visits to the
museum. The goal may be to start small and build
numbers over time. While fewer children may be
Planning an Arts-Centered School
served in the short run, these students get more
time at the museum and benefit from a working
relationship with an artist or other adult. Some
students may discover new skills, gain new
knowledge, or see options for career development
they did not know existed.
Typical activities that can result from good
planning and budgeting include the following:
• Mentoring relationships, where individual, or
small groups, of students meet periodically
with a curator or museum educator to develop
a project of consequence.
• Job shadowing, where students interested in
working in a museum actually trail behind
museum employees in order to learn what the
day-to-day responsibilities and routines are.
• Seminars, where selected high school students
meet at the museum for a credit-conferring
seminar in which exploration of a particular
topic is enriched by the study of real objects.
• Studio sessions, where guest artists affiliated
with the museum offer instruction related to
their work.
• Seminars, for teachers to explore the collection or special exhibition prior to students
coming to the museum.
Teachers, upon seeing the results, may be
inspired to rewrite lesson plans that include the
exploration of ideas that the museum can amplify.
With greater enthusiasm and training, they can
encourage other teachers to use the museum as a
What Can Get in the Way
Unscheduled meetings, crisis management, or a
change in the school day can keep the dedicated
teacher away from planned partnership activities.
Teachers may be pulled in different directions by
competing needs at school. They may feel overburdened because administrators ask them to take
on new or more important projects. The museum
staff has to hang in there, leave room in the
schedule to accommodate changes, and hope to
see the teacher at the next scheduled visit. The
main goal here is to not let the partnership slip
away. Each side has to be willing to go the extra
mile to coordinate another meeting and experience for the kids. Perhaps some classroom work
could be added to keep the students plugged in.
Keeping the funding going ensures the life of
the partnership, too. Teachers and museum staff
can envision the duration of the project and plan
accordingly. Assuming the project is innovative
and supported by both sides, the museum can
write proposals for grants to seek additional fund-
The main goal here is to not let the
partnership slip away. Each side
has to be willing to go the extra
mile to coordinate another
meeting and experience for the
ing. It becomes an issue when teachers cannot
plan trips to coincide with planned lessons
because board of education budgets are not in
place or monies dry up. The planning team
should anticipate such possibilities and not be discouraged when they occur.
Successful Partnerships
Sometimes partnerships are with schools; sometimes partnerships, too, are with individual students outside the usual boundaries of schools.
These partnerships usually evolve from initiatives
between a museum and a school, but go far
beyond original expectations. Long-term commitments by artists, museums, and educators
seem to have a lasting impact on teachers and students. Some examples of long-term relationships
A Museum Educator’s Perspective on School Partnerships
• The YAYA’S (Young Aspirations/Young Artists,
Inc.) in New Orleans. This is an after-school
program that has grown into a not-for-profit
organization. This program evolved out of
collaboration between a commercial art magnet high school and an inspired artist.
• The deYoung Museum Junior Docent
Program, in San Francisco. Kids from various
communities are paid during the summer and
taught by museum staff to research the collections, learn about art history, and present
information to the public. The following year,
the students come back to teach other students.
• The Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, NY.
Some years ago, a museum-school partnership
was created when the Yonkers school district
was trying to reorganize its schools to achieve
racial integration and improve academic performance. Bank Street College, the Hudson
River Museum, and one of the district’s middle schools formed a partnership to integrate
and write a science curriculum, using the
museum’s planetarium as a resource. Several
years later, the Hudson River Museum is still
used daily by students for either on-site class
instruction or as a resource to individual students in science, art, and the humanities.
• Historic Hudson Valley and the New Rochelle
and White Plains Schools. Prior to the establishment of the New York State Council for
the Arts’ Arts Education (NYSCA) initiatives,
Historic Hudson Valley, an organization that
owns several historic sites, was invited by the
Council to develop a collaborative model with
schools from two Westchester school districts.
With NYSCA funding, the museum and the
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (2002). Museum as Catalyst for
Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Beginning a Conversation. p. 41.
schools demonstrated how planning, implementation, and evaluation elements could
serve to broaden and deepen youngsters’
understanding of American history. That
model, which involved the creation of a summer institute for teachers and museum staff,
developed written curriculum guides with the
help of curatorial staff and teachers. Artists
trained to role-play various events in the history of the families whose estates provided the
primary resources for the project, and the collaboration set the pattern for many other
museum-school partnerships.
These types of partnerships exemplify the possibilities of what adults can develop to help children learn. By engaging with cultural institutions
on a regular basis, the education of school children is greatly enhanced.
Planners of arts-centered schools may want to
take the advice proffered by participants in a
recent conference sponsored by the Museum
Loan Network at the Massachusetts University of
Technology. Their insights were included in conference proceedings published by MIT.1
Once the work of collaboration gets under way,
it is crucial to have a nurturing manager to keep
the work fruitful and engaging, as well as on
track. A number of elements can help make it
prosper as well, including:
• A communications system that can accommodate—and welcome—the new ideas that
inevitably evolve (an e-journal was suggested);
• A timetable with dates for meetings, deliverables, and the like;
• Written agreements that describe roles, duties,
and contributions of the partners, as well as a
process for reconciling differences;
Planning an Arts-Centered School
• Consistent communication (it was said you
simply cannot overdo it);
• Documentation of all face-to-face meetings,
training sessions, and tutorials to prepare participants;
• Pats on the back and frequent celebrations (to
“keep the romance alive”); and, not least,
• Follow-up meetings to note lessons learned
(which should never, they urged, be called a
Their advice can serve as a compass to ensure
productive collaboration.
Chapter Fifteen
A Parent’s Perspective on the Needs of
Students, Parents, and the Community
by Leticia Barnes
istrict of Columbia parents need schools that
are hospitable places for their children to
learn to express themselves through the arts.
Currently, most DC public schools offer children
only one 45-minute session a week in art and
music. There are few if any chances to learn a
musical instrument, or participate in choral
singing, or take advantage of many of the other
components of an arts education. We parents
understand that enhanced cognitive skills and
improved self-esteem are only two of the benefits
of music and art in our children’s lives. We want
our children to experience the self-discovery and
transformation that is created by participation in
and study of music and art, and the life-long
learning process that it stimulates. Unfortunately,
the District of Columbia provides few opportunities for young public school children to develop
their talents and gifts in the performing or visual
arts. Moreover, schools rarely provide children
with access to an interdisciplinary arts education
integrated within a strong academic curriculum.
What we need is a school that serves kids who
march to a different drummer, who see something
An arts-centered school committed to enriching the lives of children of all skill levels and economic and cultural backgrounds
is urgently needed in the
extraordinary in the ordinary and need the tools to
express themselves through music, dance, or
drama. These children, whether they have developed talents or are just plain interested in the arts,
should be given an opportunity to learn a curricu-
lum that pulls together strong academics and a
wonderful education in the arts.
We need a school that will provide a nurturing
environment for artistically gifted students. These
youngsters need a place to share experiences with
kids just like them. They need adults who can
identify latent talents and expand existing talents
in an environment where talent can be fully
appreciated and developed.
We would like to point with pride to a DC
school that functions as a national model school
and showcases its commitment to children. We
want a school that enables kids to tap into their
multiple intelligences through the study of music,
dance, theater, and media. We want a place
where DC’s rich mix of exceptional teachers and
artists, museums, theaters, and art galleries could
provide an example to parents and educators
around the country.
An arts-centered school committed to enriching
the lives of children of all skill levels and economic and cultural backgrounds is urgently needed in the District. This school could also help
address the wide gap of lower test scores and segregation in certain wards of the District. In partnership with the National Music Museum, this
school could put DC on the map as it demonstrates educational excellence in and through the
Speaking of the Museum, what an opportunity
awaits youngsters who can interact with the great
collections of instruments, music, film, video, and
historical material that will be housed there.
What an opportunity to combine museum curators
with classroom teachers on an ongoing basis in
service to children! A partnership with the
Museum could expose youngsters to unimagined
career options as well.
Planning an Arts-Centered School
Leticia Barnes is Marketing Manager for The Dana Press, the publishing
arm of the Dana Foundation and the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives.
She has worked for the Dana Foundation since 1994 and is a longtime
resident of the District’s Southeast section. Ms. Barnes has three children
who have attended public schools in the District, and she has been actively involved with PTAs, school boards, and the recruitment of minority students. Although she writes from her perspective as a Washington parent,
she speaks for the approximately 95 percent of parents nationwide who
value the arts as an important part of their children’s education, as the
most recent survey conducted by Americans for the Arts reveals.
Originally presented as a plea for a performing arts school to fit the
requirements of the National Music Museum, this essay has been slightly
revised to reflect the need for an arts-centered school that embraces all
the arts disciplines.
A Parent’s Perspective on the Needs of Students, Parents, and the Community
The District includes youngsters from a wide
variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds. This
school could provide a common language of artistic enterprise to unite such a diverse student body.
And it could provide access to those who are not
now afforded the opportunity to thrive in a strong
education program. This school could present an
opportunity for dynamic social change as children
come together to weave culture, music, and art
into their regular diet of reading, writing, and
There is a need to invigorate classroom teaching by using the arts to enliven and enhance basic
curriculum in language arts, social studies, math,
and science. The current emphasis on raising test
scores plays a role in the elimination of opportunities for participation of the arts in the classroom. However, if given the opportunity to study
and perform in an arts field, children could gain
new confidence that would help them overcome
academic obstacles.
There is need for a school that particularly
addresses the middle school population—perhaps
starting with a middle school and adding a year
downward each year. This school could also be a
1. See Chapter 2 describing the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, a four-year high
school founded in DC by Peggy Cooper Cafritz and a dynamic planning committee
composed of educators and artists.
possible “feeder” or prep school for Ellington
High School for the Arts.1 Research suggests that
literacy improves when tied to the arts. We need
to capitalize on that finding and make sure that
the programs offered at the middle school help
children achieve higher levels of literacy.
The District’s lack of parental involvement
might also be addressed with such a school.
Those parents involved in the planning and
implementation of programs are certain of one
thing: parents will come if their children are performing. It never fails.
It is important that parents participate in the
planning of any new school by joining committees and workgroups; their job will be to provide
advice and questions regarding both academic
and arts programs. They need also to ensure that
a fair and equitable system of recruitment, application, and admission is devised, recognizing that
while many may apply, only a few may be
accepted. They need to ensure that the Museum
and the model school will have the potential of
reaching out to many thousands of students in DC
and elsewhere.
Chapter Sixteen
A Teacher’s Perspective on Life in an
Arts-Centered Elementary School
by Lois Olshan
estled among private homes with modest
front lawns and small apartment houses in
Forest Hills, in the borough of Queens, P.S. 144
looks like a typical suburban neighborhood red
brick school. It is a short school bus ride from
New York City’s Flushing Meadow Park, where
the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs were located.
Some of the borough’s most important cultural
institutions are also situated there, as well as the
U.S. Tennis Center, where the U.S. Open is
played each year. The cost of Queens housing
ranges from millions of dollars to a few hundred
for subsidized apartments for the poorest among
us. As the fastest growing borough in New York
City, Queens is the destination of young New
York families seeking reasonable housing. It is
also the borough with the highest percentage of
immigrant families, especially from Asia and the
Middle East.
Our standardized test scores are
among the highest in Queens and in
New York City as a whole.
P.S. 144 comprises students from many nations
and many religions, who speak many languages.
It serves 630 students in pre-kindergarten through
sixth grade. In comparison to many other
schools, P.S.144 has a stable population; almost
80 percent of the youngsters have been in the
school for at least three years. At last count, we
have 714 general education students and 101 special education students of whom approximately
30 percent are white and the rest are Hispanic,
Black, or Asian. Twenty-five percent of our students receive lunch subsidies.
The school has more students than the building
was expected to serve, but the friendly atmos1. An evaluation of the first five years of NYCPAE grants was conducted by
the Center for Children and Technology. An executive summary is available on the Center for Arts Education’s Web site,
phere in the school, with its enthusiastic staff and
active Parent-Teacher Association, makes up for
the discomfort caused by crowding. The collegial
environment has made it possible to accommodate the kinds of schoolwide projects that
enhance our students’ education and make P.S.
144 a special place. Our standardized test scores
are among the highest in Queens and in New
York City as a whole.
At our school, the arts—music, art, dance, and
drama—are as important as every other subject
taught. Moreover, the arts function as a unifying
thread bringing together an understanding of science, math, and the humanities.
I have coordinated all project activities related
to our New York Partner in Arts Education
(NYCPAE) Annenberg Arts challenge grant for
the past five years. In fact, I was on the proposal
committee and helped draft the original request
for funds from the Center for Arts Education, the
re-granting agency for the “Annenbergs.” My
work has brought me in contact with many other
Annenberg grantees, and I have observed that the
most effective partnerships that emerged and
endured were those with a strong voice from
teachers as well as from the artists associated
with the partner organizations. The very best programs demonstrated a strong lateral leadership
from all partner organizations, reflecting the
vision, expertise, and resolve of the practitioners
and less from the bureaucrats. The evaluation
report on the Center for Arts Education’s first
five-year grant cycle confirms my observations.1
As a classroom teacher, gifted students specialist, and arts coordinator, I have found that the
teacher’s role is the key to the successful implementation of innovative educational models.
However, in most cases, teachers are excluded at
the planning level of most educational reform ini-
A Teacher’s Perspective on Life in an Arts-Centered Elementary School
Lois Olshan is the coordinator of arts education at P.S. 144 in Queens, NY.
She is also a teacher of the gifted and talented students enrolled there in a
special pull-out program that involves an arts enhanced curriculum. A
graduate of the University of Bridgeport (CT), Ms. Olshan received her
M.A. from Brooklyn College. She has both a fine arts and business background and has initiated numerous cultural partnerships over the past ten
years. Ms. Olshan began her teaching in the Ocean Hill Brownsville experimental district. Most recently she coordinated the Annenberg Grant program at 144, which is administered citywide by the Center for Arts
Planning an Arts-Centered School
tiatives, despite being able to recognize “pie in
the sky” proposals, questionable pedagogy,
impossibly delineated goals, and political pandering to outside constituents. They will also fight
for good programs. Without input from teachers,
the stakeholders on the front line, many ambitious
projects are doomed from the start.
A distinction should be made
between accepting a prefabricated program and developing programs in partnership. In a prefabricated program, the dominant
party owns the program and provides a “teacher-proof” series of
experiences at the pleasure of
the principal and head of the arts
organization. If the service provided is appreciated, everyone is
happy. In a partnership, all parties—artists, teachers, and often
children—help design the implementation of the service. They
all have a stake in its success.
Currently, and in spite of recent budget cuts, we
have active partnerships with four institutions
located within Flushing Meadow Park:
• Queens Museum of Art, with which we have a
three-day artist in residence project connecting the New York Panorama, Tiffany Exhibit,
and several temporary exhibitions with existing curricula;
• Queens Theatre in the Park, where we provide
extensive professional development activities
addressing integration of the arts and literacy;
• New York Hall of Science, where teachers
learn to link science and art with special pro-
jects and advanced technology such as distance learning; and
• Queens Council on the Arts, which offers us a
variety of programs and experiences with their
roster of artists in schools.
All of the programs developed with the above
organizations were designed with extensive
teacher input. This meant that the principal had
to provide release time for teachers to sit with
museum liaisons during school time. We know
that in some schools planning was done after
school, with personnel paid from the grant for
their time. But in our school, teachers preferred
to meet during prep periods combined with a
class session. No one wanted students to lose
instruction so we had a very special substitute
teacher, recently retired from the school, who
would “cover” teachers and maintain the instructional flow while the classroom teachers planned.
One of the inspirations behind our comprehensive arts in education program was Sharon
Vatsky, then Education Director of the Queens
Museum in Flushing Meadow Park. When
exploring potential partnerships, I met with
Sharon, who said that she wanted to encourage
museums in the park to work together. She and I
were both interested in creating an interdisciplinary curriculum that was community based. I
knew that, if we we worked together, we could
make important community connections and help
Queens be more viable in terms of a place for
cultural activities. If you live in New York City,
you don’t necessarily think of Queens as a place
to go for culture. But, in fact, there are many
things there. Honestly, there are, besides the airports!
Twenty years of designing and implementing
arts in education programs have provided many
lessons regarding how schools can best work
effectively in partnerships with cultural organizations. A distinction should be made between
A Teacher’s Perspective on Life in an Arts-Centered Elementary School
accepting a prefabricated program and developing
programs in partnership. In a prefabricated program, the dominant party owns the program and
provides a “teacher-proof” series of experiences
at the pleasure of the principal and head of the
arts organization. If the service provided is
appreciated, everyone is happy. If not, one
endures the service and soon it is over, soon to be
forgotten. In a partnership, all parties—artists,
teachers, and often children—help design the
implementation of the service. They all have a
stake in its success. If the result is successful,
everyone benefits, and appetites are whetted for
the next partnership opportunity. If the result is
less than successful, everyone tries to figure out
how to make the next try more effective.
Partnerships, while harder to maintain, yield a
better long-term program for both children and
Partnerships in Action
In partnerships between arts organizations and
schools, the two key players are usually the education directors at the arts entity and the in-school
arts education coordinator. These two are the primary expediters who generally design the critical
details of a program. They need regular input and
feedback from colleagues representing the various
segments that make up the school community.
Their contributions are usually made at periodic
planning meetings, to which are invited volunteered classroom teachers, arts specialists, parents, administrators, and artists designated by cultural organizations to sit in periodically. In our
school, we meet as a whole committee once every
two months. At that time, we look at what we
have accomplished, what we need to do, and who
will follow up on recommendations. We always
serve lunch!
A working relationship must also exist between
the principal and the education director or, if the
arts institution is small, the CEO. The principal
needs to establish a flexible schedule that can
accommodate planning, evaluation, team teaching, and field trips. The CEO needs to ensure
that the cultural institution is open to new ways of
dealing with exhibitions and is child-friendly
without being patronizing. If the principal does
not make meetings, and always appoints a representative, it suggests that there is not a top-down
model of agreement regarding the importance of
the arts. Here, the relationship is one of mutual
respect laced with both partners’ desires to
remove any bureaucratic barriers to a successful
The most important relationship is between the
teacher and the person who is assigned by the
partner to team with him or her. The teaching
artist (sometimes referred to as artist-in-residence) is a regular part of the school community
at P.S. 144. Here is where the partnership is
implemented, where real service takes place,
where adults model mutually respectful behavior,
and where children have the opportunity to relate
to not one adult, but two or more, in the process
of making art.
A lot of words have been written about collaboration between teacher and artist, but sometimes
the practice strays from the theory. Teachers need
time with their partner artists to invent what will
be offered to students. They need to develop the
scenario of classroom sessions together until a
regular rhythm of class work takes over.
Teachers need to feel that they can suggest modifications of an artist’s teaching design without
offending the artist. They need to feel free to say
“no,” just as the artist needs to reject an idea that
is out of his or her expertise. Teachers have a
good sense of what is appropriate for their students to do in their quest for new skills, ideas,
and knowledge. Artists have a good idea of what
works with kids, but sometimes misapprehensions
and “old artist tales” limit their otherwise fertile
Planning an Arts-Centered School
Creative Collaborations
When the schools and arts organizations represented by teachers, artists, parents, and administrators have equal opportunities to articulate and
negotiate ideas, a model of leadership can emerge
that entitles every player to have a say. Creative
collaborations emerge when each partner works
from its institutional strength. For example, we
found that when we work with the Queens
Museum, we start by trying to find a connection
between an actual or future exhibition and the
mandated curriculum or learning standard—and
this is easier than it sounds. However, this is in
direct opposition to many museum education programs that have nothing to do with current exhibitions and focus on themes not represented in
their viewing spaces. We all know museum programs that year in, year out, offer the same menu
of programs, regardless of what is going on there.
We wanted something more dynamic for our children.
Parents need to be brought into a collaborative
Parents need to be brought into
a collaborative relationship with
the school and the cultural institution, and not just on a token
relationship with the school and the cultural institution, and not just on a token basis. Parents
understand the needs of the twenty-four hour
child whose life extends beyond the limits of the
school day. Parents also provide support,
resources, and advocacy essential in the creation
of a new educational paradigm. It may turn out,
as it has at P.S.144, that one or more parents have
very specific services to offer. We have had the
good fortune of having the volunteer services of a
parent-artist with background in special education. While committed to staying home with her
preschool child, she was still able to offer special
classes in collaboration with the special education
teacher that engaged the children in a variety of
arts-making activities beyond the scope of the
regular teacher. Her kindergartener was delighted
to see his mom working with other kids on
Another important potential partner may be
found in the local business community. Small
and large businesses may offer financial support,
extending the budgetary capacity of a partnership.
This may mean more or better materials, or
opportunities to buy more artist time for instruction or professional development. Sometimes the
business can offer promotional expertise when it
is time to launch a public relations campaign on
behalf of arts education. We have had a lot of
help from the bank where we keep our school
account and from the deli that caters our lunch
meetings. And both are happy to display our
children’s work in their windows.
Together, all of these constituencies can build
on the strengths of each other and move from little prefabricated programs to a comprehensive
schoolwide process of interrelated partnerships.
We have recently started thinking about contemporary art, because contemporary art is perfect in terms of being accessible to children and
helping to make art interesting and easier to converse about. So this was one area that was not
A Teacher’s Perspective on Life in an Arts-Centered Elementary School
used by children because teachers who use that
museum tend to focus instead on the panorama
Professional Development
The term professional development describes
various efforts to educate or train teaching staff
on the job. The goal of effective professional
development is to address issues such as a new
curriculum (like the new math standards), a different kind of pedagogy (like conflict resolution),
or new regulations (like how to deal with suspected child abuse). Planners may want to keep
the following set of principles, developed at the
U.S. Department of Education,3 for a template as
they plot out their professional development program:
According to the U.S. Department of
Education, the most promising practices related
to professional development focus on teachers as
central to student learning, yet include all other
members of the school community. They focus
on individual, collegial, and organizational
improvement. In addition, the best practitioners
respect and nurture the intellectual and leadership capacities of teachers, principals, and others
in the school community. They reflect the best
available research and practice in teaching, learning, and leadership; enable teachers to develop
further expertise in subject content, teaching
strategies, uses of technologies, and other essential elements in teaching to high standards; and
promote continuous inquiry and improvement in
the daily life of schools. Moreover, they are
planned collaboratively by those who will participate in and facilitate that development. They
require substantial time and other resources and
2.The panorama of New York City, a scaled-down view of every feature of the city—buildings, waterways, streets, parks, etc.—is a special feature of the Queens Museum. It is a popular destination and
sometimes overshadows the permanent art collection and special
3. Promising Practices: New Ways to Improve Teacher Quality, US
Department of Education. September 1998.
are driven by a coherent and long-term plan.
Finally, they are evaluated on the basis of their
impact on teacher effectiveness and student
learning, and this assessment guides subsequent
professional development efforts.
In a school dedicated to enriching the curriculum with arts activities, professional development becomes the vehicle wherein teaching
artists and classroom teachers can design effective units of instruction that will be delivered
jointly. Artists and teachers can collaborate most
effectively when each acknowledges the skills of
Staff development cannot be “in
place” and static. It needs to pulse
gently in tune with the lives of professionals and the organizations in
which they work.
the other and when each shares information that
the other can use. Sometimes the lead is taken
by the artist; at other times, a professional development session may be led by a teacher. The
artists have skill and expertise in their particular
art forms; the teachers have knowledge of curriculum, childhood development, and classroom
management. Meanwhile, school administrators
keep watch over compliance with city, state, and
federal educational guidelines and attend to
building management and logistical issues.
Among the teaching artists at P.S. 144 is usually a poet from Teachers & Writers Collaborative.
She will offer teachers a series of sessions on
writing poetry, using many of the techniques she
4. Staff Development/Organization Development.
Betty Dillon-Peterson, Ed. (1981). Association for
Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Planning an Arts-Centered School
uses when teaching children. Recently, she met
for a two-hour session with classroom teachers
during one of our Staff Development Days. She
literally taught the teachers as if they were her
regular students, and, within the given period of
Using the arts, teachers help children create connections and discover meaningful links to other
subjects and disciplines. The children learn concepts as well as
skills and learn that they can
apply what they know in new
areas of knowledge.
time, she had teachers marveling at their own
ability to write creditable poetry. She based her
lesson on a long passage from Walt Whitman’s I
Hear America Singing. Using a few motivational
tricks of her trade, she had everyone writing original poems, reading them to each other, and critiquing each other’s work. In the process, the
teachers learned something about writing poetry
and reacquainted themselves with what it is like
to be a learner.
In P.S. 144, our science teacher collaborated
with an artist from one of our arts partners, LEAP
(Learning through an Expanded Art Program).
The artist, a designer, helped children create
“Tiffany Lamps” after they visited the Tiffany
lamp collection on display at the Queens
Museum. They studied the typical and unusual
motifs used at the Tiffany Studio. The science
teacher helped the children understand the basics
of electricity, and, together, the teacher and artist
helped each child make a lamp, learning how to
connect the various wires, bulbs, and switches.
The artist helped each child create a beautiful
lampshade, incorporating decorative elements
typical of Tiffany Studios, on rice paper. Each
child’s lamp was a work of art, and each child
also demonstrated, orally and in writing, the principle of the closed circuit.
Professional development sessions can be used
to help teachers create arts-based interdisciplinary
units. We have found that when teachers themselves develop and then teach these units, students thrive. Using the arts, teachers help children create connections and discover meaningful
links to other subjects and disciplines. The children learn concepts as well as skills and learn that
they can apply what they know in new areas of
knowledge. The expansive nature of this model
can generate countless combinations of disciplines that enhance the learning experiences of
students. The conceptual connections take thinking beyond the facts and facilitate a deep understanding and transfer of knowledge. In other
words, the arts construct meaning for students. An
arts-infused education helps children create (and
ultimately understand) metaphors as a means of
explaining ideas. When asked to represent what
they have learned in history, geography, or literature through dance or drama, for example, children gain experience in representing ideas and
events with a point of view, humanizing learning
in the process. As children acquire greater skill
in dance, drama, and music, their opportunities to
compose and create expand, as does their enthusiasm for learning. Their learning is connected to
action, to establishing themselves as knowledgeable people. They also gain an opportunity to
think about what they have learned and how they
can teach it to others. In order to realize the
promise of an arts-infused curriculum, however,
schools need to partner with appropriate arts and
cultural organizations. The organizations add to
the pool of expertise available to children. The
partnerships allow teachers to team-teach with
A Teacher’s Perspective on Life in an Arts-Centered Elementary School
professional artists. Through professional development activities in partnership with arts organizations, teachers and artists expand their capacity
to teach well.
For teachers and artists to make the most of the
possibilities of an arts-centered curriculum, they
need to function as partners, and the school needs
to provide well-ordered opportunities for professional development. There needs to be support
for the partnership from staff as well as the principal, and the same goes for any arts or cultural
organization that hopes to be a partner with the
school. Partnerships take a great deal of time to
develop to their highest form. That is why multiyear grants to support planning, training,
research, and pilot programs are so valuable. The
rewards are great and worth all the time and trouble it takes to make them work.
Chapter Seventeen
Finding the Money for a School Focused on the Arts
by Lauren Katzowitz and Susan Cahn, Ph.D.
ow can private sources help build schools
dedicated to the arts?
The foundation’s typical grants are in the $25,000
to $50,000 range.
What role can and should they play compared
to public sources? How can investments from
this sector buttress general operating support in a
way that allows some risk-taking? How can
designers and administrators of schools build confidence in their enterprise on the part of potential
funders? How can funding partners help leadership and administration best apply their resources
to their clearest vision while maintaining flexibility, nourishing creativity, and cleaving to their
organizational identity and purpose? How can
these partners, together, improve quality and create organizational capacity to achieve their mutual goals? How shall the project be held accountable?
The School
On behalf of the Hughes Foundation, we recently
helped to secure funding for the Heritage School,
an unusual New York City public school that uses
the arts to educate all students in all disciplines.
We worked with the sponsoring organization
seeking the funds to shape a proposal that embodied both the vision for the school and the mission
of the foundation. In contrast, we have had to
deny requests for funding that solicit funds simply because the school is a great idea or does
good works. Successful funding requests, in
other words, are targeted directly at the mission
and guidelines of a particular funding source, its
staff and governing boards. They are not scattershot, and, to the extent possible, they are not
developed independently of contact with the
funding source staff.
Shaping the Proposal:
1. Matching the Vision
The Hughes Foundation has a strong commitment
to improving public education in urban areas and
across the nation. Its interest in the Heritage
School, a collaboration between the New York
City Board of Education and Teachers College of
Columbia University, was first piqued when
Arthur Levine, president of Teachers College,
described the vision behind the school at the
foundation’s June 2000 board meeting.3 That
vision—of the arts as the means to improved education—is Judith Burton’s. Dr. Burton, a faculty
member at Teachers College, sees a return of the
arts to public schools as a means of restoring
quality education. She believes that a school in
These are some of the questions to consider
before setting out in search of funds for your
school. In this brief essay, we will try to describe
how one foundation and one burgeoning school
program created a match that served both their
purposes. Moreover, it allowed the parties to
engage in a productive relationship that helped
ensure the program’s future when unforeseen circumstances drove the original plan off course.
The Private Source
The Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation,
Inc., is a family foundation established in memory of the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
and dedicated to support of programs that
improve education, including legal education;
provide legal aid; combat prejudice; protect the
environment; and promote and protect the arts
and culture. Applicants must bring to the foundation programs of national scope or importance.1,2
1.These purposes are known as the foundation’s mission. The restrictions are part of the foundation’s guidelines.
2. Such information about potential funding sources can be found in
Foundation Center libraries and in their research materials, on foundation Web sites, and in their publications. It is particularly important, when consulting these, to ascertain how the source prefers to
be approached, i.e., with a short letter of inquiry, a full proposal or
whether unsolicited applications are not accepted at all. Awareness of
and respect for such criteria and restrictions will make your search
more efficient and effective.
3. Dr. Levine had been invited to address the board on the subject of
needs of public school systems in urban areas; Teachers College was
known to the board in that it had received a previous grant from the
Finding the Money for a School Focused on the Arts
Lauren Katzowitz is Secretary of the Charles Evans Hughes Memorial
Foundation, Inc., and Executive Director of Foundation Service, a management organization for private foundations,. She is also a consultant to
various philanthropies. A graduate of Brandeis University and the
Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, she is a member
of the Professional Advisory Committee of the Metropolitan Museum of
Susan Cahn is Program Officer for Education for the Charles Evans
Hughes Memorial Foundation, Inc., and other clients of Foundation
Service. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Prior to
joining the foundation, she taught at the university and secondary-school
levels and published articles on diverse subjects. She continues to offer
assistance to organizations seeking to improve the education available to
young people.
Planning an Arts-Centered School
which the arts are “indigenous” and where culture
forms the context for all learning will be a school
in which students learn not only academic skills
and knowledge but also compassion, community,
and the desire to keep on learning. Such a
school, she argues, will be a model others can follow to revitalize and enhance their own schools.
Central to her vision is the thorough incorporation of the arts into every curriculum area. By
1997, Dr. Burton had persuaded the New York
Successful funding requests are targeted directly at the mission and
guidelines of a particular funding
source, its staff and governing
City Board of Education and the Manhattan
Superintendent of High Schools to open the
Heritage School, a secondary school encompassing grades 9 through 12, located in East Harlem.
The Heritage School would use the New York
State-mandated secondary school curriculum but
infuse that curriculum with the arts. To match the
vision behind the Heritage School to the foundation’s mission required focusing on the school’s
model aspects: how what was done and learned at
the school could be used by other schools.
Following a fall visit to the school by the foundation’s program officer for education, executive
director, and one board member who had heard
Dr. Levine speak, the program officer and the
development officer assigned by Teachers College
worked together to shape a proposal to the foundation.
2. Funding Request
Although the Heritage School is a demonstration
project of Teachers College, it is also a New York
City public school and, as such, is funded by the
city’s Board of Education. Like many foundations, the Hughes Foundation was clear that it
would not–– could not—assume costs that were
appropriately paid by the Board, including administration, teaching staff, and materials. But, the
foundation wondered, were there additional costs
involved in making sure that the arts formed the
context for all learning at the school and, equally
important, that the effort would be successful?
During their fall 2000 visit to the school, the
foundation staff began to discuss these costs with
Dr. Burton, the school principal, and the assistant
principal, to assess the progress of the school.
The foundation’s visits to the Heritage School
amply demonstrated that the arts did, indeed,
form the backdrop for much of its activity.
Although arts classes per se were as rare during
the school day as in other New York City public
high schools—that is, very rare—the walls were
ablaze with student creations, and curriculum
units clearly showed the infusion of the arts.
Discussion revealed that the entire school—teachers and students—left their building en masse to
visit museums or other cultural sites at least six
times a year, and these visits were being integrated into the standard New York State secondary
course curricula.
To arrange these institutional visits and to
ensure their integration into coursework—that is,
that the visits were adequately prepared for and
followed up—the school had engaged a “museum
coordinator.” The museum coordinator also
worked with faculty to help them develop interdisciplinary lessons using the arts. This position
was not paid for by the Board of Education, but it
was, the school believed, essential to its success.
Subject-area teachers rarely have the time, the
skill, or the knowledge—much less all three—to
plan such visits and work with their colleagues
Finding the Money for a School Focused on the Arts
across various disciplines to ensure the best use
of such off-site opportunities. The museum coordinator, a graduate student in art education at
Teachers College, did have all three, and, in addition, she had connections to the museum world.
Previously, her position had been covered by a
grant that was now going to be redirected to general operating support. By stepping in to help
Teachers College support the coordinator position, the foundation believed it could fulfill its
goal of improving public education without supplanting public funds.
3. Aligning Goals
To achieve success, Dr. Burton maintained, the
Heritage School needed a museum coordinator
and it had found one with extraordinary qualifications. Yet, the foundation’s mission was not simply to improve the education of a small number
of students in East Harlem, but to improve public
education more generally.
During a site visit, the foundation staff watched
the museum coordinator model a class for a 10th
grade English teacher. They asked faculty about
their responses to the museum coordinator’s work
and discussed with the museum coordinator her
objectives. The program officer then discussed
with the school and Teachers College ways in
which the museum coordinator’s work could be
used to benefit other students across the nation.
They decided that the work the museum coordinator did—assembling interdisciplinary units
based on the arts—could be of use to faculty
everywhere. If the museum coordinator documented her work in a manual of arts-oriented,
interdisciplinary lesson plans for typical secondary school curricula, this manual could help
many more teachers—who may also lack time,
skill, or knowledge—incorporate other subjects
and the arts into their own lessons. Moreover,
everyone quickly realized, this manual would be
of value to the school itself: Instead of reinvent-
ing the interdisciplinary wheel each time a
teacher left, the manual would enable the curriculum to be used for many years. At the foundation’s suggestion, Teachers College agreed that
the museum coordinator would produce the manual as part of her responsibilities under the foundation grant.
Teachers College submitted its proposal in
February 2001 for the June 2001 board meeting.
The requested proposal was for funding to hire a
museum coordinator who would schedule and
plan museum and other cultural visits, work with
subject teachers to prepare interdisciplinary, artsbased curriculum units, and document his or her
activities, producing a manual of these tasks. This
could then be used by high school teachers across
the nation to enhance their instruction and persuade educators and administrators of the value of
establishing a museum coordinator position. The
proposal thus embodied the vision of the school
and the mission of the foundation.
At the suggestion of foundation staff, the
College requested two years’ funding for the position in order to ensure adequate time for the work
to be completed. And, demonstrating its own
commitment, the College offered to absorb 15
percent of the cost of the museum coordinator’s
salary and all indirect costs. The two-year grant,
approved by the board subsequently, enabled all
parties to feel confident that the project could
continue without a “chase” for second-year support while the work was just getting off the
4. Building a Relationship and Confronting
the Unforeseen
New and “edgy” ideas like the Heritage School
sometimes have trouble getting funding. An arts
school for those with no special interest in art?
An arts school with no special arts classes? An
arts school that does not specially select its students on the basis of talent? Before the founda-
Planning an Arts-Centered School
tion staff could recommend funding the request,
they had to have some assurance that the idea was
working. Here is another instance where the site
visits helped. In the course of the visits, the program officer saw the school, met with students
and faculty, and imbibed some of the school’s
atmosphere. Even if you are looking for funding
before you have a site to show, meetings with the
individual responsible for “selling” your vision
can help in communicating it further and developing confidence in you, your ideas, your organization, and its capacity to implement your program.
At the site visits, the program officer asked
bluntly about the school’s progress and success.
She had researched the school and knew that its
first years had been shaky. There were serious
attendance and disciplinary problems, faculty had
turned over rapidly, and test scores were low.
Visiting the school, she saw how these problems
now were being overcome. Heritage leadership
and staff were candid in acknowledging the difficulties and describing both successes and failures.
Addressing them forthrightly fostered a relationship of trust. Without this relationship, the discussions among the school, Teachers College, and
the foundation about expanding the role of the
museum coordinator to align the school and foundation’s visions might not have occurred or might
have ended differently.
Several months after the foundation’s award,
the highly qualified coordinator received an
advantageous job offer elsewhere and notified the
school she would be leaving. Teachers College
immediately contacted foundation staff to discuss
the situation. In this conversation, Teachers
College disclosed that the school was considering
reconfiguring the position and asked for permission to use the funds for the same purpose, but in
a different way from that originally proposed.
Again, the openness and trust paid off. The program officer offered to consider redirecting some
of the allocated funds. She asked for a clear jus-
tification of the proposed changes, information on
the new candidates for the position, and assurance
that the manual for which the foundation had
called would be produced. On receipt of these,
the foundation approved the budget and personnel
changes, confident that the school would effectively use the funds for the purpose intended.
5. Evaluating the Grant
Funding sources have different ways of seeking
accountability for their grants, from informal visits to the site to complex research projects. The
Hughes Foundation will rely on site visits to the
Heritage School, analysis of school attendance,
standardized test scores, graduation rates, applications trends, teacher turnover, college placement
data, and the production of the manual, in addition to the narrative and financial reports to the
foundation. At this writing, the initial reports are
extremely positive: Standardized test scores are
up, teacher turnover is down, and graduation rates
are good.
Preparing for Your New Venture
If you are preparing to launch a new arts school,
you are undoubtedly already thinking outside the
box of a traditional educational institution.
One useful resource in furthering your planning
is the recently released summary report on a
series of ten colloquia convened by the National
Endowment for the Arts in November 2000. This
Reassessment of Support for Arts Organization
Resources summarizes significant discussion on
entrepreneurial strategies and the role of arts
organizations in the community. The potential of
technology and related policy questions are also
discussed, and there is important material on
human resources—including staff, boards, leadership development and training, intergenerational
knowledge transfer, organizational life cycles, the
culture of arts organizations, and new trends in
philanthropy. An addendum entitled “A Place
That Is Yours: The Challenge of Facilities
Finding the Money for a School Focused on the Arts
Development,” may also be helpful. The summary report, which includes an informative bibliography of books and articles, case studies, and Web
sites, can be found at
or ordered in printed form from the NEA at
Accessing Private Funds to
Help Build Your School
If you are ready to begin writing your proposal,
we remind you of the importance of a welldrafted submission. For suggestions on format,
consult the Web sites of your local Regional
Associations of Grantmakers. One useful model,
known as the New York Common Application
Form, can be found at, the site of
the New York Regional Association of
Make sure your application is complete, comprehensive, clear, concise, and correct. The Edna
McConnell Clark Foundation’s Web site,, has useful information on avoiding unclear language and jargon. Make sure the
project can function now and in the future. And,
most important, satisfy yourself that your idea is
sound, the project’s leadership is superior, and the
organization you create has the underlying fiscal
strength and human resource capacity to fulfill
your bold dream.
Chapter Eighteen
Options for Evaluating an Arts-Centered School
by Carol Fineberg
lanners of a new school need to think about
evaluation and assessment, just as they consider target populations, program elements,
schedules, faculty assignments, and facilities
requirements. By considering evaluation and
assessment issues early in the planning process,
planners can budget for practices that include hiring evaluation consultants, purchasing evaluation
instruments such as tests and surveys, and training staff in collection and interpretation of evaluative data. Dozens of questions must be addressed
as the planning process evolves.
Educational evaluation is sometimes referred to
as ongoing (“formative”) or conclusive (“summative”). Formative evaluation tends to look at
programs and students during the course of the
school year to ascertain what is working and what
needs adjustment. Conclusive or summative
evaluation generally leads school authorities to
make certain kinds of policy decisions. Decisions
might be dire, such as whether students are promoted to the next level and whether program elements should be kept or withdrawn.
Running a school without a
thorough and efficient process of
evaluation and assessment is irresponsible and, in most states,
Planners will find it useful to distinguish evaluation—the practice of collecting and analyzing
evidence showing how programs are functioning—with assessment—the practice of analyzing
evidence to ascertain how much and to what
extent learners are acquiring knowledge, skills,
and insights as a result of the planned curriculum.
The lines between the two practices are inescapably blurry, however, as any interpretation of proBiographical information on Carol Fineberg may be found on page 65.
gram information inevitably relies, in part, on
information about how students are doing.
As planners develop an arts-centered school,
they need to think about a myriad of questions
and ensure that responses emerge from a defensible evaluation and assessment system that
responds to them persuasively. Too often evaluation and assessment are considered burdensome
interruptions of “real teaching and learning,” and
practitioners sometimes try to avoid evaluation
requirements until the very end of a project year.
In fact, without evaluation and assessment in
place, there will be only haphazard ways of
knowing what is happening both programmatically and in regard to student achievement. Valuable
information will vanish without being acted upon.
Running a school without a thorough and efficient process of evaluation and assessment is irresponsible and, in most states, illegal.
Options and Alternatives
Certain kinds of practices are mandated in any
public school. Other practices are optional and,
in some cases, are alternatives to required practices. Planners need to look at what is required
by state and local education agencies and what
options are available to institute additional or
alternative practices. Planners need to establish a
timetable for evaluation and assessment processes
that incorporates both mandated and optional
practices, and they need to share their evaluation/assessment plans with all members of the
school community: teachers, parents, board members, students, and others.
External evaluators—usually experts in the
field of evaluation and knowledgeable about the
nature and content of the school curriculum—are
frequently asked to design a plan that is aligned
with the school’s goals and objectives, including
Options for Evaluating an Arts-Centered School
a variety of methods for gaining a true understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the
school’s programs. Sometimes evaluators are
selected from approved lists or recommendations
from the state. Other times, word of mouth is
used to identify evaluators. Most universities with
schools of education or schools of the arts can
provide evaluators. Whatever method is used to
identify potential evaluators, we strongly suggest
to our clients not only to interview prospective
candidates but also to review their past evaluation
documents to get a general idea of what kinds of
written reports they deliver.
Essential components of any assessment plan
include setting rigorous academic and arts standards, measuring student progress against those
standards, and holding students and educators
accountable for meeting them. Assessment procedures need to be appropriate, fair, and userfriendly and not get in the way of the instructional program. Most program evaluation plans ask
for information about student learning in their
quest for evidence regarding whether the programs are working. In an arts-centered school,
the process of evaluation is highly complex and
somewhat subjective, so it is important that, in
evaluating the signposts of artistic excellence, the
school hires evaluators with high standards and
appropriate expectations regarding the good, the
bad, and the unacceptable.
Some evaluative processes are exclusively in
the principal’s domain: staff evaluations are conducted only by principals or their legally designated representatives, such as department chairs
or assistant or vice principals. The oversight of
standardized testing is also managed by the principal as the agent of the Board of Education.
Evaluators usually rely on the results of statemandated standardized tests as the basis for analyzing student growth in academic domains.
Analysis of confidential student data should
always be done in a manner that protects children’s identities.
It is a common misunderstanding to think that
distributing an evaluation or feedback sheet constitutes evaluation. While such a practice is useful, it is only one element in the evaluation
process. Other practices include interviews
(group and individual) of teachers, artists, students, and parents and review of student work
over time with a panel composed of teachers,
artists, and students, protecting the identities of
those whose work is reviewed. It is common to
ask students and teachers to keep logs where
reflections on the program can be entered from
time to time. We find that analyses of logs and
journals are usually frustrating, since there is a
tendency to neglect these processes somewhere
along the program timeline. The evaluator is then
left with very incomplete data on which to rest a
conclusion. Good evaluators try to use, for example, checklists, as they observe students in a class
session or teaching artists temporarily in residence at the school. The checklist helps to structure conclusions from observations in a coherent
manner and allows for comparisons over time.
Other evaluation practices include developing
questionnaires or tests for participants to complete. While the questionnaires elicit subjective
responses to program elements, tests can help
determine what children or teachers have actually
learned as a result of the program.
The past decade saw a major effort at codifying
what children nationwide should know and be
able to do, grade by grade. Publications that
summarize these standards are noted in Appendix
II of this book. Standards describe what students
should know and be able to do in the core academic subjects at each grade level, including the
arts. They hint at levels of acceptable proficiency,
but, in fact, proficiency levels vary from state to
state. Content standards describe with varying
Planning an Arts-Centered School
degrees of specificity the body of knowledge that
all students should possess. Performance standards try to distinguish the level of demonstrated
proficiency that would be rated as advanced, proficient, below basic, or at some other performance
level. Sometimes, performance is rated with a 3to 5-point scale frequently referred to as a
“rubric.” The trick in using scales or rubrics is to
find agreement among raters regarding what each
point along the scale means. There is a spotty
trend to rate student demonstrations of knowledge
and skill with a rubric, but, at this writing, there
are problems using this procedure without incorporating other substantial information about students’ knowledge and skills. Rating student exhibitions and presentations is very tricky and
requires both expertise and extensive time on the
task. Sometimes raters observe students at work
using a standards-aligned checklist. This practice
is frequently referred to as authentic assessment.
When we are consulting for a school on assessment, we recommend that a combination of data
be collected for evaluative and assessment purposes using traditional methods as well as some
of the newer practices.
Designing Evaluation and Assessment
We encourage our clients to take certain steps as
the plan for the school evolves:
1. Hire an expert whose responsibility will be to
create an evaluation and assessment system.
This person should serve in tandem with the
school administration and whatever oversight
committee is in place. The evaluator should
be able to develop appropriate procedures for
checking both program elements and student
achievement. The evaluator, if not expert in
both educational and artistic standards,
should be encouraged to add members to his
or her team for the creation of balanced,
informed judgments.
2. Define the benchmarks against which outcomes will be measured.
3. Present the plan to the whole planning and
oversight teams so that everyone has an
opportunity to critique and endorse it and
accepts his or her role in collecting and interpreting data.
4. At the appropriate time, initiate long-term
training of faculty in collection and analysis
of authentic assessment data.
5. Include program and assessment information
as background in the process of teacher
supervision and evaluation.
Planners need to schedule appropriate blocks of
time for staff and students to participate in evaluation activities. One of the greatest failures of
most “invented schools” is in this area. The evaluation activities are identified, everyone knows
what to do, but no time is set aside to do the
work. Only advance planning will enable a proper ongoing evaluation to take place.
The evaluation expert needs to be on board as
soon as the formal planning process begins and
should participate as a full member of the evaluation team.
Assessing Artistic Achievement
Arts-centered schools must pay special attention
to standards of artistic development. Students
need to engage in the kinds of activities that challenge their most creative efforts and also assist in
the development of high levels of proficiency.
School supervisors and teachers also need to pay
attention to the artistic activities related to an artsintegrated curriculum as well as studio classes.
For schools that are concerned with developing
young professionals and who steer students
toward colleges and careers in the arts, the implementation of a rigorous and artistically satisfying
curriculum is crucial. One of the important parts
Options for Evaluating an Arts-Centered School
of evaluation is setting up a system for evaluating
that curriculum as well as the instructional practices that implement it. Moreover, the system
must include an assessment process for determining student progress toward professional standards in music, art, dance, and drama.
Integrated arts schools must attend to the quality of artistic teaching and learning, even though
the arts are used as “enhancers” of understanding.
They must insist that the artistic learning be rigorous and aesthetically exemplary. This means that
the standards for performances and workshops
provided by professional artists must be demanding. Children should be helped to create “good
art” and not just learn to “illustrate” their academic subjects (see Chapter 11 by Kihm and Odita for
further discussion). Evaluators would be expected to judge the suitability of art-making processes
that children engage in just as they would in a
pre-professional program.
Obviously, what is needed in order to obtain a
fair assessment is a fair system of ratings.
Assessment panels are ubiquitous in the arts,
whether at a local or state arts council meeting
where applications are reviewed, or at a meeting
of jurors about to vote on the year’s awards in
drama, dance, musical composition, or literature.
The panels that are fairest in judging student performance are those composed of experts in that
field who agree on what ratings mean. They
agree on what constitutes a continuum that tracks
a student’s journey from novice to master.
Naturally, panelists must not be tainted by preju-
dice against or favoritism toward those they
judge. Any evaluation design must make sure
that the panel reflects the diversity of the student
body being judged.
“Performance assessment,” a term used extensively in evaluation literature, should not be difficult for members of the arts faculty, since artistic
achievement begat many of the current performance assessment practices. Auditions are a
form of assessment, as are critical reviews.
Artistry in dance, music, and theater are all consistently subject to someone’s assessment,
whether it is that of a critic, a juror, or a producer.
Jurors sometimes use rating sheets with objectively stated criteria; sometimes they just use their
experience and taste to determine what’s good,
mediocre, or magnificent. It would be an interesting assignment to collect whatever criteria
exist for awards such as the Pulitzer Prize, Nobel
Prize, Tonys, Emmys, and Academy Awards and
see how they could be adapted for student
demonstrations of proficiency.
Planners would profit from understanding the
advantages and dangers of the most popular
assessment techniques. The chart at the end of
this article summarizes this.
Evaluation and Assessment Resources
Appendix II contains a comprehensive list of
resources (books, Web sites, articles, etc.) that
should assist planners in deciphering some of the
practices and consequences of evaluation and
Planning an Arts-Centered School
Analysis of Evaluation/Assessment Techniques Suitable for Arts-Centered Schools
Some Advantages
Potential Disadvantages
Observations: Looking for…
and looking at… observations of students on task
structured and unstructured.
Behavior can indicate the result
of thinking processes; it is possible to identify frequency, duration, and level of difficulty of
Observer fails to observe or
recognize relevant characteristic
or indicator of that characteristic; observer fails to record
information accurately.
Self reports: Questionnaires
and surveys; Self-rating
instruments; Logs and journals (structured and
Reports can offer insight into
learning processes, extent to
which new learning has taken
Can be vague, inaccurate or
untrue; can over- or underestimate change as a result of the
educational intervention.
“Home made”
Can provide coherent information about groups of test takers;
Can establish “norms”;
When well constructed can give
valuable information regarding
what test takers have learned as
a direct result of instruction.
Can reduce complex learning
to simplistic test items; can
over-emphasize one way of
solving problems to detriment
of test taker; can be inappropriate for the knowledge or skills
to be tested; not compatible
with the “new curriculum.”
Can generate a more authentic
claim regarding what has been
Can be over- or under-valued;
can be inappropriate for identifying change;
Gives learners an opportunity
to apply their knowledge and
skill to a complex task; when
combined with reflection (see
above, self reports) can deepen
evaluator’s understanding of
change and growth.
Can mask some learners in
favor of others in ratings of
group project; the rating scale
can be inappropriately defined.
Performance assessment:
Ratings of performances or products
Ratings of portfolios,
logs, and journals.
Appendix I
Sample Planning Materials
and Forms
Items in this appendix include school-specific information for parents, including audition processes, schedule deadlines, enrollment
criteria, and proper audition attire. Also included is material of
interest to school planners regarding school curriculum models,
planning outside partnerships, raising funds, and school evaluation
Sample Audition Criteria
(See Chapter Three, “Recruiting and Selecting Students for the Middle School of the Arts,” p. 24 )
The Entire Process Includes the Following Steps:
1. Submit an application to the district by January
26, 2001.
est and motivating to the student is the most
appropriate one to pick. Student media work
may not be returned.
2. Sign up for an audition during one of the audition sign-up dates at the Middle School of the
Students will also:
1. Complete a writing prompt activity, with 5
minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to creatively
compose. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation
are not considered.
3. Follow the described steps under each art area
to prepare for your audition.
4. Come to your audition at the appointed time.
Arts Audition
Students need to be prepared with:
1. A memorized one-minute speech, original or
published, on any topic. Judging is based on
expression and interacting with the audience.
2. An example of an original media work. This
may be done using videotape, audiotape, a PC
multimedia presentation on CD or diskette, or a
collage using pictures and/or objects depicting
a topic or theme. The collage should be no
larger than 17 by 22 inches. For 8mm video,
you must bring in your camera for viewing
purposes. Compact VHS needs an adapter.
Judging is based on creativity and connection
to the theme or focus. Videos should be no
more than 5 minutes in length and can be on
any topic. Students are the producer of the project. This means that they are the originator
and are in charge of the overall production and
should take on as many jobs as they can in the
creation of the video. Other “helpers” may
appear in the video or assist with the camera
work; however, the creative decisions should
be made by the student. A topic that is of inter-
2. Discuss a short video excerpt viewed during
the audition. The student should demonstrate
attention to detail and sensitivity to film techniques.
Dance Audition
Students will:
1. Participate in a dance class that incorporates a
variety of dance forms in order to show that
applicant’s technical abilities and his/her
capacity to take and follow direction. Judging
is based on technical ability, flexibility, coachability, and overall potential. Though prior
training may be beneficial, it is not required.
Students will also come ready to:
2. Perform a prepared solo dance that is no longer
than one minute in length. This will be performed alone in front of the judges. No costumes, accessories, or props are allowed. The
solo should focus on the dancer’s strongest
qualities. Judging is based on movement, musicality, and expressiveness.
Note: Applicants should bring a cassette tape or
CD of their music, labeled with the dancer’s
name and cued to the beginning of the selection
or marked with the number of the song to be
Music Audition
(Band, Strings, Keyboard, and Vocal)
For all Music Auditions
1. Students will be expected to recognize notes on
the treble clef and basic music symbols in
accordance with the Florida Sunshine State
Standards (see your elementary school music
2. Students will be expected to have a working
knowledge of sight-reading music, with the
exception of vocal applicants entering the sixth
3. Students will be expected to recognize and
match pitch, as individual notes are played to
them (not applicable for keyboard audition).
Bass, Percussion, Strings, and Woodwind:
Perform a solo that demonstrates your highest
level of ability. The candidate will perform a
major scale of his/her choice.
Note: While students may audition using any
legitimate instrument, MSOA does not offer an
art major instruction in all musical instruments.
Example: guitar, drum set, handbell, or nonorchestral instruments are not offered as majors.
Students will perform a memorized solo. Students
need to provide two copies of their music for the
judges. Accompaniment can be taped (please cue
tape) or live. The student must provide the
accompanist. Taped accompaniment should not
include voices.
Pianists should prepare a memorized solo, which
demonstrates their highest level of ability. Solos
and basic scales (at least one octave) should be
performed with hands together.
Theater Auditions
All MSOA students in the Theater Department
will study and experience all aspects of the theater process. Through classroom study and studio
work, students are trained in the areas of performance, design, and technical theater, in addition
to theater history and appreciation. Students may
have opportunities after the sixth and seventh
grade to specialize in any theater area.
All applicants for the theater department will:
1. Perform a prepared and memorized monologue, one minute in length, from a published
play. The student’s goal is to create and sustain
characterization. Students should create a character, not deliver a speech. Accents and dialects
should be avoided.
2. Students will participate in an improvisation
exercise. Through a series of theater games,
students will demonstrate their creativity, freedom of expression, teamwork, and risk-taking
skills. There is no specific preparation for this
All theater applicants will also choose
one of the following:
Prepare and present at least one minute (16 bars)
of a song that will allow them to demonstrate
range, pitch, sustained note, and vocal quality.
Accompaniment must be on a cassette or CD.
Applicant should not sing a cappella. Audio
equipment will be provided.
Prepare and present a two-dimensional design
that is representative of a scene, play, or story.
The student may select to present a costume
design or scenic presentation and must be prepared to justify their choice of represented elements.
Visual Arts Auditions
There are three parts to the Visual Arts audition.
The work demonstrated should show a basic
understanding of the elements of art (line, shape,
form, texture, value) and principles of design
(balance, rhythm, contrast, proportion, and center
of interest). Additionally, the student’s work will
be judged on both creativity and skill level.
Candidates are encouraged to present work
regardless of how complete the piece may be.
Part One: Present and discuss your portfolio of
artwork, which should include:
• A self-portrait in black and white, drawn by
looking in the mirror.
• One or more sculptures constructed out of any
• An imaginative color study of plant life from
observation. The student’s work should fill the
• A collection of RECENT drawings and sketches (there is no recommended number).
Part Two: At the audition, the student will be
given a common object and asked to list as many
uses as possible for the object. Creativity, imagination, and diversity are valued.
Part Three: Applicants will participate in an art
class where they will be given a limited number
of objects and asked to arrange those into a still
life. Then, the student will complete in 2D an
observation of that still life using materials provided. Students will all receive the same set of
Sample Arts-Integrated School Course Options
(See Chapter Eight, “The Woodrow Wilson School’s
Comprehensive Approach to an Integrated Arts Curriculum,” p. 57.)
During the first trimester of this year, middleschool students were asked to look over the following course descriptions and choose one for
their MIAD course:
Nova! Through experimentation, research, and
discussion with Dr. Lawrence of Hofstra and
Columbia Universities, your curiosity will be satisfied.
Script Writing and Acting
Grades 6-8
If you are interested in writing, blocking, and acting out student-authored scripts for video production, then this is your MIAD. This will be a twopart MIAD, which will continue with digital filming and editing. Students will work in groups to
produce a video for the Kid Witness News Video
Furniture and Architectural Styles
Grade 6-8
After analyzing the various period styles of architect and furniture, students will create their own
scale furniture and structures.
School House Rock
Grades 6 & 7
Based upon the educational cartoon series, Tom, a
schoolteacher, nervous about his first day of
teaching, relaxes by watching TV. He encounters
the Schoolhouse Rock Band, that proceeds to
show him how to win his students over with
imagination and music. Students selected by audition will work with Wilson teachers as well as
with artists from the New Jersey Performing Arts
Center (NJPAC).
Radio Drama
Grades 6-8
Students will learn the history of radio and will
perform a radio drama creating sound effects.
Student will create their own two-minute pieces
and perform with SFX (special effects).
Project Astro Nova
Grades 6-8
Do you ever think about Outer Space? Have
some of that curiosity answered in Project Astro
Band: Instrumental Music
Grades 6-8
This MIAD explores musical instrument groups.
It is the extension to the Woodrow Wilson
Wildcat Band.
Video Yearbook
Grade 8
In this yearlong MIAD, students will collaborate
to create a 2001-2002 Woodrow Wilson Yearbook.
Eighth grade students will use advanced computer
applications and digital video to create, edit, and
publish an hour-long video to commemorate their
experiences in our Star School.
Elementary grade students reviewed the following
and chose accordingly:
Ballet I
Grades 1-4
Students explore movement and learn fundamentals of ballet. Students participate in ballet class,
which includes Barre and Center work.
Kiddie Kouncil
Grades 1-4
Welcome to Kiddie Kouncil and learn to be the
best you can be through good citizenship, respect,
integrity, and compassion combined with community service.
world of acting skills by playing fun and creative
games. All students need is imagination.
Sing Along
Grades 1-2
Students create original music and dance. They
work in cooperative groups to create songbooks,
which include illustrations drawn by the students
themselves. Students have the opportunity to
perform their wonderful creations and holiday
music before an audience of their peers.
First Impressions
Grade 4
Create a great first impression. Students design
and paint welcoming murals for our school. These
panels will be installed in the front window panels of our main entrance and entryway to proudly
show our neighbors and community that we celebrate the arts.
Theater Games
Grades 2-3
This drama MIAD is for new students in the second and third grades. Students experience the
Suggested Program Self Assessment Instrument
As developed by Emc.Arts for the Surdna Foundation (See Chapter Twelve: “Planning for Effective
Collaborations with Arts Organizations,” p. 83.)
Mission and organizational culture
The program is central to the mission of the organization and fully owned by the Board
The level of resources provided is adequate to the program’s organizational role
The design of the program is compatible with the organizational culture and ethos
The program shares its core values with the organization as a whole
Expectations and measures of progress
There is evidence that high expectations of and by students are maintained at all times
An emphasis is placed on students developing into unfamiliar artistic territory
A careful balance is maintained between measuring progress in individual artistic
development and assessing the quality of completed artwork
Holistic approach and attention to life skills
The program structure and curriculum demonstrate a commitment to students’
artistic advancement
The program design explicitly addresses the strengthening of life skills
A balance is maintained between these two, and they are well integrated
Program Element
The artists possess well-developed professional skills in their medium/media
The artists’ program work relates organically to their overall artistic practice
There is evidence that teaching work to date has informed the overall creative thinking
of the artists
In the selection of artists, weight is given to questions of their suitability for the work
The turnover of artists is appropriate to the work, and artists want to return where
Quality of group interaction
Small-group interaction between artists, students and staff is a central aspect of the
Specific opportunities are given in the program for student teamwork and interaction,
both artistic and personal
Planning for strategic fit between program and personnel
The overall criteria for the hiring, retaining and evaluation of artist-teachers are
suitable and rigorous
Effective advance planning takes place between program staff and artist-teachers
Planning has resulted in a common understanding of program goals and activities
Advance planning has informed decisions about the use made of artist-teachers
Practice of artist-teachers
Program Element
The typical ratio of teachers to students in the program is high, and higher than in
normal classroom settings
The teacher/student ratio reflects the intention to give each student personal attention,
and such attention is regularly given
Interaction between artists and students
Visits by guest artists (if any) are complemented by regular on-site work with lead
The lead artist-teachers and students share a wide range of experiences in the program,
and work together consistently
Periods of working together are regular and frequent, if not continuous, and the work is
intended to be cumulative
The interaction between artists and students is predicated on the development of
inter-generational “mentoring” relationships, which the program design promotes
Program staff
There are program staff members with full-time responsibility for implementation, who
work continuously in close contact with the students
The program staff possess advanced artistic knowledge
The program staff possess advanced cultural knowledge
The program staff possess strong people management skills
The program staff are effective educators and communicators
The program staff are good organizers
The program staff are involved in ongoing program assessment
Teacher/student ratio
Program Element
Students’ personal needs and safety issues are explicitly addressed where they inhibit
engagement with the work
Students’ transportation and food needs are properly managed to permit full
The atmosphere within the work group stimulates student confidence in asking
questions and taking artistic risks
Support and encouragement are given to students without diluting the emphasis on
high standards
The relationship with parents/guardians is sensitively handled
Student ownership
Program leaders take practical steps to vest ownership of the program in students,
including empowering them to make program decisions
The sense among students of owning the program is strong
Structures for mutual feedback between artists, students and staff exist, and are
utilized effectively
Balancing the short- and long-term
The design and sequencing of activities serve to orient artists and students around
long-term goals
Long-term goals are balanced by opportunities for short-term achievement by
individuals, and by the group as a whole
Safe and trusting environment
Program Element
The potential for lasting impact on students is supported by post-program activities
Opportunities are available for students to re-engage with the program after
graduating, with options for increased responsibility
Students have responded enthusiastically to these re-engagement opportunities
Relation of program content to students and external context
The processes that determine the choice of work focus/repertoire involve artists, staff
and students
Program content is suitable to the life experiences of students
Program content relates to the local cultural and community context
Program content develops the artistic literacy of students through opportunities for
exposure to work outside the program
Responsiveness to unfolding activities
The progress of the work influences what happens next
New ideas and opportunities are sensitively and supportively managed
Program staff and artists take a similar and compatible approach to being
Integrated follow-up and student re-engagement
Program Element
A balance is maintained between short-term flexibility about the style and content
of the work, and remaining on track toward longer-term goals, with neither taking
strong precedence
Responsibility for maintaining an appropriate balance lies ultimately with program staff
Preparedness to take risks in addressing challenging issues
Both personally and artistically challenging areas of work are sought out, as a means
of deepening the significance of the activities
The program has a record of dealing effectively with challenging personal and artistic
issues that arise in artists’ and students’ work
Overall direction and flexibility in course changes
Program Element
Proposed Daily Schedules for Dance Majors
(See Chapter Thirteen: “A Prescription for an Effective Dance, Program,” p. 90.)
Schedule 1: Below is a sample daily schedule for
Grades 5-6, based on 50-minute academic periods and one hour for dance classes. This schedule works within the requirements of a mandated school day in New York City.
Language Arts
Language Arts
Language Arts
Social Studies
Language Arts
General Science
General Science
Social Studies
General Science
Social Studies
General Science
Social Studies
Homeroom and Dismissal
Schedule 2: The following is an alternative
sample daily schedule Grades 5-6, based on
50-minute academic periods and 1 hour for
dance classes. Dance classes are in the
morning and students have an early lunch.
Both this and the above schedules may be
problematic if academic teachers are
required to teach more than three classes
in a row. Clearly, scheduling requires careful
Dance History
Social Studies
Social Studies
Language Arts
Language Arts
Social Studies
Language Arts
Social Studies
Homeroom and Dismissal
Appendix II
Resources for Planning an
Arts-Centered School
These Web sites help planners investigate what federal funds are available to enhance
their arts-centered schools. Information includes an extensive list of funding opportunities for arts education through the United States Education Department grants program.
Arts Wire—
An online arts communications network for the arts community. Includes a magazine, online
tutorials, and a database of cultural resources on the Web.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy—
The newspaper of the nonprofit world.
Foundation Center—
Wide range of information services and resources regarding fundraising, including grantmaker information, a list of recommended publications, a page of frequently asked questions, and
an online librarian who is available to answer questions submitted via e-mail.
Fundsnet Services Online—
Provides visitors with extensive directories in the areas of grantmaking foundation, corporate
philanthropy, and fundraising.
The Grantsmanship Center—
Visit this site to sign up online for The Grantsmanship Center’s free magazine.
Internet Nonprofit Center—
Information for donors and volunteers. Also houses a wide array of nonprofit FAQs addressing issues including organizational topics, management, regulation, and development.
International NETWORK of Performing and Visual Arts Schools
National Center for Nonprofit Boards—
Nonprofit resources, leadership tools, and information.
US Department of Education— or
Advocacy, Curriculum and Instruction, Program Planning
The following list includes some of the most fruitful resources on the Internet. These
websites are invariably linked to other sites, which in turn will take you to other sites.
They share the distinction of being the most used and most up-to-date sites for planners.
American Alliance for Theatre & Education—
The mission of American Alliance for Theatre and Education is to promote standards of
excellence in theatre and theatre education. They achieve this mission by disseminating quality practices in theatre and theatre education, connecting artists, educators, researchers and
scholars with each other, and by providing opportunities for their membership to learn,
exchange, expand and diversify their work, the audience, and their perspectives.
American Arts Alliance—
Nationwide consortium of nonprofit performing, presenting, and exhibiting arts organizations. Advocates for America’s professional nonprofit arts organizations and their publics in
representing arts interests and advancing arts support before Congress and other branches of
the federal government. A service organization with many arts education links.
Americans for the Arts—
Advocacy organization for local arts organizations throughout the United States advocates
policy positions regarding federal, state and local support for arts education.
Arts and Business Council—
Provides volunteers from business to work with arts organizations.
The most comprehensive national network of information on arts education. Originating
from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts, the site highlights all aspects of arts education
from staffing to evaluating, from curriculum to professional development opportunities and
results. The site includes summaries of news regarding legislation, local, state, and national
advocacy activities, and links to important sites, both national and international.
Arts Education Partnership—
National resource of information regarding partnerships between schools and communitybased arts organizations; research disseminator; directory of participating organizations and
links, state arts education contact list, archive of partnership meeting minutes.
Education Week—
A weekly newspaper that contains the latest information regarding education policy, funding
deadlines, and feature stories that frequently demonstrate the salutary effects of arts education.
Getty Foundation Arts Education Program—
Once a major player in developing arts education demonstration sites, the Getty website
offers virtual exhibitions and curriculum support for instruction in art, architecture, and
design. It has one of the most comprehensive demonstrations of scope and sequence in the
visual arts and numerous lesson plans that could be useful to elementary and secondary
school art teachers. There are also opportunities to share ideas with advocates and practitioners in arts education.
International NETWORK of Performing and Visual Arts Schools
A membership organization that addresses the needs of elementary and secondary artscentered schools. NETWORK sponsors an annual conference, newsletter, and research program.
MENC Music Educators National Conference—
Resources for music education, curriculum, instruction, model programs; distributes the
National Standards for Arts Education.
All kinds of information regarding establishing and maintaining best practices in art education. Publications may be ordered and/or downloaded.
National Assembly of State Arts Agencies—
The national organization for state arts agencies (state arts councils and commissions) with
sections of interest to arts educators, planners, and advocates of arts education. Contains references for research on arts education, teaching the arts, students with disabilities, etc. in its
Arts & Learning Resources for State Leaders.
National Dance Association—
Information about the field of dance education, professional development, listservs, etc.
National Endowment for the Arts—
Grant opportunities, program initiatives, advocacy reports, information about national arts
service organizations and an online arts community.
New York Foundation for the Arts—
A national resource of information for artists and educators. Excellent source of information
for design education.
National Guild of Community Music Schools—
A membership organization that disseminates information regarding programs at more than
300 community based arts schools throughout the United States.
President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities—
Source of research reports, advocacy materials, “Coming Up Taller” awards.
Project Zero (Harvard University School of Education Arts Education site)
A rich and useful site that addresses issues of research, assessment, program characteristics,
and an ebookstore where the books and articles generated by Project Zero researchers are for
Many valuable resources in print can help planners address the issues discussed in this
book, such as:
Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning. (1999). Arts Education
Partnership. Council of Chief State School Officers: Washington, DC. A report that includes
seven major studies that provide evidence of enhanced learning and achievement when students are involved in a variety of arts experiences.
Gaining the Arts Advantage: Lessons from School Districts that Value Arts Education.
(1999). Gaining the Arts Advantage: More Lessons from School Districts That Value
Arts Education. (2000). Arts Education Partnership. Council of Chief State School
Officers: Washington, DC. Two reports summarize over 91 school district reports on artscentered schools and analyze the critical factors that must be in place to implement and sustain comprehensive arts education. They stress the essential role of community involvement
and partnerships.
Learning Partnerships: Improving Learning in Schools with Arts Partners in the
Community. (1999). Arts Education Partnership. Council of Chief State School Officers:
Washington, DC. Presents the major impacts on school policy and practices, the principles
of effectiveness and key questions to be addressed at partnerships.
North Carolina A+ Schools. Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts. A+ Schools has
published a series of reports on the schools that comprise a network of arts-centered schools
dedicated to the philosophy that schools best serve children by using an arts-intensive, fullyintegrated approach to teaching and learning. “A+ schools teach the North Carolina
Standard Course of Study via interdisciplinary thematic units, hands-on experiential learning,
and daily arts instruction in the forms of drama, dance, music, and the visual arts.”
Schools, Communities and the Arts. (1992) A compendium of research commissioned by
the National Endowment for the Arts. Prepared by the Morrison Institute of Arizona State
University. Includes many evaluation studies that address issues for planners of arts-centered schools to consider, including arts integrated programs as well as programs for talented
students in the arts.
Standards for Excellence. (1998) Council for Basic Education. Association for
Supervision and Curriculum Development. A fully developed library of standards for each
subject in the public school curriculum. Includes CD-ROM, charts, and handbook.
Two excellent resources for publications pertinent to planners of
arts-centered schools are:
The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1703 North
Beauregard Street, Alexandria, VA 22311-1714. Telephone 703 578 9600.
The Arts Education Partnership. Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).
One Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 200001-1431. Telephone 202
336 7016. or [email protected]
Evaluation and Assessment
____________. (Autumn 2001). Creating Capacity: A framework for providing professional development opportunities for teaching artists. The Kennedy Center: Washington, DC.
____________. (2000). Transforming classroom grading. Alexandria, VA: Association for
Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Allen, David. Ed. (1998). Assessing student learning. New York: Teachers College Press.
Anderson, Lorin W. (1981). Assessing affective characteristics in the schools. Boston:
Allyn and Bacon.
Bellanca, James and Chapman, Carolyn, and Swartz, Elizabeth. (1994). Multiple assessments for multiple intelligences. Pallatine, IL: IRI/Skylight Training and Publishing.
Blythe, Tina; Allen, David; and Powell, Barbara Schieffelin. (1999). Looking together at
student work: A companion guide to assessing student learning. New York: Teachers
College Press.
Consortium of National Arts Education Associations. (1994). National standards for arts
education: What every young American should know and be able to do in the arts. Reston,
VA: Music Educators National Conference.
Costa, Arthur L. and Kallick, Bena. (1995). Assessment in the learning organization.
Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Danielson, Charlotte & Abrutyn, Leslye. (1997). An introduction to using portfolios in the
classroom. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Egelson, P., & McColskey, W. (1998). Teacher evaluation: The road to excellence.
Greensboro, NC: SERVE.
Eisner, Elliot W. and Peshkin, Alan, eds. (1990). Qualitative inquiry in education: The continuing debate. New York: Teachers College Press.
Fink, Arlene and Kosecoff, Jacqueline. (1985). How to conduct surveys. Beverly Hills, CA:
Sage Publications.
Herman, Jane; Aschbacher, Pamela and Winters, Lynn. (1992). A practical guide to assessment. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Lewin, Larry & Betty Jean Shoemaker. Great performances: Creating classroom-based
assessment tasks. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum
Marzano, Robert. J. et al. Assessing student outcomes: Performance assessment using the
dimensions of learning model. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum
Music Educators National Conference. (1994). The vision for arts education in the 21st century. Reston, VA.
Norris, Stephen P. & Ennis, Robert H. (1989). Evaluating critical thinking. Pacific Grove,
CA: Midwest Publications.
Perrone, Vito. Ed. (1991). Expanding student assessment. Alexandria, VA: Association for
Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Wiggins, Grant. (1997). Educative assessment. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Willis, George, ed. (1978). Qualitative evaluation. Berkeley, CA: McCutcheon.
Winner, Ellen and Lois Hetland. The Arts and Academic Improvement:What the Evidence
Shows. The Journal of Aesthetic Education. University of Illinois Press, Volume 34, nos.
3/4, Fall/Winter, 2000. The executive summary is available on Project Zero’s website,
Educational Leadership, published by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum
Development (ASCD), regularly publishes articles on assessment. ASCD is composed of
principals, curriculum supervisors, superintendents of schools, and staff development specialists. Planners can also use the Internet to locate latest articles as well as archives of past
publications through Here are a few such articles:
____________. (March 2001) Teaching to the test? 58/6. 16-21
Eisner, Elliot W. (1998). Reshaping assessment in education. The kind of schools we need.
Graham, Beth I. and Fahey, Kevin. (March, 1999). School leaders look at student work.
56/6. 25-27.
Howard, Barbara B. and McColskey, Wendy H. (February 2001). Evaluating experienced
teachers. 58/5. 48-51.
Iwanicki, Edward F. (February 2001). Focusing teacher evaluations on student learning.
58/5. 57-59.
Popham, James. (March 1999). Why standardized tests don’t measure educational quality.
56/6. Pages 8-15.
New or reissued books:
Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social
Development. (2002). Arts Education Partnership. Council of Chief State School Officers:
Washington, DC. A collection of essays analyzing “hard data” in support of various claims
for arts education. Examines music,art, dance, and theatre and how learning in these subjects
coincides with academic and social growth.
Remer, Jane. Editor. (1996) Beyond Enrichment. New York: Americans for the Arts. A collection of essays on the key issues regarding partnerships between school systems and arts
Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education. Gail Burnaford, Arnold Aprill, and Cynthia Weiss,
editors. (2001). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Essays dealing with Arts integration and learning.
A good source of archival information, besides the site is Education Week, a weekly periodical that contains the most current news and features related to all local, state, and federal educational issues.
Planners are also referred to Heldref Publications’ journal, Arts Education Policy Review,1 a
bi-monthly periodical that publishes articles by scholars and practitioners concerned with
arts education. Of great interest is the debate surrounding the publication of a recent study
commissioned by Harvard Project Zero on arts education and research on achievement.
Here are a few citations from the May-June 2001 issue:
Hetland, Lois and Winner, Ellen. The arts and academic achievement: what the evidence
shows. Journal of Aesthetic Education. Autumn, 2001.
Gee, Constance Baumgardner. The perils and parables of research on research.
Hagood, Thomas K. Dance to read or dance to dance?
1. 1319 Eighteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036-1802.
Appendix III
Planning a School
for the Performing Arts
A symposium co-hosted by The Dana Foundation and
The Federal City Council in October 2001, in Washington, DC.
A group of concerned and interested educators, administrators, council
members, museum directors, artists, and parents participated in the conference in Washington, DC, in October 2001. Co-hosted by The Dana
Foundation and The Federal City Council of Washington, DC, the meeting
focused on the challenges and opportunities of creating an elementary or
middle school that emphasizes the performing arts to teach academic subjects and seeks out hidden arts talent. Planning an Arts-Centered School: A
Handbook, is inspired by that symposium.
Below is a list of symposium speakers:
Jody Arnhold
The Dance Education Laboratory
New York, NY
Shirley Monastra
DC Public Charter School Resource Center
Washington, DC
Leticia Barnes
The Dana Press
Washington, DC
Neil Moore
Simply Music, Inc.
Sacramento, CA
Jorge Guerra-Castro
New World School of the Arts
Miami, FL
Lois Olshan
P.S. 144
Forest Hills, NY
Radiah Harper
New York, NY
Nasha Thomas Schmitt
Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Foundation
New York, NY
Kenneth Hopper
The Levine School of Music
Washington, DC
David Kener
American Place Theatre
New York, NY
Lydia Kontos
The Special Music School
New York, NY
Ronald Treanor and Anthony Buscetti
Woodrow Wilson Integrated Arts School
Weehawken, NJ
Mitzi Yates
Duke Ellington School of the Arts
Washington, DC
Below is a list of symposium attendees
Michael Blakeslee
National Association for Music Education
Reston, VA
Elvie Moore
Washington Ballet
Washington, DC
Barbara Bullock
Washington Teachers Union
Washington, DC
Stephanie Norby
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, DC
Peggy Cooper Cafritz
Board of Education
DC Public Schools
Washington, DC
David Perry
Federal City Council
Washington, DC
Mary Day
Washington Ballet
Washington, DC
Mary Gill
DC Public Schools
Washington, DC
Anthony Gittens
DC Commission on Arts and Humanities
Washington, DC
Derek Gordon
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Washington, DC
Dr. Leonard Haynes
DC Public Schools
Washington, DC
Mary Hickman
DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities
Washington, DC
Suzan Jenkins
Recording Industry Association
of America
Washington, DC
Ann McLaughlin Korologos
The Dana Foundation
New York, NY
Vincent Lawrence
New York, NY
David Levy
Corcoran Gallery of Art
Washington, DC
Dorothy McSweeney
DC Commission on Arts and Humanities
Washington, DC
Kenneth Rietz
Washington, DC
Kim Reed
National Music Museum & Center
Washington, DC
William Safire
The Dana Foundation
New York, NY
Dr. Steve Seleznow
DC Public Schools
Washington, DC
Ken Sharpe
Federal City Council
Washington, DC
Carol Solis
The Grammy Foundation
Santa Monica, CA
Ronald Stowe
Interlochen Center for the Arts
Interlochen, MI
Alice Trimmer
New York, NY
Dr. Paul L. Vance
DC Public Schools
Washington, DC
Jim Weaver
National Music Museum & Center
Washington, DC
Douglas H. Wheeler
Washington Performing Arts Society
Washington, DC
Appendix IV
The Dana Foundation
Arts in Education Program
The Dana Foundation
Arts in Education Program
The American Place Theatre
New York, NY
Los, Angeles, CA
Washington, DC
18th Street Arts Complex
Santa Monica, CA
New York, NY
Music and the Brain
New York, NY
National Dance Institute
New York, NY
Los Angeles, CA
Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County
(The Music Center)
Los Angeles, CA
Board of Education of the City of New York
New York, NY
Center for Arts Education
New York, NY
Center for Modern Dance Education
Hackensack, NJ
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the
University of Maryland
College Park, MD
Community Word Project
New York, NY
Il Piccolo Teatre dell’Opera (dba CREATE!)
New York, NY
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Washington, DC
Metropolitan Opera Guild
New York, NY
Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins
Baltimore, MD
The Shakespeare Theatre
Washington, DC
Admissions, 19, 21—23. See also specific schools
Advocacy resources, 141—143
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT), 90,
Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, 92
The American Place Theater
drama in education model, 70, 72—74
Arnhold, Jody, 44—51
Arts, visual. See Visual arts education
Arts-centered schools. See also Integrated arts curriculum
about, 5—8
admissions, 19, 21—23
evaluating and assessing, 120—124
recruiting and selecting students, 24, 26—28
resources for planning, 140—147
symposium, 7, 148—150
Arts in Education. See Integrated arts curriculum
Assessment. See Evaluation and assessment
Ballet Hispanico, 46, 48, 49
Barnes, Leticia, 103—105
“Best practices,” 5—8
Biddle, Ann, 44—51
Budgets, 16, 18
Burton, Judith, 114, 116, 117
Buscetti, Anthony, 57—63
Business plan, 16
Cahn, Susan, 114—119
Certifications, 16
Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation, Inc.
Heritage School funding, 114, 116—119
Charter Friends National Network Web site, 18
Charter schools. See Public charter schools
Community School District 3 of New York City
Board of Education. See Special Music
School of America
Creative risk, 9
Curriculum and instruction. See also Integrated arts curriculum; specific arts disciplines and schools
resources, 141—143
Dana Foundation, 6—7
Dana Foundation Arts in Education Program grantees,
Dance education
about AAADT, 90, 92—93
class attire, 95
commitment to, 93
costs, 96
creating an effective program, 90—96
curriculum, 94—95
evaluation and assessment, 96
facilities, 95
model for professional development, 44, 46—51
parental involvement, 95—96
recruitment, application, and screening process, 93—
sample daily schedules, 137—138
teacher selection, 93
Dance Education Laboratory (DEL)
about, 44
advanced training, 46—47
assessment and evaluation, 49, 50
classroom teacher buy-in, 49
conclusion, 51
dance networks, 47
Dance Partnerships Mentoring Program, 47
DEL Job Network, 47
DEL Library, 48
DEL Model, 46
Empire State Partnership, 46, 48, 49
Fridays at Noon performance series, 48
fundamental training, 46
goal, 44
Laban Movement Analysis, 46
specialist/teacher teamwork, 49—50
staff development, 48—49
supervision, 50
Dance teachers. See Dance Education Laboratory
DC. See District of Columbia
Deregulation pilot programs. See Middle School of the
Discipline, 9
District of Columbia
Levine School of Music, 52, 54—56
parent’s perspective on needs of students, parents,
and community, 103—105
public charter schools, 13, 15—18
District of Columbia Board of Education, 15
District of Columbia Public Charter Resource Center,
District of Columbia Public Charter School Board, 15
Drama education
curriculum development, 30, 32—34
model for drama in education, 70, 72—74
Duke Ellington School of the Arts
about, 19, 21
admissions process, 21—22
criteria by arts discipline, 22
dance admissions, 22
faculty, 23
financial cost of education at, 21
governance, 22—23
graduation credits, 21
literary media admissions, 22
museum studies admissions, 22
payroll mechanisms, 23
student life, 22
theater admissions, 22
visual arts admissions, 22
vocal and instrumental admissions, 22
Duke Ellington School of the Arts Project (DESAP),
Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, 119
Educational plan, 16
Eilber, Janet, 7, 9—10
Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center. See Special Music
School of America
Ellington Fund, 21
Ellington School. See Duke Ellington School of the
Emc.Arts, 83, 89
Empire State Partnership (ESP), 46, 48, 49
Evaluation and assessment, 68, 120—124. See also specific arts disciplines and schools
resources, 144—147
Evans, Richard, 83
Exceeding expectations, 9
External evaluators, 120—121
Fineberg, Carol, 7, 64—69, 120—124
Finkelstein, Joan, 44—51
Middle School of the Arts, 24, 26—28
New World School of the Arts, 30, 32—34
Hughes Foundation example, 114, 116—119
resources, 140
Gaining the Arts Advantage, 66
Gardner, Howard
multiple intelligences theory, 59, 60
Goals of the arts, 9
Ellington School, 22—23
public charter schools, 13, 15
Guerra-Castro, Jorge, 30—34
Harper, Radiah, 97—102
Heritage School
aligning goals, 117
curriculum, 116, 117
evaluating the grant, 118
funding request, 116—117
grant application assistance, 119
institutional visits, 116—117
NEA summary report and, 118—119
planning and launching the school, 118—119
proposal format, 119
proposal process, 114, 116—118
relationship-building, 117—118
site visits, 116, 117, 118
vision for, 114, 116
Hopper, Kenneth, 52—56
Hughes, Sara, 9, 10
Identity selection
dance education, 44, 46—51
drama education, 30, 32—34, 70, 72—74
integrated arts curriculum, 57, 59—63, 64, 66—69
music education, 35, 37—43, 52, 54—56
visual arts education, 75, 77—81
Institute of Museum and Library Services Web site, 99
Integrated arts curriculum
balancing aesthetic and academic standards, 69
cautions and considerations, 68—69
comprehensive approach, 57, 59—63
examples across arts disciplines, 67—68
important questions and challenges in, 67
integrating arts into the wider curriculum, 64, 66—
necessary conditions, 69
program models, 66
rationale, 66—68
sample course options, 129—130
sequential arts education and, 66
teachers and teaching artists in, 67
Jamison, Judith, 90
Jefferson, Denise, 90
Katzowitz, Lauren, 114—119
Kener, David, 70—74
Kihm, Emanuelle A., 75—81
Kontos, Lydia, 35—43
about, 52
competitions, 55
course divisions, 52
curriculum, 54—56
ensemble playing, 55
facilities, 52, 54
recitals, 56
Literature to Life literacy program, 70, 72—73
Menuhin, Yehudi, 9
Middle School of the Arts (MSOA)
about, 24
acceptance criteria, 24, 28
admission, 24
assessment, 27
auditions, 24, 28
awards gathered, 27
commitment letter, 28
curriculum, 24
English language learners, 26
lottery process, 24, 28
parental involvement and parent conferences, 27
recruitment process, 27—28
relationship with local arts organizations, 26
school day, 24
selection process, 28
student achievement rating/interpretation, 27
student body, 24
students with disabilities, 26
Monastra, Shirley, 13—18
Multiple Intelligences in Arts Domains (MIADs)
Program. See Woodrow Wilson Integrated Arts
Multiple intelligences theory, 59, 60
Museum-school partnerships, 97, 99—102
Music education
community-wide, 52, 54—56
public-private partnerships, 35, 37—43
Lang, Pearl, 90
Levine, Arthur, 114
Levine School of Music
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) summary
report, 118—119
National Music Museum, 99, 103
New Jersey
Woodrow Wilson Integrated Arts School, 57, 59—63
New World School of the Arts (NWSA)
about, 30
admission, 30, 32
artist-faculty, 30
auditions, 30
curriculum, 32
curriculum principles, 33—34
student body, 30
student-faculty ratio, 30
New York
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, 90, 92—93
The American Place Theater, 70, 72—74
Dance Education Lab, 44, 46—51
Heritage School, 114, 116—119
P.S. 144 teacher perspective, 106, 108—112
P.S. 166/Ballet Hispanico partnership, 46, 48, 49
Special Music School of America, 35, 37—43
New York City Board of Education, 114, 116
New York Common Application Form, 119
New York Regional Associations of Grantmakers, 119
The 92nd Street Y. See Dance Education Laboratory
Odita, Odili Donald, 75—81
Olshan, Lois, 106—113
“Opening Minds Through the Arts,” 66
Operations plan, 16
involvement and parent conferences, 27
involvement in dance education, 95—96
parents’ role in collaborations, 110
participation in public charter schools, 15
perspective on needs of students, parents, and community, 103—105
Dance Partnerships Mentoring Program, 47
dance schools, 92
Empire State Partnership, 46, 48, 49
establishing, 97, 99
integrating arts into curriculum, 64
museum-school partnership example, 97, 99—102
music education public-private partnerships, 35,
obstacles to, 100
planning, 99—100
P.S. 144 teacher perspective, 106, 108—112
P.S. 166/Ballet Hispanico partnership, 46, 48, 49
successful, 100—102
teacher involvement in, 97, 99
Woodrow Wilson Integrated Arts School, 60
Performance assessment. See Evaluation and assessment; specific arts disciplines and schools
Perlman, Elizabeth, 24—28
“A Place That Is Yours: The Challenge of Facilities
Development,” 118—119
Professional development
in arts education, 64
model for, 44, 46—51
at P.S. 144, 111—113
Teacher’s Place program, 70, 72, 73
U.S. Department of Education principles, 111
at Woodrow Wilson, 60, 62
Professional Performing Arts School (PPAS), 92
Program planning
about, 83
approach to content and style, 88—89
framework for, 83, 85—89
philosophy, 85—86
programming essentials, 86—88
resources, 141—143
P.S. 144
about, 106
arts-based interdisciplinary units, 112—113
creative collaborations, 110
local business community partners, 110
parents’ role in collaborations, 110
partnerships, 108—109
partnerships in action, 109
prefabricated program versus developing programs in
partnership, 109
professional development at, 111—113
teacher and artist collaboration, 109
teacher involvement in planning, 106, 108
P.S. 166/Ballet Hispanico partnership, 46, 48, 49
Public charter schools
accountability, 13, 15
accountability plan, 16
actions for planners, 17
after-school programs, 15
autonomy, 13
charter school definition, 13
chartering authorities, 15—16
converting to charter status, 15
in District of Columbia, 13, 15—18
establishing, 16
facilities and add-ons, 15
funding, 15
governance and organization, 13, 15
lessons learned, 16—17
parental participation, 15
per-pupil allocation, 15
predictors for success, 17—18
resources for establishing, 18
school day and year, 15
student outcomes, 13
teacher-student ratio, 15
teachers, 13
Public-private partnerships
Special Music School of America, 35, 37—43
Public schools
parent’s perspective on needs of students, parents,
and community, 103—105
Publications (resources), 143—144
Reassessment of Support for Arts Organization
Resources, 118—119
Recruiting and selecting students, 24, 26—28. See also
specific arts disciplines and schools
Regional Associations of Grantmakers, 119
advocacy, 141—143
curriculum and instruction, 141—143
for establishing public charter schools, 18
evaluation and assessment, 144—147
funding, 140
for planning an arts-centered school, 140—147
program planning, 141—143
publications, 143—144
Web sites, 18, 83, 99
Richards, Lisa, 70—74
Rudolph, Ellen B., 83—89
Sample planning materials and forms
arts-integrated school course options, 129—130
audition criteria, 126—128
daily schedules for dance majors, 137—138
program self assessment, 131—136
Schmitt, Nasha Thomas, 90—96
Special Music School of America
academic program, 40—41
admission, 35, 43
areas of authority, 39
assessment techniques, 41
budget, 37
cost per child, 35
curriculum crossovers, 41
facilities, 37
faculty, 41
financial aid, 35, 37
financial support, 37
goal, 35
integrating teaching cultures, 39—40, 41—42
observations, 42
performance evaluation, 39
planning partnership principles, 37—40
quality of teaching and learning, 40—42
recitals, 43
Staff evaluations, 121
Standardized testing, 121
Startup examples
admission and governance, 19, 21—23
public charter schools, 13, 15—18
recruiting and selecting students, 24, 26—28
Stoupas, Teresa, 24—28
Surdna Foundation’s National Arts Program, 83
Teachers and artist-educators, 77, 79, 81, 109, 111—
Teachers College, Columbia University
Heritage School and, 114, 116—119
Teacher’s Place professional development program, 70,
72, 73
Treanor, Ron, 57, 59—63
Safire, William, 5—8
Urban Writes residency program, 70, 72, 73—74
U.S. Department of Education
professional development principles, 111
recent grant recipients, 66
Web site, 18
Visual arts education
advice for planners, 75
art making versus art history/criticism, 78
art teachers and artist-educators, 77, 79, 81
considerations and requirements, 75, 77
curriculum considerations and pitfalls, 77—78
exhibitions, 78
gallery, museum, and studio trips, 77—78, 80
lessons learned, 78—80
making art real, 79
publications on, 81
“tricks of the trade,” 79
views of arts in education, 80
Emc.Arts Web site, 83
for establishing a charter school, 18
Institute of Museum and Library Services Web site,
U.S. Department of Education Web site, 18
Woodrow Wilson Integrated Arts School
about, 57, 59
admission and screening, 61
diversity, 57
facilities, 57, 59
faculty selection, 62
MIADs (learning styles) and, 59—63
partnerships, 60
performance assessment, 60
planning and implementation efforts, 61—62
professional development, 60, 62
school culture, 59
school ranking, 59
special needs children, 57
student body, 57
vision, 61
Washington, DC. See District of Columbia
Web resources
Charter Friends National Network Web site, 18
Yates, Mitzi, 19—23
Planning an Arts-Centered School:
A Handbook
The Dana Foundation
Contributors from the Dana Foundation
Francis Harper, Executive Vice President
Barbara Rich, Ed.D., Director, News and Internet Office
Paisley Mason, Program Assistant, Special Projects
Leticia Barnes, Marketing Manager,The Dana Press
J. Andrew Cocke, Editor, The Dana Press
David Balog, Assistant Editor, The Dana Press
Tamina Davar, Press Information Officer
Ann Whitman, News Office Associate
Isaac Sashitzky, Internet Intern
Jane Nevins, Editor in Chief
Walter Donway, Director
Cynthia A. Read, Associate Director
About the cover: A variety of performance settings can introduce students to
the world of the arts.They range from private instrumental lessons to performance of Broadway musicals, to operatic presentations.
Photo credits: Male student playing cello: Special Music School of America,
New York City; photograph by Nan Melville. Five girls in dance preformance:
Woodrow Wilson School, Union City, NJ; photograph courtesy Woodrow
Wilson photography club. Students from Woodrow Wilson performing from
the opera, The Bartered Bride; photograph courtesy Woodrow Wilson
photography club.
Photo credits:
Proloegomenon: p. 9, author photograph courtesy The New York Times.
Chapter 2: p. 19, Duke Ellington School, student building sculpture, photograph by Tate MacQueen.
Chapter 3: p. 26, Middle School of the Arts students, photograph courtesy of Middle School of the Arts.
Chapter 5: p. 37, Special Music School photo #1, male student playing cello; p. 40, Special Music School photo #3,
child playing piano; p. 41, Special Music School photo #4, girl bowing after piano recital, photographs by Nan
Chapter 6: p. 48, Ballet Hispanico photo, Students at P.S. 166 in New York City rehearse for a presentation of
their version of Guahiro, photograph courtesy of Ballet Hispanico.
Chapter 7: p. 53, author photograph, courtesy Andrew Linden.
Chapter 8: p. 59, Woodrow Wilson School photo #1, five girls in costume striking a pose during a dance
performance, photograph courtesy Woodrow Wilson’s School’s photography club; p. 63, Woodrow Wilson School
photograph #2, Bartered Bride peformance. Photograph courtesy Woodrow Wilson School’s photography club.
Chapter 10: p. 71, author photographs courtesy Paul Coughlin.
Chapter 13: p. 90, students rehearsing, photograph courtesy Ailey Camp; p. 91, author photograph courtesy
Andrew Eccles; p. 92, students rehearsing, photograph courtesy Ailey Camp.
Chapter 14: p. 98, author photograph courtesy Julianna FreeHand.
Chapter 17: p. 115, author photographs courtesy UJA Federation.
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