Working to help “re-form” schools since 1995, A+ Schools of North Carolina has shown that through high-quality professional development and ongoing network support, teachers can grow to be collaborative, creative and efficient with their time and resources. By working together to integrate their instruction of all disciplines, teachers create engaging, rigorous and meaningful learning experiences and enrich their idea of mastery. A+ recognizes and honors the uniqueness of every school and customizes professional development and network support for the individual character, needs, processes and initiatives in place in each school community.
Eight years of research and ongoing program assessment tells us that the success of A+ Schools of North Carolina is attributed to:
- Continuous, practitioner-led professional development
- Arts integration and arts education
- The use of statewide support networks for teachers and administrators
In fact, schools that are highly-engaged in the A+ Network experience:
- High achievement without narrowing the curriculum
- Creative, focused and engaging instruction
- Better attendance for both students and teachers
- Fewer disciplinary problems
- Happier, more effective educators
- Joyful, engaged students
- Increased parent engagement and involvement
- Stronger community partnerships
What does all this mean in the classroom? It means that children are exposed to and educated in all of the art forms: visual arts, dance, drama, music and creative writing. It means that they learn in collaborative, creative environments that support and enhance each child’s unique way of learning and provide a rich variety of opportunities for reaching mastery. It means that teachers work together to integrate the arts, the sciences, literacy, math and humanities into creative, meaningful lessons. It means that children experience hands-on, real world application of learning objectives that connect across disciplines. It means that children are given opportunities to become more curious about their world, that they develop the tools for seeing connections among subjects and ideas, and that they are better prepared for the their future in the 21st century. It means that teachers, students and parents are invested in life-long learning and celebrating their school community. It means that A+ schools are supported in thinking creatively, expanding artfully, planning collaboratively, working effectively and celebrating regularly.