Upon launching A+ Schools in 1995, the Kenan Institute for the Arts made a commitment to evaluate the program. Years of evaluation have concluded that the sustainability of A+ Schools of North Carolina is attributed to three primary factors:
- The use of the arts
- The high quality, practitioner model of professional development
- The maintenance of a strong network to support teachers and administrators
Bugg A+ teacher integrates movement
Evaluations over the first eight years of the program’s history identified the whole school, residential Five-Day A+ Institute as the primary change agent leading to high implementation levels for the arts integration approach to school reform.
The initial four-year evaluation of the program, “The Arts and Education Reform: Lesson from a Four-Year Evaluation of the A+ Schools Program,” showed significant effects on schools, communities, teachers and students that included the following:
- Schools increased their organizational capacity and leadership to sustain the innovation
- Schools developed a more focused identity and increased channels of communication among staff and with parents
- Schools developed new community partnerships
- Parents increased and deepened their affiliation with the school
- Teachers changed their instructional strategies, resulting in more engaging and experiential learning for all students
- Teachers developed richer, more substantive and authentic classroom assessments
- School staff and parents found the A+ approach to teaching equally beneficial to all groups of students, regardless of cognitive development, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status
- Teachers designed enriched academic environments-more ways for students to understand and demonstrate understanding and mastery of the curriculum with improved assessment results
- Students were more engaged in the curriculum and improved their attitudes, attendance and behavior
- Students achieved assessment gains without teachers “narrowing” the curriculum
To obtain a copy of the initial four-year evaluation, please contact A+ Schools of North Carolina at firstname.lastname@example.org or (919) 807-6503.
Copies of Creating and Sustaining Arts-Based School Reform by George Noblit can be obtained from Routledge at http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780805861495 or through Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Creating-Sustaining-Arts-Based-School-Reform/dp/0805861491 or your local bookseller.