Research & Results

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

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 or (919) 807-6503.

Copies of Creating and Sustaining Arts-Based School Reform by George Noblit can be obtained from Routledge at or through Amazon or your local bookseller.