Collaboration Paints A Bright Future for Arts Education

Thursday, August 18, 2011

 

Craig Welle, a member of the College Board’s Arts Academic Advisory Committee, is the director of enrichment curriculum and instruction for the Dallas Independent School District. Dallas ISD introduced an arts-rich after-school program in July 2010 aimed at increasing student engagement.

Collaboration Paints A Bright Future for Arts Education
by Kristine Hughes

Excerpt:

Ask a group of struggling elementary school students which ones want to give up a month of vacation to go to summer school, and you’ll see few, if any, raised hands. Most students attend summer school not because it’s their idea of a good time, but because they need to in order to advance to the next grade. To many students— and even some teachers — summer school feels more like punishment than an opportunity to learn and explore.

In July 2010, working with a nonprofit organization called Big Thought, officials at the Dallas Independent School District embarked on an approach to summer school they hoped would change that image and engage kids. The idea was to support teachers, artists, and others to replace worksheet-style instruction with teaching animated by music, visual arts, dance, and theater. The new arts-rich summer school program that resulted is just another sign of Dallas’ initiative, spearheaded by Big Thought (www.bigthought.org), to bring together schools, cultural organizations, and others to restore high-quality arts instruction to the many classrooms from which it has long been missing. “What’s the goal of education: to assess kids or prepare them for life?” asks Craig Welle, executive director of enrichment curriculum and instruction for the Dallas Independent School District. “If you’ve taken the arts out of the education system, you are no longer preparing kids for life.”

Download a PDF of the full article.

Stay Connected