Provide varied, relevant and high-quality opportunities for students to engage in arts learning.
High-quality arts education programs provide multiple points of access and are scaffolded and sequenced to support student mastery. Clear expectations for students who are engaging in the creative process, honing art skills and/or developing a high-quality final product or performance ensures that programming is both rigorous and adaptable.
High-quality programs are student-centered, with students taking an active role in developing, planning and adapting programming. Many arts educators see themselves as facilitating student learning—supporting students in reflection and dialogue with peers about their creative process or product.
Principle in practice
In Hood River, Arts in Education of the Gorge worked with Hood River Middle School to improve access to arts education, particularly for low-income and Latino/x students.
This clear vision and purpose led to strategies that proactively welcomed students and offered them multiple ways to participate, including behind-the-scenes opportunities such as working on audio or scenery for musical theatre programming.
As the Initiative progressed, they strengthened existing programming while also developing new relevant programming. For example, they provided instruments, replacement reeds and support to students who might not be able to afford to participate in band. In response to requests from students and families, they also developed a thriving mariachi program.
We have found that a willingness to listen to our students both through formal surveys and informal conversation has allowed us to develop a student-driven learning environment. This year’s student opinion encouraged us to pivot our programming to include more opportunity in music technology, visual art and after-school classes. The music technology lab has inspired a new level of interest in music composition and experimentation.
—Project team member