Understand and respond to evolving community contexts, including histories, strengths and needs.
In this context, "community" refers to: 1) a school community, which includes everyone directly connected to a school (students, teachers, administrators, families, etc.); and 2) the broader communities in which an arts education program is situated geographically or culturally (e.g., ethnic/racial communities).
Community partners and educators work continuously to understand the intersecting contexts of students, schools and communities. This requires authentic interaction and experience with students and community members as well as valuing local knowledge and perspectives.
When educators develop and implement arts programming with a deep appreciation and respect for community context, arts programming is more responsive to student needs and interests, while also enriching and expanding the experiences of students and the school community.
Principle in practice
In working with students and teachers at Open School, an alternative school in Portland, Open Signal took great care in selecting teaching artists who reflected Open School student demographics and could build authentic relationships with them.
Open Signal adapted their plans and programming to meet the unique needs of Open School and its students. For example, the team initially planned to hold numerous short artist residencies to give students the chance to interact with a variety of artists.
In response to student needs, the residencies were lengthened significantly so the artists would have enough time to build deeper connections and trust with students, giving them the space to establish relationships and safe spaces for creation and artistry.