A national benchmark in
Educational excellence through integration of the arts

A+ Schools Program

ArtSpace Charter School is part of the A+ Schools Program at the North Carolina Arts Council. As an A+ School, we integrate the arts into all subjects, and students are exposed to all of the art forms (drama, dance, music, visual arts and creative writing).

The A+ Schools Program is a whole-school reform model that views the arts as fundamental to teaching and learning in all subjects. A+ Schools combine interdisciplinary teaching and daily arts instruction, offering children opportunities to develop creative, innovative ways of thinking, learning and showing what they know. In A+ Schools, teaching the state’s mandated curriculum involves a collaborative, many-disciplined approach, with the arts continuously woven into every aspect of a child’s learning.

For more information, visit: http://aplus-schools.ncdcr.gov.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is A+?

The A+ Schools Program is the largest, longest running, most successful arts-based whole-school reform effort in the nation. Since 1995, A+ Schools has been using the arts as a catalyst for creating connections and making school an engaging, meaningful and enjoyable place to teach and learn. A+ evaluators have consistently found that A+ Schools have been able to respond to accountability standards in both effective and creative ways, meeting standards in N.C.’s high-stakes testing program without narrowing the curriculum by deeply integrating the arts into instruction.

How are the arts used in A+ Schools?

In A+ Schools, arts education is approached in three ways:

  • Arts Integration – bringing together arts and non-arts objectives to create hands-on, experiential, connected and meaningful learning experiences.
  • Arts Education – developing an understanding and comfort in the elements, principles, history, processes and works of each art form.
  • Arts Exposure – creating opportunities for students and staff to experience artistic works, performances and careers both in the school and in the community.

What does all this mean in the classroom?

It means that children are exposed to and educated in all of the art forms: visual arts, dance, drama, music and creative writing. It means that they learn in collaborative, creative environments that support and enhance each child’s unique way of learning and provide a rich variety of opportunities for reaching mastery. It means that teachers work together to integrate the arts, the sciences, literacy, math and humanities into creative, meaningful lessons. It means that children experience hands-on, real world application of learning objectives that connect across disciplines. It means that children are given opportunities to become more curious about their world, that they develop the tools for seeing connections among subjects and ideas, and that they are better prepared for the their future in the 21st century. It means that teachers, students and parents are invested in life-long learning and celebrating their school community.


 

Our Board and staff are excited about the partnership between ArtSpace and North Carolina A+ Schools. Nationally, A+ Schools programs are the largest, longest-running, and most successful arts-based whole-school reform effort in our country. The NC A+ Schools Program is a network of forty-one schools, which view the arts as fundamental for teaching and learning.

Since 1995, the A+ Schools Program has been using the arts as a catalyst for creating connections and making schools engaging, meaningful, and enjoyable places to teach and learn. ArtSpace was invited to join the A+ Schools Program, and our staff participated in professional development August 8-10. Joining this network will give us access to top quality, innovative “best practices” in arts-integrated education.

Our summer professional development was led by the A+ Teaching Fellows, who are at the top of their craft as artists and arts educators. They come from all walks of life and professions, such as poets, artists, musicians, grade-level teachers, and more. Unsurprisingly, four ArtSpace staff are currently A+ Fellows (Mr. Hall, Mr. Steve, Ms. Lori, and Mr. Josh). The A+ Schools Program has been recognized for its excellence by several US presidents and by British education reformer Sir Ken Robinson. This alliance will bring ArtSpace one step closer to its vision of being “a national benchmark in educational excellence through the integration of the arts.”

For more information on the A+ Schools Program, visit these links:

http://aplus-schools.ncdcr.gov/
http://www.facebook.com/aplusnc

To read about a presentation to the National Endowment for the Arts, made by A+ programs in NC, OK, and AR, visit:

http://aplus-schools.ncdcr.gov/archives/1047

For more information on the A+ Schools Program, please contact:
Michelle Mazan Burrows, Director
(919) 807-6503