1. What went particularly well this year? Why?
This year Lane Arts Oaklea focused on program sustainability and supporting teachers in their varied needs. This included transitioning Betsy away from direct programming to teacher support and on-boarding the new arts instructional assistant. Our focus was to promote teacher ownership, building on the tools they learned through ArtCore and their own passions and interests. Betsy continually solicited teacher feedback to learn which tools and approaches resonated as we continue to develop our program for future schools. Betsy has been an incredible resource for the teachers and administration and Oaklea is in a strong place moving forward.
We continue to see various components of our work sustain with the school and teachers, including Studio Habits of Mind, lesson plans, activities, student reflection, thinking walls, student showcases, and school-wide events. The hiring of the arts Instructional Assistant (IA) to oversee the operation and instruction of the studio has helped support teachers to continue ArtCore and explore new opportunities to teach through the arts. The IA has also been teaching a small group of 5th and 8th grade students daily, helping them create crafts and see that art-making is doable!
2. Were you able to make progress regarding the principles you selected? If so, how would you describe that progress? (Hint: the rubric may be helpful here). If not, what got in the way?
Betsy worked with Corey and Darbi to envision and create ArtCore bins to support teachers in their continued exploration and success in utilizing art materials in the classroom. The bins will be launched next school year and will help advance and sustain our priority principles. Betsy also stocked the art studio for the future with a fair amount of inventory with bins can be restocked. These supplies will be the most accessible and used art tools and materials at Oaklea.
In addition, Betsy documented the most simple and accessible steps teachers and students can take to go forward with creating new murals at Oaklea. Every year Betsy heard that teachers want to create more murals at the school, however teaches haven’t prioritized their time on this. Betsy realized that if she could unveil the process in a simple, doable format, this might remove the barriers. She created the simplest outline of a prose mural written by Bryan Scavnak. She then purchased oil paint markers, worked with the counselor to task 7th graders to take over, own it and complete it. The mural is now almost complete.
3. Was selecting and reflecting on these principles helpful? If so, how has selecting and reflecting on these principles shaped your work going forward?
Betsy used the principles to continually engage conversations with teachers at Oaklea, especially the principal and committed teachers. The principles also became the motivator for the informal interview questions Betsy was bringing to teachers regarding next steps to continue arts education efforts in the school.
Lane Arts Council’s work in schools aligns with all of the principles and we appreciate the process to develop them. It was helpful to reflect on all of them and prioritize which ones are most important in our current project. We will continue to reflect on and utilize the principles as we work with additional schools in the future.
4. What advice would you give to other arts education programs that want to build program quality, equity or sustainability using the principles?
The biggest lesson we have taken away is to utilize the principles to align the school’s desires and interests with our programs to create cohesive vision and goals. Getting buy-in from teachers and administration is essential to the success of a project. When the school is a part of the decision making process, they are more likely to follow through with their agreed upon tasks and support the teacher, teaching artist and partner. For our deeper and longer-term projects with schools, we work to ensure there is buy-in from both the principal and teachers and that participation is opt-in for only teachers who choose to participate. This sets the program up for success and over time we see that our work becomes infectious where more teachers want to participate.