Order: Jeff Evans, Lorraine, Louis, and Paul.

Welcome: Intro's,

We are going to ask you to write down what your beliefs are about education? Just take a minute to jot some ideas down. We are going to revisit this at the end of the presentation.

As you see...there are pictures in front of you. These are people who have influenced us as well as many who frame our thinking at the arts academy...Now, take a minute to see if you can identify them. Do this with a partner.

Ok, Let's see....

Introduction to AABR - Jess
a. Brief overview of school, how it started, when...

The Arts Academy at Ben Rush opened in Sept. 2008 with 120 students in 9th grade, 11 full time teachers, 2 part time, and students taking a course load of 5 subject areas and a 70 minute art black. The school was part of Paul Vallas "small school reform" and was earmarked for the last amount of funding for small high schools in Philadelphia.

After emersing myself with text such as The Right To Learn, Linda Darling Hammond, and Deborah Meiers The Power of their Ideas, I knew that I wanted a school that was student centered and where student leadership was emphasized. The other focus was on the arts, of course, but not a traditional art school where students just majored in their art area. We wanted a school that presented students with What If? A school that focused on the importance of integrating arts into all subject areas, imagination, a tremendous creative bent, and questioned text with the same process that was used to question/critique a piece of artwork or dance performance. Or, form the same kind of relationship that a musician has with a score, an artist has with his/her piece, etc. We want to intertwine the curricula and use what we have learned from an Artist perspective in every subject he/she approached. Elliot Eisner describes what education can learn from the arts ...
"One knows one is right because one feels the relationships. One modifies one’s work and feels the results. The sensibilities come into play and in the process become refined. Another way of putting it is that as we learn in and through the arts we become more qualitatively intelligent.
Learning to pay attention to the way in which form is configured is a mode of thought that can be applied to all things made, theoretical or practical. How a story is composed in the context of the language arts, how an historian composes her argument, how a scientific theory is constructed, all of these forms of human creation profit from attention to the way the elements that constitute them are configured. We need to help students learn to ask not only what someone is saying, but how someone has constructed an argument, a musical score, or a visual image. Curriculum activities can be designed that call attention to such matters, activities that refine perception in each of the fields we teach. This will require activities that slow down perception rather than speed it up. "

How can we help our students view their work as experimental accomplishments?

... And so, What If?

IV. WHAT IF…? - Jess

In the summer of 09 our entire faculty read the book A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink. We deconstructed the chapters and thought about the implications for teaching and learning. If we were going to take this right brained approach to curriclulum, what would it look like? How would we asses? How do we integrate technology and what is it that we want students to walk away learning? As a project based school, we were excited to plan collaboratively but we had no formal structure set up. We knew the design, creativity and interdisciplinary studies were an important focus yet how were we gong to emphasize this? Pink had offered us applications to real life industries, but there was no chapter(s) on exactly how to cultivate this in a school that was in a district where the core curriuclum and the teaching of elbigle content were the live/by die by expectation. So , we planned and collaborated along the journey. And still do this...

Collaboration and interdisciplinary studies go hand in hand. There is not one approach or structure that we have taken, but much of what we have accomplished has been unintentional. Many of the projectst that have been created were started from a hallway conversation or a lunchtime break. We struggle to find a structure to put in place to connect teachers and the planning of their projects. And it is this collaboration that creates the learning community that excites most teachers. It is clear that we share in the understandings of Pink, Robinson, Eisner, and Wiggins (understanding by design). The emphasis of questions or inquiry and looking at all dsicplines in a more creative way sets us a part, we believe than most school in the district.

We set up (established) core values in the school and created the acronym ICEPAC. They are a set of values that frames our thinking around curriculum. In the spirit of last night's discussion,I guess we see SMART as imagination, analysis, empathy, persepctive, analysis, and committment. All of these values make up smart or what I like to call my students BRILLIANT people. We try to remind students about these values as much as possible, we try to create curriculum around them. And we believe by doing these we are doing what's morally right for all students. I don't feel that creating "smart" students is a mystery, it's the courage to do what's right for kids.

But the question I would like to leave you with is that all of this work take collaboration and this is not to be underestimated. How do you best cultivate this in a school? How do you create a place where everyone trusts the process? And how do you create a place where brilliance can be nurtured in the most unexpected places....


a. Learning was more right brained
i. Ideas of Pink, book study from school
b. Collaboration
i. Between teachers, students, etc…
c. Habits of Mind
d. Student-Centered Learning Environment
i. ID projects
ii. Basic structure of the school (2008)
iii. Leads into…
My images:

Keep in mind any connections that you will make
I. Show pics- who frames our thinking?

II. The school was based around the question of What If? Daniel Pink...creating...

Rough Draft - 10 minutes

Slides that I plan to use:
core values (HOMs)
vision statement
I would like to run one of the clips from the student interviews if there is something that relates to our vision at Arts Academy.

I. Background/Overview on Arts Academy - SLIDE 1 (WEBSITE)
  • Founded in 2008 with a staff of about 15 and 120 students (demographics) 50% minority, gender breakdown
  • Small high school ideas based on Linda Darling Hammond, Deborah Meier
One unique structure:
  • Partnered arts teacher with subject area teacher for a project per one report card period (integrated project). The idea was that arts would be intentionally and explicitly integrated into the subject area and co-taught. art teacher alongside subject area teacher. This was a deliberate idea to try to ensure interdisciplinary studies.
Summer of 08
  • Established a summer curriculum summit where we created core values/habits of mind - SLIDE 2 (HABITS OF MIND) ICEPAC
We believe that every student has the ability to develop these essential values at The Arts Academy and apply them in the process of learning. They are valued at our school, cultivated, and are found in most of our project-based work. Yet, we continue to think about more/better ways to embed these values into our curriculum.

*Framed by some of Elliot Eisner's ideas- SLIDE 3 (Eisner quote)

Opportunity arose last spring...
At the end of the year, attended Daniel Pink's Lecture with students at Penn as well as participate in a one week summer workshop with Rene Hobbs media literacy lab ( Louis and myself)

How did we get everyone on board this year?

II. “The wealth of nations and the well-being of individuals now depend on having artists in the room.” –Daniel Pink
Summer reading...
Last summer the entire faculty at The Arts Academy read “A Whole New Mind” in order to prepare for the 2009-10 school year. It was the first book study that I had done with a faculty where the book did not fall under the formal classification of “education.” Yet, we were using it as such in order to guide our thinking about education. Why was this book chosen and what are the implications for teaching and learning?

Using/choosing a book such as Pink’s “A Whole New Mind” was an intentional choice to use something “different” for a faculty read. This choice was a deliberate way of relaying to the faculty we must think differently about our school in the global world that we live in. What ensued during our book study was a consensus that students need to think differently about school, focus on process, rather than answers, in order to become great critical thinkers. If students were to focus more on process, they should be better prepared for what life will bring them. But, HOW do we create a learning community which will focus on process, and how do we continue to make interdisciplinary connections an important vessel or way for students to see process as just as important as product? How can we, a learning community, integrate visual studies in all courses?

Focusing on Process:
By emphasizing project based assessments and using a multidisciplinary approach, we felt that this would allow us to study topics deeply as well as emphasize the importance of process. The Arts Academy teachers here today will discuss some of the student work that was developed in their classrooms. Furthermore, we created core values for the school in 2008 which have allowed us to frame our curriculum. We feel that these core values are also a way for students to think differently about what is important in school and less emphasis on product. Our school core values or habits of mind are included in our acronym ICEPAC: Imagination, Communication, Empathy, Perspective, Analysis, and Commitment. These values are the framework to our curriculum. Pink has depicted “6 senses” that he believes are needed in this new world, and many of these high touch senses cross over to our core values. Pink believes that anyone who masters his senses will have an advantage in the world. The Arts Academy also believes that our core value,s or habits of mind build, a “better” human being and are a necessary part of our lives. Every student has the ability to develop these essential values at The Arts Academy and apply them in the process of learning. They are valued at our school, cultivated, and are found in most of our project-based work. Yet, we continue to think about more ways to embed these values into our curriculum.

ID projects/connectiveness/learning community: Our ID projects are the heart of our school. As you can see from our vision statement: The Arts Academy... (show slide) . What we have set out to do, is incredibly difficult. Our hope is that everyone can use the lens of an artist to view their curriculum. Maybe quote Eisner here??.. We would like to emphasize how a student can look at the painting and ask the same questions as he/she would looking at a sceince text, for example. Teachers.... These are the connections that we are trying to create in the school.

Visual Studies

Order of presentation: