Describing her school’s experience with the K-2 Teaching Artist Project (TAP) in San Diego, Baker Elementary Principal Linette Da Rosa noted that, in contrast with the common situation in which some children in a classroom succeed while others do not, the arts lift everyone. She has reason to know. The first year Baker participated in TAP, the school made its targeted Annual Yearly Progress (AYP). If the school is similarly successful this year, it will not longer be classified as a Program Improvement school under No Child Left Behind. Already Baker Elementary has raised its Academic Performance Index (API) score.
Of course, many factors contribute to school improvement, none more important than the expertise and dedication of the staff. However, Principal Da Rosa admitted to having been taken by surprise by the impact of a well-designed arts integration program. She described her thoughts when she was transferred to Baker Elementary:
“This being a low-performing school that is in Program Improvement, I was worried at first that the arts might detract from core subjects. Now I see the elevated language that the children are exposed to and use. All of this helps their comprehension. Low readers are motivated to read scripts and focus on literacy skills. We see improved CELDT scores, moving from kindergarten to first grade.”
The improved performance of Baker first graders on the California English Language Development Test (CELDT) mirrors that of other schools participating in the K-2 Teaching Artist Project, which is funded by an Improving Teacher Quality grant administered by the California Postsecondary Commission. Lesson plans and classroom videos of the TAP lessons can be seen on-line at: http://www.clat.uci.edu/theatre-k
On Friday, June 25, Baker Elementary celebrated completion of another successful year with a dramatization of the story “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” attended by San Diego School Board President Richard Barrera. Children from the classes of second grade teachers Sandi Davison, Bernice Pinson, Amber Burkett and Angelica Irving presented scenes from the story and gave the school board president a story quilt that will be put on display at the Education Center.
The class of first grade teacher Jamey Jaramillo performed original dances based on their study of the movements of marine creatures. Kindergartners in the class of Carolina Fernandez showed their visual art skills by creating colorful butterflies. Art work done earlier in the year enlivened walls all around the school.
Click on the images below to enlarge image and open photo gallery.
Photos by Dr. Liane Brouillette, UC Irvine.