Equation for Quality

Posted by Kristen Engebretsen, Mar 12, 2012 0 comments

Kristen Engebretsen

Happy Arts Education Month, and welcome to our bi-annual blog salon. To celebrate Arts Education Month, I’ve invited authors from around the country to tackle a big issue in arts education—quality. Participants will be discussing what that means in terms of engaging our students and what partnerships are required of our organizations in order to deliver quality arts education.

This topic was inspired by a recent trip to Dallas with the arts education council members from Americans for the Arts. One of the board members at Americans for the Arts, Margie Reese, graciously agreed to host us so that we could learn more about some of the programs at her organization, Big Thought.

During our 2 days visiting Big Thought, we learned about the driving philosophy behind their programming, which was this simple equation: relevance + excitement = engagement.

There is, of course, a lot of substance behind this equation, including numerous partnerships across the city with teachers, libraries, scientists, and artists, which truly embodies the idea that “it takes a village” to educate a child.

And in order to ensure the quality of their programs, Big Thought has developed a process to document, evaluate, and improve their programs, which they share on a new website called Creating Quality.

The council members and I came home so inspired by this trip to Dallas that we wanted to discuss these issues of quality, engagement, and partnerships in our blog salon. Here’s just a taste of what to expect this week:

You’ll hear more details about what the terms “quality, engagement, and partnerships” mean at Big Thought from their Director of Program Accountability, Jennifer Bransom.

Arts Education expert and author, Jane Remer, offers excellent definitions of these terms.

And blogger and marketing guru, Seth Godin, is lending his thoughts on the issues of quality and relevance in our education system from his new manifesto, “Stop Stealing Dreams.” He calls for sweeping changes in our public school system, and many of his suggestions are right in line with what we do in arts education.

I hope that you will follow along all week, March 12 – 16 and add your comments to the discussion. What “quality, partnerships, and engagement” means to each person and each organization may be slightly different, but hopefully this salon will help us understand more clearly just what equation will produce “quality arts education” in our own communities.

Please login to post comments.