Make Room: Expanding the School Day for Deeper Arts Engagement

Posted by Ms. Deb Vaughn, Oct 16, 2013 1 comment

Deb Vaughn Deb Vaughn

Aside from the “not enough money for the arts” conundrum, “not enough time for the arts” is the second biggest barrier that most educators face in providing more arts instruction, or even arts integration, for students.  But at more than 1,000 schools across the country, this barrier is being erased thorough re-structuring the school day to gain precious minutes, hours, and even days of instructional time for students.

The National Center on Time & Learning publication Advancing Arts through an Expanded School Day offers case studies for five schools that have reorganized their schedules to provide students with more contact hours during the day and larger blocks of time to delve deeply into project-based learning.  The publication includes three key traits of extended-day schools:

  1. Educators consider arts classes to be a core feature of their comprehensive educational program.
  2. Educators organize their school day and staffing to reflect the central role of the arts and dedicate ample time to their practice.
  3. Educators value how the arts can leverage engagement and achievement in school.

In Oregon, one outstanding example of these principals is the Academy of Arts and Academics in Springfield.  This arts magnet charter school utilizes a core faculty complimented by professional artists to provide students with a robust experience of real-world inquiry.  A3 boasts an 87% graduation rate for their four year cohort (compared to a 68% graduation rate state-wide) and 83% of their graduates plan to attend college the following year.  You can see their sample schedule online.

Another Oregon school receiving national acclaim for their arts strategies is King Elementary in Portland.  Recognized as one of the eight national Turnaround Arts Schools by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, principal Kim Patterson made a dramatic shift to the school calendar to allow for additional weeks of instructional time during the summer, reducing summer learning loss for her students.  This adjustment, in conjunction with hiring a certified dance teacher specializing in African dance (to fulfill a PE credit for students!) and actively seeking partnerships with local arts organizations has been a key strategy for improving student outcomes.  More information about King is available at the Turnaround Arts website.

For more great information on this topic, please join this webinar presented by Americans for the Arts and the National Center on Time & Learning:

Advancing Arts Education through an Expanded School Day

Friday, October 18, 2013 @ 3 – 4 PM EST

Advancing Arts Education through an Expanded School Day: Lessons from Five Schools, presents case studies of five schools utilizing the longer student and teacher days to prioritize time for arts education as they work to improve overall academic instruction and focus on individual student achievement.

Join our panelists to learn more about the report, an overview of the work happening in these five schools, a closer look at the results at Edwards Middle School, and a discussion of how your community can implement the lessons learned from schools using an expanded day.

Participation free and open to the public, but you need to register here.

How are schools in your area reconciling the tension between strong academics and strong arts education?  What creative solutions are being employed to give students more time to engage with curriculum?  How can you reinvent the school schedule to allow deeper engagement with subject areas?  How does this model uniquely suit the arts? Please tell us in your comments below.

1 responses for Make Room: Expanding the School Day for Deeper Arts Engagement


Andrea R says
November 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm

It’s awesome that Oregon schools are combating summer learning loss through the arts! It seems like a great way to introduce the arts to children while still keep them intellectually engaged throughout the summer. One summer learning program I know, called ThinkStretch, does a great job also balancing learning with fun. ThinkStretch's website blog is also a great resource for arts and crafts related activities. Here's a link to a reading and craft activity

FULL DISCLOSURE: I don't work for ThinkStretch, but I do help with their digital marketing.

  • Please login to post comments.