Who We Are: How do we become a Whole School?

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Prerequisite: Arts in the Classroom

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Arts in the Classroom (AIC) is a program designed to primarily provide professional development for teachers and administrators of preK-8th grade schools in the foundations of arts integration as a teaching tool to enhance teaching skills and improve student achievement through the infusion of the arts into the basic curriculum. Secondly, pure arts experiences in visual and performing arts are brought into the school by artists and teaching artists to enrich the lives of students and teachers by increasing their skills and knowledge in all arts disciplines. AIC is a way to bring more arts into the school environment. Read more

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Components

Becoming a Whole School

Teacher painting on table

The decision to become involved in the Whole Schools Initiative is made by local school leaders and staff. Discussions and awareness sessions are held with the school and the school is invited to attend the Summer Institute through the Arts in the Classroom program prior to the invitation to apply for Whole Schools and begin an initial planning year.

The grant process

Schools wishing to become a part of WSI must successfully complete the application process that includes a meeting with school and district personnel, a follow-up meeting with the school faculty and a grant application that is reviewed by the MAC board. The first year of the grant is a planning year and the five years that follow are implementation years. Schools must re-apply annually.

Development of students

The educational experiences of students in WSI schools are enriched by the infusion of the arts in a variety of ways. Artist consultants are brought to the schools. Classroom teachers are supported in the development of thematic units that incorporate the arts. The schools plan special arts-related events both on campus and off. WSI schools are encouraged to employ certified arts teachers to provide sequential, comprehensive arts instruction.

Development of teachers

Personal and professional growth opportunities for teachers are provided through two annual retreats and a Summer Institute. WSI schools also utilize consultants for teacher workshops and technical assistance. MAC has also designed exemplary learning experiences that are modeled in the schools by trained presenters. Release time for collaborative planning and training and stipends for after school, summer and weekend training may be funded through the grant.

Development of principals and superintendents

Principals and superintendents are involved in the retreats and Summer Institute. The assistance with planning also guides principals toward more inclusive leadership. A one-day session for superintendents is also part of the Summer Institute.

Planning

The WSI grant application process requires planning and creation of an annual timeline. MAC also provides assistance with strategic planning for all WSI schools.

Advisory assistance

Each WSI school is assigned a Field Advisor who interacts with the school on an ongoing basis. The Field Advisors are both artists and educators who are trained in the WSI philosophy. They work with the schools to identify needs and resources and to provide general support.

Involving the community

The arts provide a natural avenue for community involvement. Parents and the community serve as volunteers within the classrooms, serve as members of the advisory teams and are invited to student performances and exhibits. Businesses partner with the schools offering financial and technical support. Community artists serve as consultants and volunteers. Local arts councils support WSI schools in many ways, including technical assistance with grant writing. Local newspapers and television stations report the school activities.

Funding

The Mississippi Arts Commission funds that support the Whole Schools Initiative are derived from private, state, and federal sources. WSI schools match their WSI grant with local funds.

Evaluation

A team of nationally recognized evaluators has been contracted by MAC to produce a five-year study of the Whole Schools Initiative. At the local level the work is evaluated as schools develop and assess their plans and by evaluation of specific consultants and experiences. WSI principals also encourage arts infused instruction through teacher observation.

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Induction process

Children singing

Schools may become a part of the Whole Schools Initiative through a variety of funding avenues. The following basic steps are part of the process regardless of funding sources.

Spring-Summer Prior to Year One:

  • Select Field Advisors
  • Convene Leadership Teams
  • Summer Institute

Fall — Year One:

  • Faculty Orientation at School
  • Introduction to Visioning
  • Introduction to Change Journey Map
  • Fall Retreat — Special Q & A Session

Spring — Year One:

  • Spring Retreat — Special Q & A Session
  • Technical Assistance
  • Grant Preparation
  • Strategic Planning
  • Change Journey Map
  • Final Report

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The Mississippi Arts Commission Whole Schools Initiative — an overview

Children at table painting

Goal #1: To improve student achievement through the infusion of the arts into the core curriculum

Mississippi Arts Commission strategy

  • Include curriculum planning in WSI funding options
  • Provide technical assistance for development of thematic units
  • Share thematic units among WSI schools
  • Partner with IHL for pre-service training of art and classroom teachers
  • Provide models of arts infused instruction (Flood, etc.)

School strategy

  • Develop thematic units that reflect state goals and arts infusion strategies
  • Hire consultants to facilitate curriculum alignment
  • Engage consultants to model arts infusion

Goal #2: To enrich the lives of students by increasing their skills and knowledge in all arts disciplines

Mississippi Arts Commission strategy

  • Publish Artists Roster
  • Include visiting artists in WSI
  • Offer training for WSI artists
  • Provide scholarships to arts majors to teach in Whole Schools
  • Offer pure arts experiences as professional development
  • Leverage state funding for arts teachers

School strategy

  • Provide specialists on staff
  • Utilize art specialists as consultants
  • Involve students in performances and field trips to museums
  • Purchase and utilize art supplies
  • Promote collaboration between classroom and arts teachers
  • Provide facilities for arts instruction

Goal #3: To assist the professional and personal growth of teachers and administrators through the arts

Mississippi Arts Commission strategy

  • Provide two retreats annually
  • Provide one Summer Institute annually
  • Include professional development funding in WSI options

School strategy

  • Provide staff development and technical assistance to staff
  • Fund release time for collaborative planning

Goal #4: To use the arts to increase parental and community involvement in schools

Mississippi Arts Commission strategy

  • Publicize WSI activities
  • Develop partnerships with state education and arts agencies and organizations
  • Provide forums for parents and community

School strategy

  • Involve parents and community in school events
  • Utilize community resources
  • Include the arts in all special activities (drug awareness, etc.)
  • Publicize local arts activities
  • Include reports on arts activities in reports to parents, newsletters and websites
  • Build partnerships with businesses

Goal #5: To build a sustainable system for supporting arts infusion

Mississippi Arts Commission strategy

  • Establish and sustain a grant review process
  • Seek funding
  • Evaluate and document the work
  • Coordinate activities of Field Advisors for all sites
  • Provide Strategic Planning assistance
  • Involve principals
  • Establish and maintain national and state partnerships
  • Identify and support exemplary sites

School strategy

  • Identify a Program Coordinator
  • Identify an Advisory Committee
  • Seek local funding to enhance the work
  • Provide local match for grant
  • Evaluate the work on a local level

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Mississippi Arts Commission Whole Schools Initiative support network

Teacher and students in class

Program design

  • Mississippi Arts Commission
  • Mississippi Department of Education
  • Local schools
  • Universities
  • Local government
  • Foundations/private donors
  • Mississippi Writing/Thinking Institute

Program management

  • Mississippi Arts Commission
  • Local schools
  • Universities

Program evaluation

  • Mississippi Arts Commission
  • Mississippi Department of Education
  • United States Department of Education
  • Local schools
  • Mississippi State Government
  • Universities
  • Foundations/private donors
  • Local & national arts/professional organizations

Funding

  • Mississippi Arts Commission
  • Mississippi Department of Education
  • United States Department of Education
  • Local schools
  • Mississippi State Government
  • Universities
  • Local government
  • Foundations/private donors
  • Local & national arts/professional organizations

Professional Learning Opportunities

  • Mississippi Arts Commission
  • Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education
  • Mississippi Department of Education
  • Local schools
  • Universities
  • Local & national arts/professional organizations

Advocacy

  • Mississippi Arts Commission
  • Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education
  • Mississippi Department of Education
  • United States Department of Education
  • Local schools
  • Mississippi State Government
  • Universities
  • Local government
  • Foundations/private donors
  • Local & national arts/professional organizations

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