STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
COMMITTEE ON JOINT EDUCATION
|Time:||07:36 AM to 08:39 AM|
|This Meeting was called to order by|
|This Report was prepared by|
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call
|Bills Addressed: ||Action Taken:|
|Arts Education - Bristol Elementary School|
Colorado Council on the Arts
07:36 AM -- Arts Education - Bristol Elementary School
Tom Fleecs, representing Colorado Springs School District 11, introduced Steve Ferguson, the principal of Bristol Elementary School, and discussed the success of the arts program at Bristol, where 74 percent of its students are eligible for the free and reduced lunch program. Mr. Ferguson shared handouts with the committee (Attachment A). He explained that Bristol is a Title I school that educates children through the use of arts education. Mr. Fleecs shared an article from Stanford University that discusses how musical training helps language processing (Attachment B). He explained that studying a tuned instrument improves language skills. He noted that the Suzuki program at Bristol has resulted in improvements in student achievement in math and reading, in addition to having a positive impact on the community.
Mr. Ferguson introduced Janice Ruybal, Bristol's physical education teacher, explained her role in the arts program, and discussed some of the after-school activities that keep the children involved in the school. She noted the self confidence that students gain from participating in the arts program. Mr. Ferguson then introduced Michael Hanson, the school's Suzuki teacher, who discussed the importance of having students being workforce ready, and that arts education plays an important role in that preparation. Mr. Hanson reviewed a typical day for a Bristol Elementary School student.
Representative Benefield asked about the physical education curriculum. Ms. Ruybal explained she teaches typical skills training, integrates what the students are learning in the core curriculum, and provides nutrition lessons. Mr. Ferguson discussed a handout pertaining to the school's assessment data (Attachment C). Representative Solano asked if there is a middle school or high school in the area that provides a similar arts program. He explained that the middle school and high school connected with his elementary school have excellent programs, and that the schools perform for each other.
Representative Schafer asked what the school uses to assess a student's performance in music and art. Mr. Ferguson introduced Emily Sorensen, the school's music teacher, to address the question. Ms. Sorensen explained that she conducts informal assessments, noting what progress students make from year to year. Representative Merrifield noted that it is difficult to have an assessment tool that adequately measures arts competence. Representative Benefield asked if music theory is taught. Ms. Sorensen replied that she does, and that the second graders are writing songs as part of a school lesson. She added that when teaching the students how to read music, she compares it to reading a book. Representative Solano asked how the instruments are purchased. Mr. Ferguson explained that they were able to purchase the violins with Title I funds, but there are community partners that assist with other aspects.
Mr. Ferguson introduced Michelle Stellick, a parent and the school's PTA treasurer, to discuss the National Take Your Family to School Week grant. Ms. Stellick explained that the grant was used to purchase art supplies and to invite the community to participate in the arts event hosted at the school, including invitations to local elected officials and businesses. She discussed the support that the PTA provides to the art team at the school. Mr. Ferguson noted the importance of getting parents involved, and the steps the school took to get parents more involved. Mr. Ferguson introduced Susan Lapioli, the school's second grade teacher. Ms. Lapioli stressed the importance of the partnerships between the general education teachers and specials teachers.
Katie Robinson, the school's art teacher, reviewed the elements of the Africa night, which included drumming, Suzuki, literacy integration, storytelling, and African culinary art and tasting. She explained that next year's cultural night will focus on Hispanic arts. Mr. Ferguson concluded the presentation by stating that a school cannot be measured by its CSAP score alone, that kids learn when they are in a positive safe environment, and the arts are a means to get children interested in learning. The committee discussed how the teachers integrate the curriculum. With that, the Bristol Elementary presentation concluded.
08:15 AM -- Colorado Council on the Arts
Elaine Mariner, representing the Colorado Council of the Arts, spoke to the committee about preparing a 21st century workforce. She provided a number of handouts (Attachment D). Ms. Mariner talked about research around arts education, speaking to a study conducted by the Colorado Department of Education and the Council on the Arts. She noted that a quarter of the 1700 schools that received the survey responded, and that the schools were rated on 14 factors. She explained that the research found that most schools offer some formal arts education (93 percent of elementary schools; 86 percent of middle schools; and 83 percent of high schools), but noted that student participation in arts programs drops off in middle and high school.
Ms. Mariner stated that the study showed the following:
- there were higher reading, writing, and science CSAP scores for schools with arts education, regardless of the students' racial or socioeconomic status;
- time, and not money, is the biggest challenge in incorporating arts into the curriculum;
- other factors that create barriers to incorporating arts into the curriculum include the failure of parents to make arts a priority, and rural schools having trouble finding qualified arts teachers;
- 53 percent of Colorado's high schools students do not take any arts courses; and
- the most important finding of the study is that providing arts education is a school choice.
Ms. Mariner explained that the study looked at Colorado's creative economy (see Attachment D), and noted that Colorado ranks 5th in the nation for artists per capita. Ms. Mariner explained that arts education is not just fun, it is also workforce preparation.
Ms. Mariner introduced Sheila Sears and Karol Gates and explained their role at the Council. Ms. Mariner also discussed the importance of professional development for educators on arts education. Ms. Mariner noted that just as Colorado is working to be a leader in the new energy economy, Colorado should also create a strategic plan for growing the state's creative economy sector. Senator Hudak asked how to deal with schools who are eliminating arts education to improve reading skills. Ms. Gates stressed the importance of all teachers buying into an integrated program that incorporates subjects such as arts. She said that there may be short term gains when the programs are scrapped, but in the long term, she questioned how that affects the students as they enter the workforce, and how it affects a school's ability to teach 21st century learning and innovation.
Ms. Mariner added that it is incumbent upon arts teachers to find how they are part of the curriculum, and to become integrated in the curriculum. Ms. Sears discussed the creative pathways, how that works with the community college system. Ms. Mariner noted that the Council has a list of policy recommendations that she could share with the committee.
The committee adjourned.