The Southeast Center for Education in the Arts (SCEA), located at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, is one of 50 model programs reflecting national best practices in arts education highlighted in Designing the Arts Learning Community: A Handbook for K-12 Professional Development Planners, which can be found at http://handbook.laartsed.org/.
Sponsored by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, San Francisco Arts Commission, and Santa Clara County Office of Education, the handbook represents a move away from the one-day workshop or summer course to a systemic, ongoing collaborative approach that yields powerful results for students’ learning in the arts. It demonstrates how to establish, grow and sustain a learning community that comes together to improve arts instruction. The interactive tool is designed to be used online but offers options to print out sections or the entire handbook.
The handbook, the first arts education professional development tool with a national perspective, draws on the experiences of arts education professional development programs from across the United States. Information about the Southeast Center for Education in the Arts can be found in the Handbook at http://handbook.laartsed.org/models/index.ashx?md=48.
SCEA’s professional development programs provide opportunities for elementary, middle, and high school teachers, arts specialists, teaching artists, and administrators to examine their current teaching practices and beliefs, experiment with arts-based and integrated instructional models, and expand their creativity as they explore art processes and procedures and envision concept-based integrated instruction.
“Inclusion in the Online Handbook is further national recognition of SCEA’s 22 years of leadership and cutting-edge achievements in envisioning, developing, and providing professional development in arts education, not only in Chattanooga, but throughout the nation. Last spring SCEA hosted its first Arts & Education Forum, drawing 100 professionals from 22 states. Participants in this year’s Forum at UTC on May 8-9 will reflect on research in adult learning and teacher change as they discuss dilemmas encountered in providing effective professional development in arts integration,” said Kim Wheetley, SCEA Director.
Designing the Arts Learning Community was researched and written by Dawn M. Ellis, who served as primary researcher for Gaining the Arts Advantage: Lessons from Districts That Value Arts Education (President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, Arts Education Partnership 1999). Dawn Ellis and her team scoured the country for exemplary professional development programs in arts education to inform the content of the handbook and create a searchable database of 50 model programs.
The handbook is both a guide and a reference resource for arts coordinators, principals, superintendents of instruction and anyone who designs professional development for K-12 arts education. It synthesizes documents, interviews, responses from outstanding practices in the field as well as literature regarding professional development and arts education. The programs profiled, which cover a wide range of partnership types, were selected because they:
- address the scale, scope, or perspectives of school districts
- provide evidence of evaluation, research, and/or reflective practice
- provide insights into approaches relevant to a variety of communities, students, and arts disciplines, or
- involve education reform that includes a strong arts component.