The THEA Foundation’s Arkansas A+ Schools is modeled after the A+ programs in North Carolina and Oklahoma. These states have successfully developed an effective whole school reform model that views the arts as fundamental to how teachers teach and students learn in all subjects.
A+ Schools combine interdisciplinary teaching and daily arts instruction, offering children opportunities to develop creative, innovative ways of thinking, learning and showing what they know. In A+ Schools, teaching the state’s mandated curriculum involves a collaborative, many-disciplined approach, with the arts – dance, drama, music and visual arts – continuously woven into every aspect of a child’s learning. This teaching method recognizes that students learn in different ways and this understanding helps teachers to better engage each child in the learning process. When students are engaged and having fun, learning comes easy. When this happens discipline problems drastically decrease and classrooms buzz with active, motivated students. Teachers are happy because what they are doing is creating successful, confident learners.
The professional development training offered by the Arkansas A+ Schools Network is based on the eight A+ Essentials shown below. School faculty and staff are trained to implement this teaching philosophy that establishes an environment of creative learning across the school.
Hugh Goodwin Elementary School in the El Dorado School District is a prime example of the positive results of teaching the A+ way. Teachers at Hugh Goodwin use arts-integrated instruction and the creative process to capture each student’s attention and to support their unique ways of learning.
Arkansas A+ Schools brought in five new A+ Schools in 2011 and will add five additional schools to the Arkansas A+ Network in 2012. For more information on how to join the Arkansas A+ Schools Network, please call: Annette Butler at 501-379-9512.
Ms. Kristen Le discusses her success in teaching a biology unit to 5th graders using only drawing
and how the creative process assured success with results far better then expected.
These A+ Essentials are a set of commitments that all A+ teachers and principals follow to
assure every student’s learning style is catered to each and every day.