Charles Barrett Elementary School Principal Seth Kennard took a team of teachers to the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center last week to tell their Council of Metropolitan Arts Supervisors board just how valued their Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA) program has been to the school and how to raise community engagement with the program.
Charles Barrett teachers Emily Black and Alison Supple presented their school’s progress to this Kennedy Center Board along with Kennard. At the presentation the team reviewed the school’s history with arts integration and building community support and participation with the CETA program. The team shared successful outreach practices and thoughts on building collaborative and supportive relationships with stakeholders.
“This program has truly transformed our school. Our staff collaborates after hours to learn these exciting arts integration techniques, and our students thrive with these arts-focused lessons. Student engagement is sky high, and our student achievement has risen across the board,” said Kennard.
Students show their understanding of difficult concepts through a variety of art forms, allowing them to collaborate, negotiate and challenge each other during their creation.
Staff at Charles Barrett have shown their commitment to arts integration through their enthusiasm for the program. One hundred percent of staff attend multiple after hours courses to better their instructional practices and regularly meet with arts coaches and in study groups to further refine their practice.
Many staff members have earned their CETA Certification, showing a high level of competency after completing a series of coursework. “The result has been truly transformative in our school. Students are excited to show their learning in a variety of ways, have learned to better collaborate and negotiate, and are truly engaged throughout the school day. Our staff is closer than ever, and our morale is extremely high. We feel very lucky to be a CETA school,” said Kennard.
CETA uses the arts to help the understanding of core curriculum subjects.
John Adams Elementary School had a festival to celebrate their seven years as part of the CETA program on Thursday night. The event showed parents how the program uses music to teach math, drama to teach reading, dance to teach science and visual arts to teach poetry.
Students from the older grades showed how they had been taught the value of reading in four beat rhythms, which then helped in writing poetry. Third grade students demonstrated how they learned to memorize the water cycle from solids to condensation through interpretation of corresponding movement to music.
Parents were treated to a performance of “Down on the Farm” by all eight kindergarten classes, which demonstrated the process of arts integration by showing how they learned the piece and then presented it as a performance.
“The CETA program provides arts integration to every class in our school. Our teachers use strategies from it on a daily basis to help reinforce concepts and learning. In the seven years that we have been with the CETA program, the whole culture of the schools has changed,” said John Adams music teacher Wesley McCune.
“Teachers are inspired when they see how children’s faces light up when drama, music or dance help them understand difficult concepts.” John Adams and Charles Barrett are among 16 schools in the D.C. area which are currently partnered with the CETA program. However, The Kennedy Center is reducing the number of programs it funds next year. They will concentrate their resources on intensifying their programs in just five schools. Those five schools will become models for exemplary arts integration which can be shared nationally and internationally.
Both John Adams and Charles Barrett have applied to become one of those five schools which will continue with the program next year.