The Learning and Achieving Through Arts Project continues to meet its objectives as a national model in arts education. There are many factors which informed the success of the LATA program. Firstly, the LATA model is solidly grounded in the theory that one can improve school culture by fostering aesthetic experiences. This theory holds that because we emphasize raising students' test scores in today's schools, aesthetic experiences provide an opportunity for educators to balance intellectual and rational approaches by exploring human creativity. Research reviewed by Karen F. Osterman and reported in Students' Need for Belonging in the School Community considers students' sense of acceptance within the school community. The concern is how schools address what is defined as a basic need, the need to experience belongingness. The findings suggest that students' experience of acceptance influences multiple dimensions of their behavior, yet schools adopt organizational practices that neglect and undermine students' experience of membership in a supportive community. The research is echoed in the voice of many researchers and educators who assert that "one of the most fundamental reforms needed in education is to make schools into better communities of caring and support for young people.”
Secondly, the LATA teacher trainings are specifically designed to provide teachers with professional development that is in-depth and extensive in order to ensure optimal impact on their teaching practice. The coaching element, which engages the trained Teaching Artists to assist the Classroom Teachers in their development toward becoming art educators, is expanded through those classroom teachers as they become peer coaches with other teachers at their schools. For the teachers participating in the coaching component, the development of a creative classroom community will occur through the implementation of arts and arts-integrated lessons and strategies.
An important lesson learned during the grant period was the importance of grounding our professional development training in the language of child brain development. Independent research has demonstrated that the arts can improve children’s school performance and build both creativity and competency. Inner-City Arts’ LATA program embraces brain-compatible strategies in the classroom; participating teachers receive hands-on support from our professional development staff as they explore ways to integrate the arts into their classroom. Inner-City Arts provides classroom teachers with an introduction to the brain which serves as a platform upon which to understand the neuroscience that underlies a given student’s classroom experience. Our staff helps teachers identify arts-based strategies and activities that can support brain engagement. We have been receiving excellent feedback regarding our training sessions that used neuroscience concepts to evaluate student engagement in learning.
Thirdly, Inner-City Arts’ relationship with leading researchers has positioned our campus as ground-zero in the movement to ensure that arts based strategies are employed across curricula to facilitate learning, problem solving, language development and cognitive development. In order to foster improvements in instructional practice that are fundamental in nature and broad in reach, the vision of the program is to place the arts at the center of learning throughout schools, in order that students matriculate through grade levels with growing potential to achieve high-level standards across content areas. Most significantly, Inner City Arts offers a safe learning environment for children, teens, families, and the broader community to engage in creative exploration without fear or judgment. LATA enables urban youth to experience a well-rounded education that cultivates values such as respect, patience, self-discipline, integrity, tenacity, and teamwork. Robust arts programs for disadvantaged populations, such as those provided at Inner City Arts, close achievement gaps by offering students unique ways to unlock theiracademic potential and realize their competence.
As with any school-day arts education model, there are minor limitations associated with LATA, particularly with respect to the program’s evaluation component. It is difficult to accurately measure whether the arts learning and life skills development that takes place in the studio carries over into the classroom and into the student’s daily life. Because our teaching artists are not preparing a classroom teacher’s daily lesson plans, and are not going into a child’s home to monitor out-of-school behavior, it is always a challenge to verify that classroom teachers are indeed integrating the arts into their classrooms and parents are using arts-based strategies to support their children. Inner-City Arts responds to this challenge in a number of ways. First, as noted above, we provide professional development training to classroom teachers during the seven week session; teachers are allowed to reflect on the learning that is taking place in the studios and brainstorm ways in which to integrate these concepts into the core curriculum. A teacher survey is administered in order to assist our staff in determining each teacher’s successes and challenges relative to classroom integration. Second, a number of family art days and culminating events are scheduled in order to draw parents and families to our campus to see their children’s work and learn new methods for supporting theirdevelopment.
 Hurley, J. C. (2002). Art and Human Potential, Principal Leadership, 3(4), 25.
 Hargreaves, Earl, and Ryan (1996) (p. 77).
For the first quarter of 2013, Inner-City Arts Learning and Achieving Through the Arts is progressing and on target to achieve its goals.
Learning & Achieving Through the Arts (LATA) provides arts instruction to over 6,500 children in Grades K–8. LATA is a creativity-based, standards-aligned arts program, rooted in English Language Development methodologies, that helps students tap into their true potential and discover hidden capabilities. Classroom teachers participate with their students and also attend professional development workshops designed to help them integrate arts education into their classrooms and employ arts-based strategies toward improved learning in school. Given our unique, community-based approach to creating positive learning environments, Inner-City Arts is well-positioned to reach students, schools, and families that are being adversely affected by the severe cuts to arts education programs. The program is comprised of three interconnected strands: (1) standards-aligned instruction in the arts, (2) extended professional development and supportive coaching for non-arts classroom teachers to grow their potential as art educators, and (3) activities that encourage whole schools to embrace the arts strategy. As Inner-City Arts’ core program, and chief organizational focus, LATA reaches well beyond the scope of enrichment. The past decade has produced a wealth of research and practical evidence delineating the exact ways in which arts learning allows students to learn effectively, develop critical thinking and other cognitive skills, grow in their ability to problem-solve and express themselves, and achieve in all school subject areas. Furthermore, In the face of extreme cuts to LAUSD art programs, Inner-City Arts offers a safe learning environment for children, teens, families, and the broader community to engage in creative exploration without fear or judgment.
Classroom teachers accompanied their students for the seven-week sessions and participated alongside their students in the art activities. The LATA program includes a professional development training program for the participating classroom teachers that is comprised of three interconnected activity strands: (1) Develop high quality, standards-based professional development for Art Teachers, preparing them to assist and support others toward arts integration, (2) Provide gateway experiences and coaching for non-arts classroom teachers to grow their potential as art educators, (3) Design an assessment system that enables data driven planning and professional development in the arts curriculum. The first activity strand involves enhancements to an existing workshop series centered on best practices in meeting language development and other learning needs through the arts. The second strand enables non arts teachers to develop model lessons and strategies for arts integration and establish creative learning communities in their classrooms. A coaching component allows the teaching artists to act as “coaches” and facilitate the integration process through the sharing of information concerning research-based integration practices. The third strand, assessment, encompasses both teacher and student assessment. Multidimensional assessments that support the standards-based learning process in the arts become feedback with direct linkage to instruction.
The LATA teacher trainings are specifically designed to provide teachers with professional development that is in-depth and extensive in order to ensure optimal impact on their teaching practice. The coaching element, which engages the trained Teaching Artists to assist the Classroom Teachers in their development toward becoming art educators, is expanded through those classroom teachers as they become peer coaches with other teachers at their schools. For the teachers participating in the coaching component, the development of a creative classroom community has been observed through the implementation of arts and arts-integrated lessons and strategies.
One aspect of the LATA program that warrants special mention is the newly developed Creativity Lab, which is dedicated to creative explorations that connect the Arts, Engineering, Scientific and Architectural approaches to learning. What began as the unique vision of our co-founder, Bob Bates, has steadily transformed into an innovative studio experience that actively engages students in their own creativity while preparing an entire generation of Los Angeles’ youth for challenging professions in the fields of engineering, design, architecture, science, visual and performing arts, and production. Partnering with Disney, the Creativity Lab has benefitted from the inclusion of the Imagineers form the Company as an inherent part of the curriculum. Imagineers serve as guest artists in the course of the term, partnering in the teaching and the sharing of their process as inventors and creators with the students. With an inclusive curriculum that stresses the importance of creativity, as well as research and development, the Creativity Lab has functioned as an incubator for experimentation and imagination. A general feature of the lab’s instructional design is that in creating new structures with intended purposes, the students are encouraged to use a scientific approach – described to students as: Develop hypothesis: test – refine – retest – until getting it right. Furthermore, a key element of the Creativity Lab is the focus on collaboration; students are encouraged to engage in collective problem solving, combining their individual capabilities in unique ways. This method has proven to be an excellent tool for developing our students’ rational as well as intuitive abilities.
GlobalGiving's generous support continues to be used to sustain Learning & Achieving Through the Arts (LATA), Inner-City Arts' core instructional-day program which provides in-depth arts education to Grades K-6 students attending LAUSD schools. LATA continues to met or exceeded the proposed goals and objectives for the project year. For the period May 2011-2012 LATA served 7,776 students in 232 classes from urban schools in Central Los Angeles, during six 7-week terms. Staff designed lessons and developed curricula in compliance with California state arts standards. The curricula focused on two key areas: remedial Language development needs (for K-6 grade English Learners) and arts learning towards meeting grade level standards.
The curricula incorporated 1) best practices for teaching English Learners; 2) language arts standards; 3) arts learning standards, 4) multiple intelligence instructional approaches; 5) hands-on learning methods; 6) differentiated strategies for engaged learning; and 7) cultural relevance. Lesson plans utilized pedagogical methods that have proven effective in fostering language development in English Learners, including cooperative learning, collaborative interaction and sheltered instructional approaches that built on the students’ experiences and cultural perspectives.
thank you all.
LATA is on schedule to meet or exceed all of its proposed goals and objectives for the project year. For the period ending March 30, 2012, LATA served 5,154 K-6 students in 115 classes from inner-city schools in Central Los Angeles, during four 7-week terms. Staff designed lessons and developed curricula in compliance with California state arts standards. The curricula focused on two key areas: remedial Language development needs (for K-6 grade English Learners) and arts learning towards meeting grade level standards. The curricula incorporated 1) best practices for teaching English Learners; 2) language arts standards; 3) arts learning standards, 4) multiple intelligence instructional approaches; 5) hands-on learning methods; 6) differentiated strategies for engaged learning; and 7) cultural relevance. Lesson plans utilized pedagogical methods that have proven effective in fostering language development in English Learners, including cooperative learning, collaborative interaction and sheltered instructional approaches that built on the students’ experiences and cultural perspectives.
Participating students have exhibited a wide range of language proficiency, ranging from 1-3 English Language Development levels (ELD’s). Students entering the program at low to mid-range proficiency (ELD Levels 1, 2 and 3 on a scale of 1-5) hold the greatest promise of benefiting from this arts engagement – that is, it is anticipated that the impact of the program within this group will be such that, post-participation, these children will demonstrate measurable progress in their oral and written language skills. English Language Development is viewed as a continuum in which students rarely move from one full ELD level to another within one school year. It is a goal of the program to support students’ movement on this scale, by helping them to develop the skills needed to move along the levels. As a measure of success in affecting the capabilities that contribute to an increase or change in an ELD Level, LATA’s objective is for a sampling of students assessed from the designated sub-groups to show an increase in the skills that contribute to an increased ELD Level (noted as any change at any ELD level). Process Charts and Student Journals are currently being utilized to gather this data to be analyzed at school year-end.
As a research-motivated organization, Inner-City Arts is interested in examining the impact of our programs on student learning (cognitive, academic and social), utilizing current arts education field research, the results of research conducted by independent evaluators at Inner-City Arts, and internal assessments of programs conducted by our program staff. In 1997-2002, Inner-City Arts and the Los Angeles Unified School District partnered in a unique project funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Bilingual Education, Title VII. Through a five-year study, Arts for Language and Learning Project (Project ALL) served the needs of English Learners through direct studio experiences, aiming to improve the school district's Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE), and fostered staff development training programs. The project served as an important model for future facilities promoting academic, cognitive and mathematics skills through arts-based education. The results of this study showed that when students participate in studio classes and the teacher is not engaged, student performance is adversely affected. The analysis of standardized testing showed an 18% increase in reading scores, an 8.3% increase in language scores, and a 34% increase in mathematics scores for students participating for a full year whose teachers participate in ten or more hours per week.
This work has informed best practices to engage English Learners through immersion in art-making processes as an inherent part of their learning. In the current LATA program, within the delivery of high quality, standards-based, sequential instruction in the arts lies a specific goal to cultivate arts skills while furthering language development in K-6 grade students. Currently in year two of a 4-year, $1.4 million competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Education for the support and independent evaluation of LATA, Inner-City Arts has employed the professional services Dr. James Catterall, of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and Dr. Kylie Peppler of the University of Indiana, to evaluate three areas of learning: arts skills, language learning and sense of community. Data collection began in March 2012, and will continue for a 1.5 year period, until September 2013.
As part of the LATA program, classroom teachers accompanied their students for the seven-week sessions and participated alongside their students in the art activities. Teachers have received professional development training as a result of their participation in the class sessions at Inner-City Arts. This hands-on instruction and additional training sessions for the teachers facilitates the integration of arts instruction into the classroom by defining connections between the arts and other aspects of the core curriculum. The orientation and mid-session meetings focused on the introduction of new methodologies that allow for the creation of creative learning environments in the classroom, arts-integrated lesson planning and continued use of arts integration strategies across the curriculum, in all subject areas. Mid-session meetings also introduced teachers to the use of the Process Chart, a key programmatic evaluation tool. In addition, approx. 45 teachers from Cahuenga Elementary School participated in two introductory professional development sessions, and 38 teachers from Del Olmo Elementary School participated in three ½ day sessions. These sessions included experiential learning in the visual and performing arts, with specific strategies introduced for connecting with English Language Development goals.
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