LATA is on schedule to meet or exceed all of its proposed goals and objectives for the project year. Enrollment for the program is now projected to be over 7,400 students. Its impact on participating schools has been profound, as a result of classroom teacher professional development workshops that emphasize integration of arts learning into other areas of study. Field experience gained by classroom teachers, and involvement of family members and others in culminating events, is cultivating arts-learning communities that recognize the arts as an essential component of the daily overall curriculum.
To date LATA has served 4,000 K-8 students in 116 classes from inner-city schools in LAUSD District 4, during three 7-week terms. Each LATA class was enrolled in a course of arts instruction in one of several art forms, including visual art, music, dance, animation, digital photography, ceramics or drama. Students traveled by bus to the Inner-City Arts campus twice a week during school hours and received 21 hours of instruction during their session. As budget constraints continued to impact class size at LAUSD, Inner-City Arts experienced LATA classes that averaged 31 students during the reporting period.
Within the nine studio complex, students worked and learned in art form-specific spaces. They explored their own creativity, while learning about the elements and principles of each art form. The teaching artists employed child-centered instructional approaches, varied to address learning differences among students. Teaching artists incorporated instructional techniques that have proven effective in fostering language development in English Learners. Cooperative learning methods, collaborative interaction and sheltered English instructional approaches built on the students’ varied background experiences and different cultural perspectives. Students created and learned about art, making specific and tangible connections among the art forms and across curricular areas. The specialized arts curriculum was aligned with both national and State of California standards and benchmarks.
Classroom teachers accompanied their students for the seven-week sessions and participated alongside their students in the art activities. Teachers, as well as their students, became learners. During this reporting period, LATA professional development opportunities were provided for 131 of these teachers and classroom assistants. Project’s goal is to serve 250 classroom teachers. Before each session, classroom teachers participated in a Teacher Orientation Workshop, where they were introduced to Inner-City Arts’ philosophy and teaching methodologies. Teachers also had the opportunity to meet with the teaching artists assigned to their classes to discuss the arts curriculum, share their classroom goals and coordinate the class content. Learning strategies for improving literacy among their students were emphasized. Through guided instruction and training, the classroom teachers learned about instructional tools to enhance student experiences in the art studio and the classroom. Teachers learned techniques for validating the experiences that their students verbalized, stimulating them to verbalize further. The emphasis placed on daily language practice helped strengthen language skills and students’ connections to the actual art experience. Teachers were encouraged to develop and teach lesson plans that incorporated the arts in their classrooms. These plans included a looking and discussion activity, a creative project, an integration component, and an assessment strategy.
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