Filed under: My POV
My POV: Deanna Costa
Director, Education & Outreach
Every year Miami Dade County Public School’s Principal for the Day program invites members of the community to visit a school and shadow the principal. It is an eye opening experience that exposes the day-to-day work that is done in schools. What I have seen by participating these past two years adds both perspective and insight to my work here at the Center and reinforces my belief in the power of the arts as a teaching tool.
In both of the elementary schools I visited, the majority of the students are identified as minorities and most receive free or reduced priced lunch, contributing to each school “earning” Title 1 status. I thought that because both schools had a Title 1 label the environments and student achievement would be similar, but that is not what I found. In the school that is a magnet program which uses a curriculum featuring lessons centered around art to teach core subjects, the standardized test scores and overall grading is consistently higher than in the school using the standard curriculum. The magnet school has won state and national awards for progress and model teaching. My personal observation – the magnet school students, staff and principal all seemed happier and significantly more engaged in the learning process.
While the “data” I am using is qualitative and limited, it seems to me all students in every school could make exponential gains in learning if they had the opportunity and access that the arts-based learners I saw have been given.
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