Since 2003, ABS has been a member of “A+ Schools of North Carolina,” a signature program of the NC Arts Council, an agency of the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. A+ originated in Winston-Salem as an experimental project supported by the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts.
The A+ organization defines itself as “ a whole-school reform model that views the arts as fundamental to teaching and learning 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 continuously woven into every aspect of a child’s learning.”
Our school developed independently and unaware of the A+ network, until we discovered their parallel values and goals, and joined them in the summer of our third year of operations. Now, we have built friendships and relationships that buoy and inspire us, and we benefit from our membership via staff development, visits from A+ Fellows (our dance teacher Jan Adams is among them), meetings, and on-line connections with like-minded educators. We also provide tours for schools who are considering joining the network, so they can see a model of arts integration. With other A+ teachers, we sing and dance and draw and improvise. We examine state standards in other subjects such as math, science, language arts, and social studies, and we investigate new ways to help kids discover the connections between and among them all. A+ always alerts us to upcoming changes in curricular expectations from the state, and their team of energetic, creative experts make suggestions for arts connections that we can use as springboards to new goals.
Learn more about the A+ Schools organization.