Professional Learning

TEAMS Model State: The Ohio Arts Integration and STEM Initiative (Part 4 of 5)

August 20, 2010

Editor's Note: Today's guest blogger is Jim Brazell, a technology forecaster, author, public speaker, and consultant. It is the fourth in a five-part series on the convergence of STEM education and the Arts (TEAMS).

Ohio has cracked the educational innovation code with TEAMS. In 2007, newly elected Governor Ted Strickland signed into legislation funding supporting both STEM and arts education in Ohio's schools. Backed by Battelle and the Ohio State University System and a very broad and energized stakeholder community, Ohio is an emerging model of both STEM and arts integration best practices.

During the Arts Education Partnership's (AEP) national forum in Cleveland, Nancy Pistone, a representative of the Ohio Department of Education, linked Ohio's emphasis on 21st century skills and the arts. At the 2007 event, she announced the formation of a statewide arts advisory committee—the Committee for the Arts and Innovative Thinking (CAIT). The announcement included expansion of outreach to schools and arts teachers through increased professional development opportunities (Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Department of Education, 2007).

The new initiative rested on a solid groundwork. Over the past ten years, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) deployed the Initiative for Cultural Art in Education, supporting arts integration across subject areas in fifty-nine schools. With funding from the Ford Foundation and the Cleveland Integrated Arts Collaborative, CMSD launched the Art is Education initiative. By supporting a whole school model, Art is Education addresses important issues of academic achievement and school climate (Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Department of Education, 2010).

The Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC) offers a "Professional Development in Arts Integration." The program is supported by Columbus City Schools in partnership with BalletMet Columbus, Opera Columbus and the Jazz Arts Group. The program is a national model for professional development for educators teaching methods of integrating performing and visual arts throughout the curricula. The program adheres to district and state academic content standards (GCAC, 2010).

During the 2007 AEP national forum, Nancy Pistone clearly articulated the responsibility that the Ohio Department of Education has to lead the state and the nation in innovation that systemically embrace the arts as a basis of educational reform. And in doing so, she created an open space and a dialogue about the fundamental importance of embracing the arts as a transformational catalyst for innovation in education, workforce and economic development. Pristone also delivered a roadmap, free of charge, to support the opening of the AEP's arts integration initiative.

The book, Arts Integration Frameworks, Research and Practice: A Survey of the Literature on Arts Integration is available free to those who wish to learn more about how to do arts integration. Stay tuned for Part Five - The Path to Innovation: Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics and Science (TEAMS) Integration.

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