TCEA embraces an arts integrated approach to learning. Arts integrated education harnesses the natural joy of creating, the power of critical thinking, problem-solving, and abstract thought, and gives students skills to successfully navigate a 21st century world.
In addition to core academics, all K-4th grade students attend foundational courses with professional working artists (art specialists) who choose to embrace teaching as a part of their own creative practice. 5th-7th grade students choose to focus on two specific arts, through a daily elective split into two semesters. These courses teach students the needed skills to grow in their areas of interest:
- Visual Art
- Media Art
Both core and arts courses are given equal weight and are graded with equal expectations, using standards-based grading. While not every lesson uses the arts lens, it is the goal of TCEA teachers to integrate the arts and core academics whenever possible.
Students also participate in Integration Studio. During integration studio, classroom teachers, arts specialists, administration/support staff and our school counselor team-teach through a multidisciplinary approach to arts integration in eight 4-week blocks. Each grade level will rotate through each Integration Studio block. A block will focus on integration through a specific art: music, dance, visual arts, drama, media arts, and two additional blocks, one focusing on a community service project, and one focusing on Social-Emotional Learning and Teaching Tolerance. Projects combine one or more core standards with one or more art standards, with consideration for 21st century skills and social-emotional learning. 2016-2017 Integration Studio will place an emphasis on social studies, culture and history, through the lens of the arts. Students are assessed and have the opportunity to perform and present their integration studio projects at the end of each block to other grade levels. TCEA will also present two Integration Studio nights, one in Fall and one in Spring, giving teachers and students the opportunity to share these projects with TCEA families.
With TCEA’s focus on integrating the arts into core academics, students are more engaged and master concepts through a hands-on process, creating a deeper foundation for learning. Arts integration approaches are widely researched and TCEA embraces innovative approaches to education within a positive learning environment that care for the development of the whole child. Art is not simply a tool for teaching. A true pursuit of artistic study requires effort, preparation and personal responsibility. Within the arts exists the ability to think critically about all content, to discover creative solutions to challenges in an ever-changing world, to understand multiple perspectives, and the opportunity for growth in all areas of life.