Strategic Plan

Integration with Education Reform

This long-range strategic plan will continue to bring Cecil County Public Schools into compliance with MSDE Essential Learner Outcomes. It continues to support the CREATE initiative and will provide necessary resources in staff, staff development, enrichment, equipment, and technology. It utilizes three national initiatives as models, including the North Carolina A+ program, the Chicago Arts Partnership in Education, and current Partnership initiatives in the arts espoused by Steve Seidel, Craig Dreeszen, David Myers, and Gail Burnaford. This plan will also support major goals and objectives within each of the participating school improvement plans. School improvement goals mentioned include utilizing integrated lesson development, providing cultural enrichment opportunities to enhance instruction, supporting CORE curricular components, improving school-wide reading and writing initiatives, providing necessary technology, and improving MSPAP scores

The goals, objectives, and strategies proposed in this plan reflect current research through the A+ School reform movement in North Carolina and the Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE). The A+ schools focus on interweaving all of the arts (art, dance, drama, and music) into the daily classroom curriculum. The program was originally developed through collaboration between the Kenan Institute for the Arts and Burgard Associates. It provides multiple intelligence learning opportunities and develops instructional teams to provide arts experiences in all subject areas. Lessons and activities reflect hands-on experiences that are driven by state/national standards. Twenty-seven public schools in North Carolina have been undertaking the A+ initiative for the past six years. Partnerships have been developed between area cultural resources, parents, the public media, and higher education. These schools not only enhance instruction through the arts, but provide elements for total school reform including 1) improving student academic performance, 2) improving student discipline and attendance, 3) offering outside matching funds, 4) promoting greater parental participation, and 5) strong school-community partnerships.

The CAPE project also integrates each of the arts into daily instruction. The greatest initiative of the program is developing partnerships with the local arts community. Students explore the arts, utilize higher-order thinking skills, and are provided hands-on experiences. Teachers and artists work together to provide effective role models for the students. These collaborative partnerships ensure community involvement in the arts. This program also helps to enhance overall school improvement by 1) providing classroom teacher participation in the development of arts education programs and 2) infusing arts curricula with participatory experiences linking artists with children.

Continuation efforts will also embrace the partnerships of ArtsReach, the county arts education consortium. They have continued to employ resources that supplement and enrich classroom instruction in the fine arts and have provided a seamless link between the arts community and school system. Current national initiatives in partnership strategies point to constituents having shared goals. As part of the ArtsReach strategic plan, they will begin to address the need to include shared goals of all of the arts constituents in the county. David Myers, Director of the Center for Educational Partnerships in Music (CEPM) at Georgia State University, in his national research implies that partnerships should strive to maintain the integrity of each art form. In the process of curricular integration and assessment, partnerships must work together to provide the technical support and resources for quality arts programs and enrichment opportunities. As a continuity component of CREATE, ArtsReach will work to provide the necessary technical assistance to ensure implementation of the Essential Learner Outcomes for the fine arts without compromising the technical competence of each art form.

This proposed long-range strategic plan employs the major aspects of A+, CAPE, and national partnership reform initiatives. It will provide more schools an opportunity to utilize dance and drama specialists, promote curriculum, explore assessment, support staff development, and necessary technology to compliment implementation of the Fine Arts Essential Learner Outcomes.