The UW Community Arts Collaboratory is implementing a keystone study measuring social-emotional learning (SEL) outcomes for students who participate in Arts Collab performing arts programs and teacher professional development growth from arts integration and SEL training. Results will be disseminated and shared broadly to shape future research. Dissemination will target a growing base of school and community arts educators and local and national partners–strengthening the Arts Collab as a hub for arts-engaged research.
The Arts Collab Research Hub works with community arts partners in Dane County who provide a range of arts experiences for young people who have historically not had access to the arts. We strengthen partnerships with the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), allowing access to students, teachers, and structures that facilitate systemic change, and Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child Madison serves students, educators, and the broader community. These partnerships expand our reach and facilitate shared learning experiences like the Wisconsin Arts Integration Symposium, which we collaboratively produce to disseminate best practices and new/ongoing research.
Madison Metropolitan School District partners include Lowell and Lake View Elementary schools, where students in grades 3-5 and their teachers will engage in research and Arts Collab programming. Lowell is the intervention site in year one, and Lake View is the control site in year one, with programming in year two. Peter Kuzma, Arts Education Coordinator, is a key partner in identifying and facilitating specific schools as research sites. This community of teachers and students is the second-largest school district in Wisconsin, serving over 27,000 students in 49 schools.
Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child Madison supports training and dissemination via the WI Arts Integration Symposium, which provides professional development to educators and teaching artists serving MMSD students. Any Given Child Madison is the 12th city in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts network. Madison’s partnership includes Overture Center for the Arts, MMSD, City of Madison, the Foundation for Madison Public Schools, the UW Arts Collab, and Arts 4 All.
Our research lab agenda provides multiple direct benefits:
- Implementing arts-integrated SEL programs that provide positive youth development for 3rd-5th grade students in two school communities, especially low-income and ethnically diverse students.
- Providing professional development and training to elementary school teachers in two cohorts will also impact their current and future students.
- Examining and sharing our findings regarding new methods of assessment/analysis for performing arts and SEL will benefit the fledgling field of arts SEL research and the national and international scholars and practitioners. Approximately 400 local/regional educators and administrators who attend our regional Arts Integration symposia will also benefit.
Additionally, staff, teachers, and parents in our partner schools will experience indirect benefits created by the student and teacher participants’ work toward creating arts-rich schools.
Outcomes and Implications
Our findings will have implications for other research and curricula on how to center arts and social-emotional learning outcomes as the leading indicators of interest and reveal results about theater, dance, and drumming as distinct art forms. For example, drumming impacts positive SEL development, so a policy implication could be to adapt drumming instruction in schools across the state. Our assessment process has focused on construct definition and validation and a deeper theoretical reflection on the benefits and methods of assessing students’ internal growth (which includes evidence students are aware of) and external behaviors that show observable SEL skills acquisition and application.
If you have questions about the Arts Collab National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab, please email Stephanie Richards at firstname.lastname@example.org.