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. 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.
Publications and Presentations
(2021) Towards a collaborative approach to measuring Social-Emotional Learning in the arts, Arts Education Policy Review, 122:3, 182-192,
Garazi Lopez de Aguileta, Erica Halverson, Yorel Lashley, Stephanie Richards (2022) Learning how to see social emotional learning in youth arts practice, American Education Research Association. LINK
Yorel Lashley () How do we operationalize artistic SEL?, Center for Arts Educations and Social Emotional Learning, Heart of the Arts, https://artsedsel.org/wp-content/uploads/HotA-Brief_Volume2_Issue1_final-to-web.pdf
Yorel Lashley () Cultivating Student Empowerment through SEL, Center for Arts Educations and Social Emotional Learning, Heart of the Arts, https://artsedsel.org/wp-content/uploads/HotA-Brief_Volume1_Issue7_final-to-web.pdf
Erica Halverson & Yorel Lashley () How school-based arts programming supports social emotional learning for elementary school students, Society on Research for Child Development. LINK to presentation.
American Education Research Association Symposium (2023). Link coming soon.
Technical Working Team
- Noelle Dean, Mental Health Specialist, Emotionally Responsive Practice at Bank Street College of Education (also part of the Practice Team)
- Scott Edgar, Professor Lake Forest College and Director of Practice & Research, The Center for Arts Education and Social Emotional Learning
- Camille Farrington, Co-Director Equitable Learning & Development Group, Chicago Consortium for School Research
- Roberto Rivera, Predoctoral Fellow, Social and Emotional Learning Research Group at the University of Illinois at Chicago
- Alysia Lee, Education Program Supervisor for Fine Arts Education, Maryland State Department of Education
- Kira Rizzuto, Director of Programs & Partnerships, The Center for Arts Education and Social Emotional Learning
- Torrie Allen, Executive Director, Arts Midwest
- Dale Schmid, Professor, Teachers College, Columbia University: EdD in Dance Education. Research Fellow: The Arnhold Institute for Dance Education Research, Policy & Leadership
- George Tzougros, Executive Director, Wisconsin Arts Board
If you have questions about the Arts Collab National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab, please email Stephanie Richards at email@example.com.
The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not represent the views of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Office of Research & Analysis or the National Endowment for the Arts. The National Endowment for the Arts does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information included in this material and is not responsible for any consequences of its use. This NEA Research Lab is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts (Award #: 1879912-38-C-21).