January 1, 2004
As a part of their ongoing commitment to increasing the caliber and breadth of the Annenberg Challenge for Arts Education, the Center for Arts Education (CAE) asked CCT (Terry Baker) to conduct the final year assessment of the Center's Curriculum Development and Access Leadership grant (CDA Leadership) implemented in 18 of the original recipient sites of the Annenberg Partnership program. The final year assessment was designed to complement the first year assessment in which another evaluator observed the site team meetings and CAE's project team meetings using a critical friend methodology of shadowing the meetings, interacting with participants, and typing up data collections. The goal of the final year research was to assess the following:
- What is the durable impact of the CDA Leadership grant on the host schools?
- What attributes contribute to a successful partnership?
- What is the impact of the project's focus on professional development on the CDA Leadership grant's goals?
- What are the benefits and barriers of the process of dissemination?
- What is the effect of the process of defining and creating a product on the host school?
- Strategic implications: What will inform CAE in terms of doing the CDA Leadership program again?
Interviews were conducted with the arts coordinator, arts partner, and an audience member at each of the three focus schools. In addition, three additional schools were chosen at random and telephone interviews were conducted with their arts coordinators.
During the first year of the CDA Leadership program, the schools convened and shared with one another on a regular basis. During the final year (2002-03), schools were left alone to a large extent to pursue their individual "products" and their own "audiences."
Products were unique to each site, ranging from workbooks about their teaching artist program to curriculum guides. During the final year, the CDA Leadership staff contacted about half of the schools - because the schools hosted inter-visitations or a leadership presentation, or the schools contacted CAE with questions. Schools were told that they would be left alone to finish their work during this final year, but some still felt a need for more attention. The EDC/CCT research team reported this need back to CAE, and a culminating meeting of the sites was scheduled for October 2003. This meeting was very well received by the sites.
- Schools report a dramatic increase in the incorporation of arts-based activities in the classrooms as a result of the Partnership grant and the CDA Leadership grant. All arts coordinators have been enthusiastic about the opportunities the grants have offered their schools, and their relationship with the CAE staff.
- The Annenberg Grant and the CDA Leadership grant have contributed to an increased sense of community in all of the schools interviewed.
- Student artwork was on display at schools visited.
- Successful partnerships are those in which both the school and the arts partner directly profit from the relationship.
- Arts organizations that have a pre-existing, cohesive arts-infused curriculum appear to be more likely to be successful arts partners.
- In-school audience development is particularly successful and effective.
- Off-site audience development has been adversely affected by Department of Education changes in funding, reorganization, and support of the arts.
- The Department of Education's removal of professional development days from the school calendar interrupted dissemination plans for a number of schools.
- Successful off-site dissemination is often contingent upon connecting with a motivated individual at the audience school who will herald the project.
- The dissemination of arts-integrated curriculum and the development of a final CDA Leadership product appear to be conceived of as two separate entities. There is concern that the final product, which requires a new skill set and large time commitment, will not be reflective of the quality of work and success of the curriculum development and dissemination process.
Themes that emerged from this study reflect program practices regarding Partnership, Professional Development, Audience, Product Focus, and Dissemination. These are described in the executive summary and final report.