Sunday, February 05, 2012

A+ Schools...

The arts are essential for learning. What is it about that statement that is so hard to understand?
Knife by Jim Fliss, box by Doug Stowe
A+ Schools, a program that integrates the arts and learning is making a second attempt to enter mainstream education in Arkansas with the Support of Thea Foundation and the endorsement of former President Bill Clinton. I will have more to offer about A+ Schools, how it works and how to get involved in the coming months. According to an article in this morning's Democrat-Gazette,
"Clinton said the non-traditional training and tactics used by educators who have been trained through the A+ programs are more effective at cultivating critical-thinking abilities, as well as instilling a "love of life-long learning."

"We don't all learn the same way, and we can't sustain as a country having the level of dropouts we have and the level of learning we're achieving compared to our competitors," Clinton said. "We're paying a terrible price for it today, and we'll pay a bigger price tomorrow."
A+ Schools recognize that academic excellence is fostered by involvement in the arts. To become an A+ School, the entire staff from janitorial, through secretarial, administrative and teaching go through a summer training program to build an understanding of the role of the arts in education. Getting all the school personnel on the same page is an extremely important consideration in making the arts a serious part of the school culture. At the present time, A+ programs exist in North Carolina, Arkansas and Oklahoma, and the link above will help you get connected. The A+ Schools program presents an opportunity for public schools to make a shift toward better utilization of the arts in education.

Walnut, with figured walnut, maple, cherry and walnut  inlay.
Also in this morning's Democrat-Gazette is an editorial on the lack of skilled "blue collar" workers in American industry. Wanted: Blue Collar Workers. The idea at one time was that all kids would go to college and we would leave manufacturing to the countries that could supply cheap labor.
"... across the heartland, one hears the same concern: a shortage of skilled workers capable of running increasingly sophisticated, globally competitive factories. That shortage is surely a problem for manufacturers. But it also represents an opportunity, should Americans be wise enough to embrace it..."
What the situation calls for is a reversal on whether or not children should be given real things to do in school. The arts, including the manual arts and laboratory science which were largely abandoned in American education offer students the opportunity to engage and persist...

The knife in the photo above is made by Jim Fliss, our CSS high school math, science and history teacher. The box and knife are donations for the Clear Spring School art auction fundraiser in March.

Make, fix and create...

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