Arts Integration Solutions was founded to support a program that brought professional artists into classrooms to engage students in fine arts activities. As funding became scarce and the demands of academic rigor increased, the organization recalibrated its mission 1) to focus on using the arts as a catalyst for engaging students in learning academic content, 2) training all teachers to use arts strategies in their classrooms in lessons for every subject area and 3) exploring partnerships that extend the arts to such areas that help students embody content in their exploration and discovery of knowledge and meaning.
Our new mission moved us to change our organization name from Opening Minds through the Arts Foundation to Arts Integration Solutions. We focus on training teachers and working with them in classrooms, modeling and mentoring them with their students. We have intensified our assessment and research on identifying the actions teachers can take that have a direct impact on student achievement.
We also have worked with partners such as Science Foundation Arizona, the Arizona Department of Education and professors from the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University’s mathematics and education departments to focus on Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards and STEM learning. Our goal is to help teachers make the connection between arts integration strategies and the specific standards they are using everyday in the classroom practice. Our goal is to help teachers change —transform — their classroom practice. We believe if teachers change their classroom practice, this will eventually change education in this country, bypassing all the budget and policy issues that have seemed so difficult to change.
We hold teacher professional development programs, we work with schools, in schools, and we provide technical support. And of course we have aspirations to further develop our capacity to reach many more teachers.
J David Betts
Photo Credit: Photos and videos on this site are the work of Roger Pfeuffer, Sherri Graves, Suzanne Johnson, Penelope Price, Charlie Browne, Julia Barwell, Donn Poll, Rick Wamer, Paul Fisher, Katie Rogerson.