Arts Enhance Instruction

“Every new artist we study, I have to do research on. ... A lot of times, first-grade teachers don’t have to do that. If you have to go on the Internet and do research to share with your kids, then you remember what it’s like to be a learner,” says first-grade teacher Geralyn Broussard.

“There are kids who struggle academically, but feel good about themselves because we do other things,” says Broussard.

“Our kids have to learn how to take pencil-and-paper tests — and they have to learn how to take them well,” says principal Kathleen Hurstell Riedlinger. “But that’s not how I measure the real learning going on. I think you can measure that by sitting in a classroom and watching the kids grow over the years and watching them take ownership of their own learning.”

Paul Reynaud likes the dual role that the arts play in his teaching: “In your classroom, you’re constantly looking for new things to make what you’re doing vivid and exciting and challenging and meaningful and fun — and the arts are good materials. ... But part of what we do with the arts is say that the arts are valuable on their own.”