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Can the Arts Help a School Reach Its Full Potential

Franklin Elementary in Elyria Welcomes Teaching Artists Into Every Classroom

In the 2014-15 school year, Franklin Elementary in Elyria set many goals to build a stronger school. They want to increase depth of learning, test scores, student retention, and parental involvement. And they are using the arts to bring the school down the path to success. In a unique residency partnership, and with the support of a grant from The Stocker Foundation, all students are able to work directly with a Center for Arts-Inspired Learning teaching artist. CAL worked directly with teachers to find the best use for arts to underline their curriculum. Pre-K students used The Wiggle Jig program to improve kindergarten readiness by infusing movement and dance into other subject areas. Kindergarten, first and second grade students worked with the Arts for Learning-Between the Lions Residencies to engage in increased literacy development. Third-graders used the visual arts for a Marvelous Math Residency, creating a math-based mural that became a permanent fixture in the school. Fourth-graders used history lessons in a play celebrating the cultures that settled the state of Ohio. And fifth grade students worked in a Digital Filmmaking Residency to develop and film demonstration videos of various physical science concepts.

“Throughout the school year, the program really helped bring a lot of students out of their shells and parents were able to notice a difference in their students’ gross motor skills,” said Erin German, a PreK Teacher at Franklin Elementary. “Parents loved every extra support that we were able to give students last year.” All of this culminated in an evening of arts programming where adults and siblings participated in the same active learning and eager children could be the teachers for their families. And it was a night to showcase the new success and excitement at the school.

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