ENCINITAS — Collaborations: Teachers and Artists (CoTA), a nonprofit professional development organization that pairs teaching artists with elementary school teachers to make the arts a lively, essential and ongoing aspect of elementary school education, has selected Park Dale Lane Elementary School in Encinitas as the only North San Diego County public elementary school to receive approximately $200,000 each in professional development training. A consortium of individuals and foundations is funding the three-year initiative.
The project will involve professional development workshops and one-on-one collaborations between artists and teachers over three years. CoTA artists will train classroom teachers and parents in arts-infused instructional methodologies that are aligned with critical thinking and 21st-century learning skills.
“The goals and methodology of CoTA are designed to enhance creativity, problem solving, student engagement, and communication and are precisely in line with the new Common Core standards,” said Dennis Doyle, executive director of CoTA. “This initiative will enable teachers to infuse their classrooms with arts-rich learning strategies and projects long after the professional development has ended.”
Jodi Greenberger, principal at Park Dale Lane Elementary, said, “Wow! Integrating the arts to enhance our curriculum is at the very core of our school, and this partnership with CoTA is an incredible opportunity for our students, staff and community that will build on our existing skill set around arts integration. While we have varied experiences with the arts, there is also so much more to learn and we cannot wait.”
During the selection process, each applicant was required to demonstrate endorsement for the program from the principal and support from at least 80 percent of the faculty.
CoTA artists, who include everything from puppeteers, dancers, and photographers to literary artists and actors, collaborate with individual teachers for three 10-week sessions during the three years. During year one, teachers learn how arts integration can enhance and extend student learning in other curricular areas and how to engage multiple intelligences. In year two, teachers continue to connect arts standards to the California Common Core State Standards while assuming a larger role in directing their class project. By the third year, teachers take the lead while an artist provides coaching and support.
The arts-infused projects conclude with a performance, presentation or exhibition, providing evidence of student learning.