Michigan schools considering a fully integrated and aligned fine arts curriculum now have a new resource at their disposal. School leaders at Concord Academy Petoskey are assisting other Michigan charter schools in the alignment and mapping of fully integrated fine arts curricula, development of a high-quality, comprehensive Internet resource, and implementation of professional development programs for new and aspiring teachers.
Overview and Curriculum Guide
The word education comes from the Latin word educare, meaning "to nourish and cause to grow". Concord Academy seeks to nourish and help each of its students grow by recognizing the individuality of each student and providing a variety of ways to obtain information and show knowledge of a subject. Based on the research of Dr. Thomas Armstrong, we acknowledge different learning styles: Linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal.
The first two styles are commonly recognized in existing schools. The next three (spatial, kinesthetic, musical) will be served by integrating visual art, dance instruction, and a choral and instrumental music program. The last two styles are accommodated by using both cooperative and individual learning situation.
Concord Academy provides a stimulating academic atmosphere interwoven with a strong fine arts program, exposing children to outstanding examples in literature and fine arts from an early age. Research has established a definite relationship between academic achievement and early arts training. The arts program is not simply "art for art's sake", but a means of transferring content knowledge, with academic and arts teachers coordinating thematic studies.
ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOL
Students progress at their own pace and benefit by working with others of differing ages. At all levels, real full-length books are used for reading. The history and geography studies are filled in with biographies, historical documents, speeches, and integrated music and drama studies. In geography, map skills are practiced at all levels. Computers are accessible for all students; keyboarding skills begin at the primary level. Students work at the level of math that is right for them, while progressing through the Saxon Math Program. The sciences are explored through hands-on experiements and research.
In the fine arts arena, students at all levels listen to performances, both live and recorded, of many styles of music such as classical, jazz, and folk. The Orff music curriculum provides a foundation of musical literacy for all students. Older students choose an instrument on which to focus in band. All students are involved in the choral program and dance programs and in various roles in dramatic presentations. Exposure to all types of art media allows students another avenue to present creative knowledge. In all arts, correct techniques are taught, but enjoyment and participation are stressed over competition.
Assessment is a combination of performance assessments developed specifically for Concord, traditional testing, and portfolio method; letter grades begin at fifth grade. Close contact with all parents facilitates constant appraisal of student progress. School-wide presentations provide a "show-and-tell" format to depict learning in all of its styles relating to a certain theme.
CONCORD ACADEMY HIGH SCHOOL
The high school continues the philosophy of the K-8 program. A solid academic program in mathematics, science, history, geography, and language arts, is integrated with music, dance, and theater arts curricula. The active involvement of students in quality performances flows into academics, producing quality in all areas of their education. Preparation for collge is the primary objective, combined with both business and life skills via developing, managing, and producing various performances. The program is designed to stimulate quality, teamwork, and intrinsic self-esteem. The arts concentration acts as a vehicle to transfer knowledge, with academic and arts teachers coordinating thematic studies. The Academy's vision is to graduate well rounded invididuals.
The student's day is divided equally between the academic classes and fine arts instruction. Each student takes four years of mathematics, science, social studies, and English, working at his/or her own pace to maximize learning. Each year focuses on an historical theme: World history, modern European history, ancient history, and American history. By recycling these themes every four years, all students receive a broad history and literature exposure.
Interweaving English and social studies with performance pieces in the various arts media augments knowledge of literature, history, and culture. In the classroom, the students use literature and history to write plays, stories, and operas, and to choreograph dance pieces, thereby increasing their knowledge of style and historic events.
Integration of science and mathematics into the technical side of production through design and construction of sets, lighting, sound, make-up, and costuming provides practical experience in these disciplines. The students also follow a more traditional classroom program to ensure preparedness for college.
Students have the opportunity to participate in both choral and instrumental music ensembles developing musicianship through practice, performance, creation , and research. The goal of the music program focuses on ripening individual talents while integrating and broadening the historical theme of the academic curriculum.
Dance at the high school level continues to develop movement skills, explores original choreography and the concepts of dance as a performance art form. Social dance forms as they relate to understanding world culture and history are studied. Students are trained to move with strength, efficiency, grace, and confidence. The practice of classical and modern dance technique maintains and increases flexibility. Experience in kinesiology coupled with creative material translates ideas and literature into dance, drama, and music, thereby producing quality performances.
Visual arts are incorporated through theatrical studies: students designing sets, lights, and costumes merge color and three dimensional design; posters, programs, and advertising provide opportunity to continue development of graphic design.
All the arts programs work closely together to provide performance opportunities in the various media.
Michigan Association of Public School Academies
105 W. Allegan, Suite 300
Lansing, MI 48933
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