Art Works: Integrating Creativity in the Curriculum

>>Narrator: Like many
of his classmates at the Boston Arts Academy,
Marvin Balan is a gifted musician.>>Student band: [playing Jazz]>>Ironically his passion for music
grew out of his dread of math class.>>Marvin: I was in sixth grade
and a couple friends of mine, they was like “Oh, guess what? I get to miss math class for music.” And I’m like “Really?” So, and so I was like “So
who’s the music teacher again?” And so I will go up to him like
wondering if I could participate in the band, and in my head I’m just
like so I can get out of math class. The funny thing is I
love math nowadays.>>More than one third of
incoming freshmen test at least two years below
grade level, but as seniors, 97 percent of them graduate
and go on to college.>>Up, push through.>>The intention behind this school
is to take their main passion and to say okay, now you’ve got this.>>We’ll grow this with you. We’ll allow you to use this, but we
still want you to do the literacy, the numeracy, the science,
the humanities, all of those other things.>>There’s a number of
experiments that was conducted in which they found that the
temporal lobe which is the side of the brain right here is
responsible for processing the music.>>I wouldn’t say that my dance
is separate from my academics.>>I guess it makes everything, it makes the whole high
school experience easier because you’re doing– you’re learning and you’re
also doing what you love.>>Apollo: [singing “Unforgettable”]>>Narrator: Only 25
percent of those who try out pass the artistic audition. [singing “Unforgettable”]>>Once accepted, they choose a major:
visual arts, theater, music or dance and spend the next four
years honing their skills for several hours each day on top of the school’s rigorous
academic program.>>We’re going to continue
our South Africa unit today.>>I think our school
works because for at least half the day
students feel successful. If a student is struggling
in my academic class, I can go down the hall
to his or her arts block and see them being that genius. So the trick is to use that
artistic passion and power to get them through their academics.>>One of the values, the main
values that I see in music for all of our students are some of the
life skills that it teaches you. I mean you can’t be a good musician
without practice, without discipline, without responsibility,
without dedication, without all of those things.>>I really just walked in with my
eyes closed hoping that I was going to meet you know some teachers that
would really just help me to grow as a person, as a leader,
and as a musician. Luckily for me I found
that in both aspects of my academics and my music classes.>>Think slowing down
and really be thoughtful about what note you’re going to do. Because you only have
to do like half-steps.>>Arts is important to keep
students engaged, number one, but arts for artistic
students is a way of being. Is a way of thinking. And art isn’t, instead
of math, art is math. If you look at for example what
our visual artists are doing with perspective and
design that is math.>>No matter what major they
pursue, students are held to high standards here
in arts and academics.>>The idea is good so
you want to make sure that you don’t lose momentum.>>I think too many people make
the standards lower for students who actually need higher standards. They need more support to get
to those higher standards, but they need higher standards because the world keeps
making the standard higher. The jobs that they need in order to pay their bills require higher
standards evermore increasingly, and these students really
need to be challenged. And even in their personal
development they need higher standards and they need to
internalize the principle of rigor.>>A little bit– challenge
yourselves a little bit quicker. One and two and uh-uh-uh.>>We do music that
oftentimes is more advanced than what the students are capable
of doing and that’s on purpose. We do that so that– so the kids
can see that with hard work, with dedication, with all of
those adjectives that you use, that they can go, they can succeed,
and they can create excellence.>>That was great. You notice how easy it was
to come in when you do that? Oh, Beautiful.>>Narrator: In order to graduate,
students must write a grant proposal for their senior portfolio project that ties together their artistic
passion with a community service.>>They propose some artistic
community service project and they must present it->>The real way which is by
putting together a budget, putting together a presentation,
putting together a visual and selling it to funders. And the point of that is
that that’s a way to assess and to understand real knowledge and
those skills are just as important as anything that you would
assess through a bubble.>>I will create art in the future
that is a representation of me, my culture, my political views
and everything that has to do with what I think about life.>>A big part of our thesis for why
this school works is art is a power in society and students who
find their power as artists, go on to be powerful
members of society.>>If you want to get something done
in the world you need to be able to not only have something to
say but have a way to say it and make sure that you’re heard.>>For more information on what works in public education
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