In addition, we believe in the importance of a strong arts education program which is integrated into the development of core academic areas, as well as into the development of personal and interpersonal skills. "Qualities of Quality" research sponsored by the Wallace Foundation through Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (June 2009) emphasized the multiple benefits of arts education served in tandem with a high quality core academic program:
- Fosters broad dispositions and skills, especially the capacity to think creatively and the capacity to make connections
- Develops artistic and creative skills and helpful techniques for learning
- Develops aesthetic awareness
- Provides ways of pursuing a broader understanding of the world
- Provides a venue for students to explore and express themselves
- Helps students engage with community, civic and social issues
- Helps students develop as individuals
We believe the integration of fine arts into the regular school schedule will provide a systematic infusion of activities and resources that heighten understanding and application of knowledge across the curriculum. We understand the importance of administrators, a team of teachers and teaching.
RSAA believes these thinking and creative skills must be brought to the forefront of the curriculum and used as a guide for teachers in ensuring that students know how to apply and use learned information. Research has shown that integrating higher order thinking and creativity skills into the curriculum has been notably successful in accelerating advantaged and disadvantaged students in all respects. When these skills and techniques were taught, students developed intellectually and socially, and their test scores grew dramatically. We teach the concepts of the test, not by having the student memorize a bunch of unrelated facts, but by allowing the students to work with each concept through an active arts-based learning environment. This allows concepts to be totally internalized and heightens the student’s understanding so the information can be used not only for the test but also applied to every day life.
Middle school children (grades 4 through 8) bring a variety of personal issues to school every day. In many cases, it is difficult for them to achieve academically if they are dealing with a wealth of emotions, such as feelings of fear, anxiety, anger, isolation and rejection. RSAA will address these issues by providing our students (with and without disabilities) a customized individual learning plan designed to fully help develop each student’s social awareness, emotional self control and problem solving techniques needed to become thinkers and problem solvers who articulate their feelings and opinions in a positive way (Comer, 2007).